15:38 PM, 18th October 2021, About 2 years ago 11
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.