Council Tax Liability – Quoting S6 Local Government Finance Act 1992?

Council Tax Liability – Quoting S6 Local Government Finance Act 1992?

15:38 PM, 18th October 2021, About a month ago 11

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I started possession action due to persistent non-payment of rent in Autumn 2019. Possession was under S21 rather than S8 as advised by my solicitor. I obtained a court order on 27 March 2020 the day after the Govt ban on evictions. The tenants appealed, which was dismissed on 23 April 2020. They however remained in occupation.

The Government legislated to ban possession proceedings and evictions which continued throughout 2020 albeit for a small window for anti-social and criminal behaviour cases.

It appeared to me in mid-Sept 2020 that the tenants had vacated with very few belongings in the property. Neighbours verbally confirmed items had been moved out. The tenants had not given notice or returned keys.

I took action on grounds of abandonment, serving a 28 day notice in Dec 2020 and took possession on 2 March 2021. The delay was because my solicitors just kept saying to wait for the courts. This, however, seemed a never-ending game, the property was empty and by this point, I was in severe financial difficulties.

Following taking possession, I put the property on the market and sold it to help clear our covid-related debts. During this sale period I paid the Council tax.

The Council are however pursuing me for a further £1027.68 Council tax on the basis that there was an order for possession (27/3/20) which brings the contractual tenancy agreement to an end. Therefore, the tenants are not liable for council tax beyond their vacation (which they are claiming was Aug 2020). The Council goes on to say that obtaining possession through legal means is not the same as Council tax liability and quote S6 Local Government Finance Act 1992.

I have been advised that I would have to prove that the tenants remained in occupation beyond Aug 2020. I am not able to do this, and they definitely appear to have left by Sept.

Sorry, this is a bit long but thought I’d give as many facts as possible to see if anyone with experience or knowledge of this type of situation can give any further advice.

Many thanks

Adrian



Comments

by TheBiggerPicture

9:44 AM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

Urrrgh.
Feel your pain. Guilty till proven innocent!
Why is the onus on you, when you can't be expected to know.
You couldn't of gone to the property every day to check(or called), as you have to legally abide by quiet enjoyment of non paying tenants to property.
The tenants did not inform you.
So it's a legal impossibility to meet the criteria of proof.
Your punishment for providing accommodation to those in need of it.

But don't worry am sure your council tax will be spent very wisely. (Cough cough).

by Chris @ Possession Friend

10:01 AM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

@ Adrian, would be interested to see what your tenancy agreement says. We do handle disputes with Local Authorities if you'd like to get in contact.

by Jessie Jones

10:16 AM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

I think that this is one of those cases where the real world does not dovetail with legislation, and as landlords we end up with the dirty end of the stick.

If you dispute liability then you can take your case to the appeals tribunal https://www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk/decisions-and-lists/ and on that page there is a link to past decisions where you will hopefully find a precedent for your circumstances. Good luck with reading through all the past decisions though; it isn't indexed in a useful way.
Hopefully someone else may have access to a useful case decision.

by Adrian Alderton

12:45 PM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

Thanks for the comments and good point about using the valuation tribunal, altho will no doubt will just interpret the law rather than consider any issues of fairness.

by Freda Blogs

12:59 PM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

Try these guys - http://www.lgfa92.co.uk/

I had a Council Tax issue and they were helpful - very reasonable fees too. Hopefully they can help you too.

Good luck

by Jessie Jones

13:09 PM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Adrian Alderton at 19/10/2021 - 12:45
I'm afraid that fairness has nothing to do with it. The Courts, the Council and Tribunals are only concerned with the law, not fairness.
If you are looking for fairness, being a landlord isn't the right industry to be in.

by Mick Roberts

14:56 PM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 19/10/2021 - 10:01
Another reason for Landlords to pack up. It's never ending.

I'm glad u on our side Chris & I've got u on the end of the phone, you a man of all Legal knowledge, no doubt I'm gonna' need u one day & many us should have u on speed-dial.

by Mick Roberts

14:56 PM, 19th October 2021, About a month ago

Ha Ha great words Jessie:
If you are looking for fairness, being a landlord isn't the right industry to be in.

by David Price

8:59 AM, 21st October 2021, About a month ago

So much depends on your AST contract. If the tenancy continued after the fixed period as a Statutory periodic tenancy then you are responsible (this is the default position) but if the continuing period was a Contractual periodic then the tenant is responsivle. Please check your tenancy agreement.

by Rennie

21:30 PM, 27th October 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by TheBiggerPicture at 19/10/2021 - 09:44
Don't know any more than this but isn't the one who makes the claim obliged to prove it with presentable evidence?

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