Ministers are facing mounting pressure from landlords to instruct local authorities to scrap council tax on rented homes left empty because of the ongoing crisis.
A significant number of rented homes have been left empty because tenants have been unable to take up tenancies, or have chosen to move out to be closer to family during the lockdown. During this period landlords will become liable for the council tax on the property and have no realistic prospect of finding new tenants.
The National Residential Landlords Association is asking the Government to tell councils that they should exempt houses have been left empty as a result of the virus from council tax demands.
A recent survey by the NRLA found that 41 per cent of landlords are concerned about having to cover the unexpected costs of utility bills and council tax.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, said: “It is manifestly unfair for landlords to be asked to pay council tax on properties which are empty, and likely to remain so, because of the impact of the pandemic. Whilst we remain supportive of the measures taken so far by the Government, landlords are being asked to absorb more costs at a time when they are least able.
“Unlike most small businesses and the self-employed, there has been no direct support package announced for landlords. Removing this unnecessary burden would at least help those landlords who are struggling to cope with drastically reduced income.”