Council tax liability?

Council tax liability?

10:19 AM, 6th January 2023, About 3 months ago 39

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Hello, My tenant had a two years AST but she left after 18 months. The council made her liable for council tax and she appealed. I was not involved in the tribunal hearing.

She won the appeal saying the landlord agreed to end the tenancy, which I did not. The council then put the council tax liability onto me.

The council agrees that they have no evidence that the property was tenanted or re-occupied. They have refused my appeal and told me that I can appeal direct to the tribunal against their earlier decision.

The local authority has refused to release the full evidence my tenant provided to the appeal’s panel due to data protection.

Also, the local authority tells me that the tribunal has stopped the LA from providing me with all the evidence.

As I was not involved in the earlier tribunal hearing to verify her false evidence, I feel it’s up to the billing authority to appeal the decision.

The Amended Council tax reg. 2013 says: “Where a tenant fails to give correct notice, the tenant continues to be liable until the property is re-let or the landlord accepts a surrender.”

Advice please!



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18:49 PM, 6th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by eagle view at 06/01/2023 - 11:53
I thought it was 6 months of council tax not two. Big difference. Did I miss something or is my maths not up to scratch any more?


9:55 AM, 7th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Usually, whenever any of my tenants have left by themselves, irrespective of their contract or AST, I do not make anyone's life hard, so be it that a tenants wishes to leave 6 months earlier than the AST specifies, I resume full responsibility for my property until it is re-let, however most councils will give you up to 2 months to do any repairs or make over if required as long as it remains substantially unfurnished and empty.

Apart from technicalities, as this may not involve several thousand pounds of loss, I would not bang my head against the council, but seek 2 month's grace that most councils provide and pay the 4 months and move for peace of mind.

I take it the property had not been rented out to any new tenants after the first ones left earlier, otherwise the new tenants would have been paying the council tax and this issue would not have arisen. .

eagle view

10:08 AM, 7th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Layla . at 06/01/2023 - 17:13Hello Layla,
If you think you are same life situation with the tenant then that is fine. Your only good landlord if you can withstand changing market conditions and rental / council tax voids. Most councils do accept the laibility of the tenant if show them a proof.

Jessie Jones

13:52 PM, 7th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Hi Ravinder,
You have the AST which proves the tenant had liability. For the LA to win at any tribunal, they will have to have a document or other evidence that you had accepted an early surrender. Just because another tribunal accepted the word of the outgoing tenant, does not bind the judgement of your tribunal. I cannot imagine how the council could have any admissible evidence of your early surrender if you didn't give it. The outgoing tenant isn't likely to give evidence at your tribunal, especially to tell an untruth.
That said, councils have unlimited funds and are not afraid to use taxpayers money to take small landlords to Court. You have to ask yourself whether you can be bothered with the fight, and might be better off just getting the property re-let.
PS, you cannot take unpaid council tax from the tenants deposit unless this was a term of your AST and referred to within the Prescribed Information relating to the Tenancy Deposit

Simon F

14:11 PM, 7th January 2023, About 3 months ago

OP doesn't say anything about rent collection efforts for vacant 6 months nor the manner of the tenants departure. I'd say if the tenants handed back keys in a civil manner giving a forwarding address and LL made no effort after that to collect rent then it was reasonable for the tenant to tell the tribunal that the tenancy early ended by agreement - even if that was not on terms the LL would generally consider fair.


16:10 PM, 7th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Part of any legal process is "Discovery" where all parties disclose relevant evidence.
I have had a slightly similar case with a disappearing tenant.
The council also refused to disclose evidence they had, mine did not go to a tribunal so I was just was dealing with the Council tax team and their legal department.

We had lots of letters and phone calls being exchanged and in the end wrote a detailed letter to the department, copying it direct to the Head of CT, Head of Legal and the Chief Exec. I again asked for all of the evidence to be supplied. I received a response threating legal action, which they failed to copy to their departmental heads and the Chief exec.
I responded to this asking them to them to take me to court ASAP, copying all parties in, reminding that they would have to disclose all relevant information to me and the court.

I then received a letter finding in my favour, no apology. Maybe lucky but I feel right was on my side in this case.

Paul Power

11:30 AM, 8th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 06/01/2023 - 12:16
Surely this boils down to what was paid? If T paid for 2 years tenancy and there is proof then its got to be a useful defence. If L accepted 18 months rent then it becomes arguable. Might be worth sliding a clause in about liability for the next tenant.

Simon F

11:32 AM, 8th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Power at 08/01/2023 - 11:30
Or if not paid, that LL made effort to locate tenant / collect


12:43 PM, 8th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Power at 08/01/2023 - 11:30
Whether or not the rent is paid has nothing to do with Council Tax. The only criterion is that a valid tenancy of more than six months exists.


13:31 PM, 8th January 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin at 07/01/2023 - 16:10
Hi Martin,
I have had a very similar fight with CT authority last year with similar argument and similar outcome.

My property was empty and in the market for sale since 2019. I was paying the CTX as previously instructed. In 2020 Covid effect everything stopped. and at the end of 2020 a summons was sent to the empty on the name of a couple with no relation to the property never lived there. The Summons was for CTX unpaid under another account. I was paid the previous amount under a different account. I contacted council and I was told that that they have the couple as the resident in their records. Then I was told that I have to pay the totals of the 2 bills together because I "lost the right to pay by instalment .... I asked many question which the council could not answer ... and how they created that records and in the middle of the pandemic. To cut short, I proposed to facilitate the payment to a level I can afford but was not accepted. I continued paying the previous one and amount. Then I received a summons with information that I cannot attend the hearing in person but I can join via Zoom . if I wish to be part of the hearing I have to request the online access details which I did 3 times including by phone call and by email. Two hours of the hearing time I send an email with my DEFENCE ARGUMENT to the Council Tax dept, all the 5 other Councillors in my area, finance, etc. I also requested to be provided a copy of the case bundle submitted to the court. The council failed miserably to provide me with the access information to participate in the hearing as well as to provide me with the case effectively denied me to defend myself.
As you can guess, an order was made against me I received a copy of the order with a letter of the order enforcement from the Debt Collectors.

I wrote the council to challenge that they have not followed the legal and therefore denied me to defend myself. I requested again for the case bundle be provided within 7 days. CT replied that due to data protection they cannot provide the copy of the case bundle put to court because contained other people. I told then that is their problem hoe the present their claim but they cannot deny me to defend myself... They cannot be the claimant and jury at the same time. I told CT to provide me the copy of the bundle within 48 hours and to remove the court cost or I will submit an application to the Court to set aside the order due to the claimant (Council Tax Dept) failure to follow the legal procedures which effectively denied me to defend myself. I also copied to all the councillors.

The next day I received a letter confirming that CT accept all my terms of facilitating the payment to what I proposed earlier, removed the court cost and cancelled the enforcement order against me. HAPPY END !!

I dont say this any other reason than put out there for other LLs. It might help to navigate some of the hurdle we have to jump to survive .... I am learning a lot with you too !!.

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