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HMO Council Tax Per Room?


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Hi All, 

I need some advice, I am currently in the process of purchasing a property in Medway, Kent, a 3 bed terrace house and will convert into a 6 bed, 5 ensuite and 1 communal bathroom.  All rooms will share a kitchen and a communal living lounge area.  

I have read online that sometimes councils price council tax per room in an HMO as they class each room as a single dwelling, rather than the house as a whole.    I have spoken to the VOA (valuation office agency) for Medway council who have noted that even though a room may be just a bed and a bathroom, IF it has the facility to accommodate even a microwave, then this could be classed as a single dwelling therefore each would have its own council tax payment.  This leaves us in the situation whereby our council tax bill on completed refurb has risen from £1,300 per year to £7,800 per year! 

The conversation I had with the lady on the phone from the VOA was predictably vague, she couldn't give me a straight answer as to how HMO's are valued when it comes to council tax, she said it comes down the the valuers interpretation 'on the day'.  I did make it clear that 'on the day' was when the refurb has been completed and was too late to accommodate a £6,500/year difference in council tax, she had little sympathy..

Part of me understands this grey area that the council are trying to prevent rogue landlords exploiting.  If they walked into a genuine HMO run by a reputable landlord, they may see it's not built to house separate flats.  But I can also imagine rogue landlords building in laminated benches with suspiciously placed plug sockets and claiming that the rooms are not single dwellings, then once the valuer has left, immediately putting in microwaves, kettle etc and renting out each room in the house as a self contained flat for much greater rent.  

If anyone can shed light on this that would be great, or any advice on how to make sure the rooms are NOT valued as individual dwellings

Many thanks, 




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