Council tax exemption

by Readers Question

21:10 PM, 29th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Council tax exemption

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Council tax exemption

I purchased a property about 18 months ago in the Falkirk District.

It needed some refurbishment so was empty for a few months and I applied for and received a council tax exemption.

Falkirk Council allow a 6 month tax exemption if property is unoccupied and unfurnished.

However, I recently received a letter informing me that as the previous occupant had now claimed tax exemption prior to me purchasing the property, my exemption was backdated and I now owed the council some tax.

Has this ever happened to anyone else and can the council do this?

Thanks for your help

RichardCouncil tax exemption



Comments

Sally T

5:37 AM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

We've been refused exemptions on repossessions because they've already been empty for a long period. Never been granted it then had the council change their mind. I think the rules were that there can only be one 6 month exemption in any council tax period (april-april).
They've changed it completely now and there is no exemption period 🙁

Yvette Newbury

14:34 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Yes I have had exactly the same when applying for a c.tax exemption during refurbishment. The Council explained that now they only allow a 6-month exemption during the life of the property (!) so if a previous owner used some of the exemption, you can only use the balance up to a max. of 6 months. However, now in all areas in which we have properties there is no exemption whatsoever and we have even lost the 10% discount that applied for a vacant let property.

Steve M

15:13 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Yvette Newbury " at "30/07/2013 - 14:34":

These days I find you're lucky if you only get charged 100% Council Tax for vacant property.

Liverpool Council charge 150% once the property has been vacant for a short while.

I'm amazed that this is even legal, as virtually no Council services are being used.

So you have an unoccupied house being charged 150%, yet the same house across the road occupied by eight, only has to pay 100%.

Yvette Newbury

15:53 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve M" at "30/07/2013 - 15:13":

Steve -I heard noises about this but didn't know it was implemented by any Council yet - crazy! What really annoys me is that I explicitly tell the Council the names of my tenants, then see that sometimes my tenants have altered the names to put it solely in the names of those tenants who are students. Result? No council tax. I understand that "accounts cannot be opened until the tenant concerned has contacted us" but who do they want to believe - the Landlord or the Tenant? It's their loss at the time but then we end up paying by a change of policy.

16:39 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Yvette Newbury " at "30/07/2013 - 15:53":

What I do is contact the CT dept every 3 months to confirm the status of the CT occupants.
The CT dept will NOT advise you unless you obtained authority from the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy that you could discuss with the CT dept their account.
Before I had done this I sussed out a tenant who did exactly what you describe.
She had advised the council she was no longer resident at the property and that someone who I later discovered was her son was on the CT register.
He was a student and yes you've guessed it wasn't liable for CT!!!
When I contacted the CT dept they would NOT divulge who was on the CT register for that property of mine.
When I advised WHO should be on the register as per the AST; there was a silence followed by a acknowledgement that because of information supplied they would be reinstating liability for the tenant who was on my AST.
It turned out she was fraudster with a false name but that is another story.
Apparently she complained to the council that I had told lies about her occupying the property still.
That I found strange as the the day I contacted the council to confirm her occupation status I had seen her sunning herself on the balcony of the flat which is only 35 m from my flat!!!!!!!
So the lesson here is have your authorities to discuss and check every 3 months.

Yvette Newbury

17:01 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Barrett" at "30/07/2013 - 16:39":

How do you ensure the tenant authorises you to discuss their CT account - is this clause in your tenancy agreement? I tried to set this up for the utilities and I suggested a clause to the Eon Landlord team, but their solicitor rejected my clause but would not come up with an alternative! I was trying to help them to help themselves but to no avail.

17:09 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Yvette Newbury " at "30/07/2013 - 17:01":

What you need to do is have appendicies to your AST.
So you should have separate authority letters for
Water.............in and out if necessary
Gas
Electricity as they could be different suppliers
Council Tax
Electoral Roll
possibly social services
Council HB dept
DWP for UC
You ensure the tenant SIGNS these authorities BEFORE they sign the AST.
If they refuse would you want them as tenants!!!??
I also ensure the tenant signe an ER form BEFORE they sign the AST.
If they refuse you know you have a wrongun unless it was something like a battered wife etc.
This will mean more paperwork; but my council insists on INDIVIDUAL authorities for EACH RELEVANT council dept.
Clauses in AST's are NOT acceptable to them!!!

Yvette Newbury

17:19 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

I recall I used to do this back in the 90's (have separate letter for each utility) but as mobile phones and email became the norm, I stopped producing the letters for the tenant to sign. I think I will reinstate them, thanks Paul!

Freda Blogs

18:13 PM, 30th July 2013
About 5 years ago

Richard

I suggest you challenge the council and seek clarification as to the basis (such as a council minute) that they are relying on to make this determination, and what are the precise terms of its application.

You have played by the book in seeking and obtaining an exemption of CT and you have confirmation in writing to that effect.

Interestingly, you refer in your opening post to the former "occupant". Council tax is a tax on occupation. Do you mean former owner or tenants? Did a tenant have a liability for the CT? This could be a material point as to whether that applicant has a superior claim over the CT exemption than yours. Has that person proved their entitlement? Did they apply in the appropriate timescale etc etc?

Councils are hard up for cash and they are seeking to recover it wherever possible. However that should not mean that they renege on advice they had previously given to you and which you have relied on. They may be trying it on and a challenge may just make them back off if their case is not well supported by the necessary authority or facts.

andrew townshend

19:36 PM, 31st July 2013
About 5 years ago

here in norwich we only get one month now.

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