There was an interesting piece by Martin Lewis (of moneysavingexpert.com) recently that suggested that up to 400,000 homes in England and Scotland could be in the wrong council tax bands. For those of us who have worked in this industry for the last 30 years or so, it comes as no surprise. Indeed it was something I raised when appearing on ‘The One Show’ as an expert a couple of years or so ago.
When the Government first decided to place homes within a new council tax band back in 1991, they sought the help of local estate agents and others, who did the best they could in the time allowed. But the time did not allow for a detailed survey of every home, and many properties were allocated a band simply on first sight. Not surprisingly, therefore, there are great swathes of property owners who feel aggrieved, and who have been paying over the odds for many years.
There are so many anomalies within the current system that the time must be long since passed that the banding should be overhauled. One of the ideas being floated is that the amount you pay should be linked to your carbon footprint. With the current system, however, why should I bother? Why should I invest in solar panels, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and double glazing to do my bit for the environment if I end up paying exactly the same as my neighbour who has ancient Crittall windows and the heating on full blast 24/7?
Let us hope that some time soon, somebody within government sees sense. Creating homes that are more carbon efficient should increase their value, but that should not mean the homeowner is penalised by having to pay a higher tax for being in a higher band.