By Sean McPolin
Charging property owners council tax for students would only ‘end up penalising’ tenants, according to a leading landlord assoication.
Students are currently exempt from council tax and some people feel this isn’t fair and that students – or their landlords – should be charged council tax.
Debate ensued on the Canterbury Residents Facebook Group when a member asked if it was time students started to pay council tax.
Councillor Neil Baker expressed that student properties should pay council tax, he said:
“Think everyone would agree student properties should contribute towards council tax given they use the services funded by council tax.
“Well, everyone apart from every Government since council tax was created.”
Jo Nikell felt that it should be the landlords that forked out for the council tax, rather than the students.
She said: “All landlords should pay, they all benefit from local services. If their house catches on fire, they expect the fire brigade to come, if it gets vandalised, they want the police there.”
Sam Haidar, of the National Landlords Association, said:
“This is a strange one as it would only end up penalising students. It’s not the first time that the idea has been discussed but it fails to take into account the fact that landlords run a business.
“If landlords were made to pay council tax on behalf of their students tenants it would act as an additional cost that would most likely end up being added to their rent.
“So in the end it would only serve to artificially inflate rents in the area and mean that students – who should be exempt from paying council tax – would have to foot the bill.”
Simon Cook, leader of Canterbury City Counil mentioned that Canterbury has historically compensated student council tax through the revenue support grant, he said:
“Students being exempt from council tax is a decision by central government. Historically, Canterbury City Council has been compensated for this through the revenue support grant that we receive.
“We continue to lobby, via our MP and directly, for this to continue as our funding from central government decreases.”
Canterbury Council received £9.7 million pounds of council tax last year.