Council tax liability dates make no sense?

Council tax liability dates make no sense?

10:04 AM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago 31

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I have been billed for council tax for a void period. The tenant left on 31 August and a new one moved in on 9th September.tax date

I was charged for the void period as 31 Aug to 8th September. I believe I should have been charged for the period 1-8 September.

Although the amount involved is insignificant I believe the principle is interesting , the council reply is:

“To clarify, I would advise you that Council Tax Law provides that a persons liability begins on the first day of ownership/occupation, but ceases the day prior to their sale/vacation. In this case their tenancy ceased on 31st August 2016 and therefore were charged until the 30st August 2016, therefore resulting in the owner of the premises being liable with effect from the 31st August 2016”

On that basis I will have to advise all new tenants who take over properties consecutively that they will be responsible for council tax for the day before they move in!

Is this right?

Phil



Comments

David Price

12:30 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "04/10/2016 - 12:23":

It's not a question of good or bad will, it's the law. Look at sidebotham v Holland 1895. After years of argument my council no longer charge for the last day of the tenancy.

Ian Narbeth View Profile

12:57 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Price" at "04/10/2016 - 12:30":

"After years of argument my council no longer charge for the last day of the tenancy"
And your point is?

Sidebotham v Holland is not decisive of the liability for Council Tax.

Dave Driver

13:24 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

I think this system is more geared towards homes being bought/sold than towards tenants changing over.
Typically, when a home is sold, the previous owner moves out in the morning, completion takes places at perhaps 2pm, and the new owner moves in. Thus the new owner pays the council tax on the moving day.
When we have tenants, we usually don't move them in the same day as the previous one moves out, since the rent is paid for that day, and the new tenant pays the rent for the next day. We typically charge for a whole day. To avoid this, we would need to date our AST to start/end at midday, or 2pm, or some other time within the day that allows us to move the new tenant in the same day. If there is a night not covered by the AST, then we will be liable for the council tax.

13:34 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dave Driver" at "04/10/2016 - 13:24":

You're right, the system does favour owners selling up and new owners moving in as being the easier to deal - the aspect of tenancies is not the the easiest part of council tax legislation to deal with.

Craig / lgfa92

RichDad

13:46 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

We have had this agony multiple times every year. If you tell council that e.g. tenants moved out on 30 September and new ones moved in on 1 October, with no void periods, then they will still bill the landlord for one day (one night?).

If they bill according to who occupied it "at the end of the day", does mean we have to claim that check-out time was 17:01 hrs? Or 23:59 hrs?

Romain Garcin

13:47 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dave Driver" at "04/10/2016 - 13:24":

"To avoid this, we would need to date our AST to start/end at midday, or 2pm, or some other time within the day that allows us to move the new tenant in the same day."

No you don't.
As said, when the check out occurs the tenancy is effectively surrendered. After that the tenant hasn't got any liability and the landlord has got the property back.

For example, if damage occurs after check out and handing of keys the tenant will deny liability. And if the tenant decides he wants the property back for the rest of the day after check out and handing of keys the landlord will refuse to give access.
These are good indications, IMO, that both parties consider that the tenancy has ended at check out whatever the tenancy agreement might say.

14:07 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Richard Peeters" at "04/10/2016 - 13:46":

The problem you have is that Council tax legislation is the governing legislation rather than the tenancy agreements - the tenancy agreement works within Council Tax, not the other way round.

Depending on the situation it's quite possible for the agreements to say one thing and Council Tax legislation to say something different (and the legislation wins).

Craig / lgfa92

Dave Driver

14:43 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain Garcin" at "04/10/2016 - 13:47":

You missed my point. If the tenancy doesn't officially end until midnight, you can't make plans to move another tenant in the same day, so you will be in possession overnight and therefore liable for council tax.

If the tenant moves out early that's fine, but it's unlikely that you will be able to co-ordinate your new tenant moving in that day.

Romain Garcin

15:02 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dave Driver" at "04/10/2016 - 14:43":

I agree that if it isn't known in advance when the check out will occur it is difficult to plan.
But on the other hand you may not know whether the tenant will move out at the end of the fixed term tenancy at all.

Certainly this isn't related to how the rent is paid, though.

David Price

15:15 PM, 4th October 2016, About 6 years ago

If your tenancy agreement ends at midnight then it is the tenants responsibility. Sidebotham v Holland defines midnight. It does not matter what time the tenant leaves, it could be several days prior, as long as the tenancy was for more than six months.

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