Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
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]
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.
[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.
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