Concern over costs

Investors may avoid student housing under rates plan

David Melhuish

David Melhuish: ‘fraught with unfairness’ (pic: Terry Murden)

A property leader has expressed concern over a plan to impose business rates on student accommodation which could deter investment in the sector.

Like any domestic premises, student accommodation is exempt from business rates.   

However, an amendment to Non-Domestic Rates Bill was introduced at Stage 2 of the parliamentary scrutiny process without consultation, and would bring student accommodation into the scope of business rates.  

Ahead of debate on the Bill’s Stage 3, due to take place on 4 February, the Scottish Property Federation has been working across political parties to urge Holyrood to consider the damage it believes this amendment could cause to investment into the student accommodation sector.     

David Melhuish, Scottish Property Federation director, said: “Extending business rates to what is essentially domestic property is fraught with unfairness and a fundamental departure from the principles of a tax that is aimed at non-domestic properties. Business rates are not designed for properties in which people live for any significant period of time. 

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