Council Tax Enforcement Notice Advice Please

by Readers Question

15:24 PM, 15th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Council Tax Enforcement Notice Advice Please

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Council Tax Enforcement Notice Advice Please

Hi, I am looking for advice as I guess that many people here are experts in dealing with councils. I was a tenant in Thurrock and moved out in August 2016. In Feb 2017 I received an enforcement notice for unpaid council tax. enforcement

This was the first I knew of any apparent debt. I had written to the council and given my new address on departure, with my move out date. I also cancelled my direct debit. As I had paid by DD (collected on the 11th of each month) and moved out on the 7th I assumed that I had no money to pay and in fact they would owe me a couple of day’s money.

They say that I am liable until the new tenant moved in as I never informed them I was going and should not have cancelled my DD. They claim to have no record of my letter. On the website there is no telephone number on any of the Council Tax sections, which in my view is because they actively discourage phone call contact.

I thought that a letter would be the safest option – more fool me!

Luckily my excellent landlady has informed them of when I moved out so that will bring the bill down however the council are insisting that I pay all the additional associated fees related to the enforcement notice.

They managed to find my address to send the notice to (apparently via an Experian check) but all other correspondence went to the property which I no longer lived at and no-one passed on to me. I am happy to pay any outstanding CT but am aggrieved at having to pay fees when I had no idea that there was any debt.

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated!

Caroline



Comments

Neil Patterson

15:27 PM, 15th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Caroline,

I am assuming you have to proof the letter was posted or received by the Council.

However, did you register for Council Tax straight away at your new address and did the new tenant at your old address register fairly quickly?

I think then you have pretty conclusive proof you are not a council tax dodger.

CD BKK

23:36 PM, 15th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi, I did not send the letter by recorded delivery so it is essentially my word against theirs. I send dozens of letter on the same day to different agencies using the same template - no problem with any except this. They also have my email on file but never used this once. The phone number they used (this was declared void in my letter as I was moving overseas) was used by them and their response when I challenged them was essentially we tried to ring you and that is going above and beyond our duty as all we have to do is send a letter to the property.
I did not register elsewhere as I moved overseas but gave them a UK forwarding address of a family member who has been emailing us scans of all mail received. If nothing else my biggest lesson from this is always get proof of all correspondence/ receipts / emails as you cannot rely on their records. They will always say that every aspect is up to the individual not the council to prove.
Thanks,

Alison King

8:58 AM, 16th February 2017
About 2 years ago

I think you should dig your heels in and keep restating your case. Write to the local MP about how difficult they have been to deal with and cc them in. It sounds like incompetence and jobsworth behaviour on their part to me. I had something similar with a utility company and they did waive the charges in the end.

terry sullivan

9:00 AM, 16th February 2017
About 2 years ago

pls name the council

Mike McDonagh

9:03 AM, 16th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Caroline,
As with most things governmental it is made as complicated and intimidating as possible. With property owners/landlords we get hit whenever we cannot prove any other liability existed.
If you can prove that you held no stake in the property, your tenancy had ended and you were no longer resident at the address and that your monthly DD was payment in advance you are NOT liable for the CT bill for any period beyond that date . Any costs the council have incurred chasing a debt that didn't exist are entirely their responsibility. Do not be bullied by them.
I would suggest you speak to citizens advice and produce a letter confirming your position also advising that if the action continues and/or if your credit rating is adversely affected you will counter sue for harassment and damages.
Good luck Mike

Sue P

9:33 AM, 16th February 2017
About 2 years ago

With hindsight I think the lesson here is to always get your post redirected when you move.
However organised you think you have been it is easy to miss an account or a utility - or as in this case them to 'miss' your notification. For a few pounds it really does save a lot of problems.

Kevin McLandlord

22:08 PM, 16th February 2017
About 2 years ago

I'd advise as above; if you're in the right don't give in.

You must be firm with the corporations, government and anyone else trying to action something that just isn't acceptable.

I've experienced so many issues with so many different things since getting into property and I love nothing more than winning the battle. Even ones that last over 2 years. Persistence always pays off.

Maybe that's why I chose to get into property properly, so many challenges...so many learnings.

Let us know how you get on, best of luck.

Rob Crawford

11:56 AM, 18th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sue P" at "16/02/2017 - 09:33":

I agree with Sue, however, redirecting mail overseas is very expensive, redirecting to a trusted relation or friend can be a cheaper alternative. Most new tenants and agents will not waste time forwarding mail to former tenants.

Stephen Smith

7:28 AM, 20th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi,

If you can prove the date you moved out the liability ends there.

Standard council response whereby they say they haven't got your letter I am afraid. Send by recorded, or email with a read receipt. Get names of people you speak to, keep copies of all letters, start making notes of conversations, with whom, times etc.

The first liability is with the tenant or occupier, however the landlord is ultimately liable for CT. If you left before the end of your term, and this hasn't been agreed you may be liable for the CT. If it was agreed that you left at the end of the fixed term then, as I say the LL is responsible.

I echo the sentiments of others here, don't take any rhetoric from the council, they are very fond of putting on extra charges.

Council tax issues are held in the Magistrates Court, hence you can be imprisoned for failure to pay, and is not the same as a normal civil debt. If you have any concerns over the credit history issue then get a copy of your credit history, try "Noddle", free for life.

Stephen


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