Government questioned on seriousness over housing crisis

Government questioned on seriousness over housing crisis

Central Government must prevent local authorities from hindering SME developers with unfair Council Tax burdens, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has warned ahead of the Budget Statement.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “If the Government is serious about solving the housing crisis, it must address the issue of unfair Council Tax charges on house builders. Today we are calling on the Government to halt the poor practice of local authorities charging Council Tax on incomplete new homes. Reports from FMB members suggest it has become relatively commonplace for new homes to be deemed complete for the purposes of Council Tax long before they are actually inhabitable.

This is sometimes the case before even basic work has been completed, such as the walls have been plastered or the floors have been concreted.”

Berry continued: “Council Tax is designed to fund services provided to tenants, so there is little justification for levying it on new homes months before anyone could move in. There is a growing concern that Council Tax is being unfairly levied as just another development tax. We accept that there is a case for Council Tax being levied on existing empty properties in order to incentivise these being brought back into use. However, for new homes, it creates perverse incentives for developers to hold back completing these properties until they’ve agreed sales and slows down the delivery of completed new homes onto the market.”


Berry concluded: “What is urgently needed is an agreed definition of when a new home is complete for the purposes of charging Council Tax, and one which ties this point much more closely to the point of inhabitability. This will help ensure against current poor practice in some areas and will also serve to speed up the delivery of new homes. For this reason, we’re also urging Government to review whether the removal of the automatic six month exemption for ‘unoccupied and substantially unfurnished’ dwellings should have been applied to new dwellings, as we fear this is having the unintended effect of further slowing down house building."

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Latest Comments

MBM Homelets
MBM Homelets 23 Mar 2017

Although this is a very positive step, there is little or no guarantee of the standard of workmanship employed by the tenants. We have had experience of a professionally decorated property being ' painted'...

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ajay
ajay 21 Mar 2017

How is the "robust evidence" looking now?

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NathanG
NathanG 20 Mar 2017

I've been watching the series so far and am completely baffled by the cases that were presented. Though, I don't think that we can protect ourselves from every scam possible - it will just make the scammers...

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Landlady14
Landlady14 01 Mar 2017

You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to...

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Mark
Mark 01 Mar 2017

Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

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Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor 28 Feb 2017

I was convinced that London was the most expensive!

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Alan Read
Alan Read 28 Feb 2017

Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

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James Powell
James Powell 27 Feb 2017

This is a very good news.

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DanHumphreys
DanHumphreys 27 Feb 2017

It sounds like a good idea. Anything to help the younger generation get a foothold.

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Matt
Matt 20 Feb 2017

Is this fake news?

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Matthew Hollywood
Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

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