Council Demands Landlord’s Contact Details From Tenants – Threatens A Fine For Non Compliance

by Readers Question

13:22 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Council Demands Landlord’s Contact Details From Tenants – Threatens A Fine For Non Compliance

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Council Demands Landlord’s Contact Details From Tenants – Threatens A Fine For Non Compliance

One of our long-time tenants in the London Borough of Hackney (who is up to date with their Council Tax) received the email below last week. It refers to “Regulation 3 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992”, details of which can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/613/regulation/3/made.

###

From: “Council Tax”
Date: ** February ********
To: [Tenant Name & Email Address removed by Theodore]
Subject: [Property Address removed by Theodore]

Message
Dear [Tenant Name removed by Theodore]

Our ref: [Information removed by Theodore]

I am writing to ask you to supply the following information in respect of the above property.

Please provide the name(s) and contact details of your landlord.

I must advise you that in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, you are legally obliged to supply the information requested as it is required to enable the authority to determine liability for Council Tax.

Please note that failure to supply the information within 21 days of the date of this email may result in the Authority imposing a financial penalty of £50.00 upon you.

Yours sincerely

[Council Employee’s Name removed by Theodore]

Council Tax Officer
Finance and Resources Directorate
Revenues and Benefits Service
Telephone: 020 8356 3***
Fax: 020 8356 3***

Email : Council.Tax@hackney.gov.uk
Website : www.hackney.gov.uk

Hackney Council may exercise its right to intercept any communication, the only exception to this would be confidential survey data, with any employee or agent of the Council using its telephony or data networks. By using these networks you give your consent to Hackney Council monitoring and recording your communication. If you have received this e-mail in error please delete it immediately and contact the sender. For further information about Hackney Council policies please contact Hackney Service Centre on: 020 8356 3000.

###

My understanding is that the only time when an owner of a property is liable for the payment of Council Tax is when a property is: in multiple occupation; or all the people who live in the property are under the age of 18, or the property is accommodation for asylum seekers; or the people who are staying in the property are there temporarily and have their main homes somewhere else; or the property is a care home, hospital, hostel or women’s refuge.

Given that the property the tenants are living in is none of the above (and the Council knows this) can “Regulation 3 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992” be used this way to gather landlord contact information?

Can a Council impose a financial penalty on the tenant or a managing agent if they refuse to supply the contact details of the landlord?

Personally I don’t believe that Regulation 3 can be used to give a Council the authority to demand a landlord’s contact details from a tenant or a managing agent, and that the Council’s threat of financial penalty for failing to do so within 21 days is little more than bullying.

Would appreciate everyone’s thoughts.

Theodorecouncil fine



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:24 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Can I assume the tenant does not claim housing benefit?

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

13:33 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

CT is also payable by a landlord when the property is empty .... some councils are charging 150% of CT when a property is empty - check out your councils policy -

This is because national guidelines on CT collection were abandoned last April

I doubt the can fine your tenant..... has the tenant told you ?

If you plan to pay CT when you are liable what issues do you have about giving the Council your contact details ?

Sue P

13:47 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

The regulations relate to a a specific period of time - I assume that is a charging period and hence they are just trying to find who to charge for a time period, or maybe confirm when the current tenants moved in & the last ones moved out.
While the email is officious, I think they are only asking for something you should have no issues giving them.

It is normal for your solicitor to give them your address details when you complete on a purchase so why they don't have your details allready is a bit odd - unless you have moved since you bought this property?

Paul Jemetta

13:55 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reading the regulation, I think it's a legitimate request although I haven't looked for the financial penalty clause. It is however, one of the most obnoxious emails I've ever seen but it's obviously supposed to show the recipient who's boss/

Romain Garcin

14:27 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Regulation seems as per council's claim (though no mention of penalty):

3. (1) A person who appears to a billing authority to be a resident, owner or managing agent of a particular dwelling shall supply to the authority such information as fulfils the following conditions—

(a) it is in the possession or control of the person concerned;
(b) the authority requests (by notice given in writing) the person concerned to supply it; and
(c) it is requested by the authority for the purposes of identifying the person who, in respect of any period specified in the notice, is the liable person in relation to the dwelling.

(2) A person on whom such a notice as is mentioned in paragraph (1) is served shall supply the information so requested—
(a) within the period of 21 days beginning on the day on which the notice was served; and
(b) if the authority so requires, in the form specified in the request.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

14:35 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

if I was threatened with a fine I would want to know which Act of parliament or which regulation the fine was detailed in, and which puts in the power of the local authority to levy...... they have to respond.....

Paul Jemetta

14:43 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

It looks like it should be dealt with in para 56 but that seems to relate to something else. It might be worth asking the question.

Sue P

14:46 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain " at "18/02/2014 - 14:27":

As I said, the request seems fine, but does relate to a specific period of time. 3.(1)(c)

The original post says the tenants are long term & not in arrears. If this is the case, then what time period are the council chasing payment for??

Again, as I said before, I would give the council a ring to see what it is they really want, maybe 141 before calling so as not to give them my phone number.

NewYorkie

15:30 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

The email is unnecessarily threatening, but I see no reason why you would object to LBH having your contact details. As has been said above, the landlord is liable for CT during void periods.

However, my literal interpretation of this is that, in this situation, s3 refers to your tenant, who is the 'liable person' for paying the CT, and should not be used to demand other information under threat of a fine.

Romain Garcin

16:03 PM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sue P" at "18/02/2014 - 14:46":

I don't think it really matters to the tenant who received that notice. He should reply.
When the council tax dept. asks for such info it should be implied that they are doing so in relation to asserting liability for a given property and period of time.

If the council thinks that Theo, as landlord, is liable for council tax in relation to a past period, they will undoubtedly send him a demand as soon as they get his details.
At that point he will be able to check the claim and to respond to it.

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