No plans to introduce business rates for student landlords
Student landlords are celebrating this week after a Conservative minister said the government has ‘no plans’ to introduce business rates for them.
Bristol Labour MP Thangham Debbonaire asked ministers whether the DCLG would consider bringing student accommodations within the scope of business rates, in a House of Commons question session.
She told the House that business rates should be introduced because local services in her constituency are under increased pressure due to rising student numbers, while student landlords contribute 'almost nothing to the costs'.
However, Minister Marcus Jones MP said: “We have no plans to change business rates to bring within that scope student accommodation as (Ms Debbonaire) advises”.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is opposed to applying business rates to student accommodation providers in case landlords recoup the extra expense by increasing rents.
RLA policy director David Smith said: “There are sound reasons why students are exempted from council tax.
"To charge similar rates to landlords letting to students will drive up their rent by the same amount and is little more than a stealth tax.”
Students in the UK can apply for a council tax exemption, and the loss of funding is currently compensated by a government revenue support grant.
But because this grant is due to be axed in the coming few years, more and more Labour councils are calling for business rates to be introduced on student landlords.