Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 5, 2018

Sharing Student Landlord Wealth?

The Champion  article about student occupied properties raises the prospect of a mouth watering £1.5million in council tax if the properties lost their exemption from the tax. Paul Mullany from Ashurst made a Freedom of Information request that revealed there are more than 1,000 student occupied properties in West Lancashire. Mr Mullany is, like so many of us, concerned that local community bus services are being lost and hitting disabled and vulnerable people in our communities.

We are not strangers to this problem, which started under a Westley budget that cut the WLBC travel concession so cruelly. But Mr Mullany suggests landlords might make a gesture of goodwill and offer to pay for the community bus, and other, services. And pigs might fly? We might ask, do able bodied young Edge Hill students still receive their free bus services between the University and the town centre?

Cllr Adam Yates is our council cabinet finance portfolio holder, and he is quoted as suggesting bringing in powers for student landlords to pay council tax would result in landlords factoring in that cost that would have an effect on the private rental sector, pushing up rents for hard working families on low incomes. No mention of pensioners on low pensions!

But what sticks in the craw is a quotation from the Chief Executive of the National Landlords Association that “We understand local residents are frustrated by cuts to council funding…this idea is unlikely to gain the support of the student population as it would only end up putting more financial pressures on them. Landlords are in business to provide homes…there would be an additional business cost the equivalent to an extra £100 per month which would most likely be added to the rent…students contribute greatly to the local economy…landlords should be able to choose whether they are able to contribute to help maintain pressurised local services”. Really? 

The Champion states that McComb Students  which has Ormskirk’s largest portfolio of private student halls did not respond to a request for comment. But why leave it there? Isn’t the Champion capable of looking at the accounts of McComb Properties, published at Companies House as McComb Property Company Limited, Company number 03565598? Its financial statement for the year ended 31 May 2017 shows net assets of £9,772,924 and shareholders’ funds also of £9,772,924, up £2.5million from previous accounts. Its fixed assets, mainly in investment property, are £30,568,069, an increase of almost £5million on the previous year. 

McComb Properties is an exceptionally efficient and profitable company that indicates investment property, regardless of it being for students, is a business Cllr Yates and his council colleagues should consider expanding for our, council tax payers, benefit.

NB Readers might find the list of “Charges” for McComb Properties  of interest, they can be viewed at

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