A local estate agent has urged caution ahead of a Liverpool City Council meeting today (14 September) which will see councillors vote on plans to lobby the government for new powers to tax student landlords.
Helen Griffin-Booth, director of Bluerow Homes, which works with student landlords across the city, believes today’s decision could have a negative impact on Liverpool’s student population.
Councillors Laura Robertson-Collins and Nick Small are proposing that council’s across the country should be given powers to bring student landlords within the scope of business rates in the same way that hotels and holidays lets are.
According to the council motion to be discussed at the Town Hall, as of December 2015, 8,827 properties in Liverpool were exempt from council tax as student households with a relief value of £10.6 million, when halls of residence are factored in that total reaches £10.88m.
The motion reads: “Students are a very welcome part of our community and our local economy, but they live in concentrated areas of the city in densely populated conditions. This has a big impact on services in these parts of the city.
“Student households should continue to be exempt from council tax, as students are on low (and loaned) incomes.
“Student landlords are profit-making businesses, and should pay properly for the demands their tenants make on public services.”
However, Helen believes the possible tax changes would simply see costs rise for the city’s students.
She says: “The city council should be aware of the impact today’s decision could have on Liverpool’s vibrant student population.
“Buy-to-let investors have already been hit by April’s stamp duty hikes on second properties and are facing the loss of mortgage interest tax relief come 2017.
“Liverpool is renowned as an affordable university city and the student population here is central to fuelling economic growth, not only by attracting overseas investors to the city but also by boosting local businesses on a daily basis.”