Council Tax Responsibility and risky advice to tenant by CAB

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Council Tax ResponsibilityCitizens Advice apparently advised my periodic tenant yesterday that she can move out immediately by signing a letter agreeing to DPS releasing the deposit to me. I suppose, technically, she has given her one month notice and paid her final month’s rent in the form of the deposit.

She is at liberty to vacate any time during that one month notice period.

I can complain that she is not supposed to use the deposit to pay the final month’s rent but then what can I do about it that isn’t counter productive?

I thought CAB a bit irresponsible with their advice but then I don’t know what was said.

Meanwhile, now that the tenant has physically vacated (on the same day of giving notice), who is responsible for the Council Tax during that one month notice period?

Sam

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Comments

  • Hi Sam

    I would argue that it’s the tenants responsibility as she technically still has a tenancy. However, I may be wrong, I certainly wouldn’t bet my house on it.

    I do think the CAB were wrong to provide that advice though and I would certainly be firing off an official complaint letter to them.

    Was there any damage you would like to claim for? If there is I would use this to put a shot across the bows of CAB too. I doubt you would get anywhere if you were to try and hold them responsible but it may help to make a point.

    If you need to claim for damages and need a debt collector see >>> http://www.property118.com/debt-collection-for-landlords-no-win-no-fee/38229/


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  • Simon Topple says:

    The tenant has not given notice. They are liable up until the end of the current rental period – effectively they should have given one months notice, ending on a rent payent day.

    The landlord has an obligation to relet however that’s not relevant to this discussion – they are liable for CT up to the end of that notice period, and CAB should not have given that advise. I’d write to CAB and remind them politely of this.

    Using the deposit is a pragmatic, although in my opinion not correct, approach. The deposit is there to pay for damages first, then rent arrears if any. Your tenancy agreement should be clear on this.


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  • Thanks your comments Mark/Simon.

    Berating CAB serves no practical purpose and we dont know what exactly was said – people have a habit of hearing only what they want to hear.

    Of course, what she is doing is not correct. However, I take the view that she could, if she wants, stay on for another 2 months (or much longer) without paying rent, ignore the deposit and leave the place in a mess. There wont be a lot I can do about it without costing an arm and a leg (not just money) which rather defeats the whole purpose of making a living.

    There is only the usual problem with tenant not leaving the place in a state ready for the next tenant to move in but there isnt anything that a bit of elbow grease cant resolve. Not worth going to town for. Besides, she is only a young and impetuous kid albeit a little spoiled.

    Getting the deposit back from DPS will be a painful and time consuming exercise (we have decided to pay for insurance in future to stay in control) but the real problem could be the CT. BCC behaves like a bunch of legalised thugs at the best of time. We often give in simply because it is cheaper and easier to do so – they get paid with our money to give us unending hassle, we have to make a living.

    In this case, the tenant may not have given proper notice and is entitled to stay until the end of the statutory 1 month, but she has vacated and returned the flat !
    ie the AST may still be running because she has a right to stay on if she wants but she has relinquished that right and the property is now in my possession.

    The question is : who is legally responsible for the CT ?

    Personally, I suspect I am although I may have recourse against the tenant.

    Any legal experts among readers who can quote chapter and verse to assist in my soon to commence battle with BCC ?


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  • Simon Topple says:

    It wasnt my intention to say berate CAB – hence my “polite word” bit. If they dont know the advice is wrog theyll keep offering it

    The tenant is still liable for CT. You have a contractural period – tenant is also paying rent, via the deposit, so accepts that rent is due for this period. IMO this is clear cut.


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  • @Sam – your tenant has surrendered possession so she can’t get back in now. On that basis teh CT issue is much more of a grey area and having thought about it I think you may be right that you must pay and recover from her.

    You say your tenant is spoilt, who by? Does she have anybody you could put some pressure on by threatening to take her to Court?

    I agree with Simon that you should put CAB straight, at the very least make a written complaint and escalate it if necessary until it is acknowledged that they were in the wrong. You could be helping lots of other landlords and we all need each others help occasionally don’t we? If we didn’t this forum would serve no purpose.


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  • Sam, The answers given to you are all opinions and quite frankly do little to answer your question. As a professional agent I KNOW where the liability lies. Why not try the lettingsupermarket.com?
    Antony Richards recently posted…£450pcm – LUDGVANMy Profile


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  • @Antony Richards – I’m a bit confused by your post. I clicked on the link in your name and it took me through to your website. No problem there :)

    However, you are obviously a Letting Agent yourself so I can’t understand why you would recommend Letting Supermarket. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with that either as Property118 has a 26% stake in that business. I’m just a bit confused.

    With regards to advice vs opinion, I agree with you. If a good letting agent offers you professional advice in writing they are putting both their credibility and Professional Indemnity insurance on the line if the advice is wrong and results in their clients losing out financially. As Letting Supermarket are ARLA members they obviously have PI insurance to back their advice :)


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  • FYI all,

    Notice does not have to coincide or end on a rent payment day unless specified.


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  • @Puzzler – I agree :)


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  • The important point for CT is that if the property is unfurnished and empty you do not have to pay. I don’t think the tenant has to pay either. Note that some councils have drastically reduced the exempt period for rental properties e.g. Cheltenham is now only one month (previously six).


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