Council Tax Liability

by Readers Question

19:41 PM, 4th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Council Tax Liability

Make Text Bigger
Council Tax Liability

I am having a little dispute with my local council where my properties are rented out. For many years I have dealt predominantly with the lower end of the market. Due to a recent clerical error I forgot to notify the council when a tenant moved from one of my properties to another. For reasons too complicated to expand upon things changed for him pretty swiftly and he was soon behind with his rent. After a couple of months he had done a runner. Within a week I had re-let the property. Council Tax Liability

When I informed the council of the new tenant they promptly billed me for the period (I shall call him) ‘Dean’ was in residence.

I have replied to the council stating that the hierarchy to tax as laid down in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 clearly state’s that ‘Dean’ is liable before I become liable.

They have replied that I had a legal duty to inform them of the occupant and they are not prepared to issue a council tax demand to an address where a person no longer resides. They have asked for a forwarding address or place of work from me. Aside from the fact that if I had either of these I would be chasing him for the rent surely there is a Data Protection issue here?

Anyway, my main question is does anyone know what act sets out my ‘legal liability’ to inform the council of occupants of my property. Also has anyone experienced any similar arguments from their council?

Please don’t lecture me about credit referencing tenants, guarantors, next of kin, not taking DSS etc. etc. this is the business model I work with and I accept the odd non payer will do a runner once in a while.

Many thanks,

Dave.



Comments

Si G

14:21 PM, 5th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Hello Dave, I had the same scenario recently, what I did is print a letter to cover my position, if the letter notifying the council did not arrive it's not your problem, if it's beyond that give them tenants last address lastly the deposit should cover your void.

Luke P

14:24 PM, 5th November 2015
About 3 years ago

The fact remains that you were not liable (for 'Dean's' fixed term tenancy period at least) and therefore they should properly issue a bill for the person who is liable.

They are trying it on because they can find you (and have more chance of actually getting money from a landlord than a penniless tenant).

Let them take you to Court if they wish, then produce the tenancy.

Claire Smith

16:18 PM, 5th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Also many councils offer an empty property discount (often no council tax for the 1st 3 months) - check your council's website to see if they do this. If it's not on their website, get a friend to phone and enquire.

David Oswald

17:40 PM, 5th November 2015
About 3 years ago

That's exactly what I was thinking Luke.

They have had the tenancy agreement and are aware that he started a UC credit claim whilst at that address but flatly refuse to issue the Council Tax bill in his name.
They have issued the bill in my name and sent reminders. In all correspondence with the council revenues department they have informed me that I should pay the bill and they will refund it if an appeal is successful. Not. A. Chance.
I am now minded to let them take me to the magistrates court for non payment and point out my non liability for the bill to the magistrate.

David Oswald

17:45 PM, 5th November 2015
About 3 years ago

I've just re-read your comment Simon and I see where you are coming from regarding my letter notifying them of the change of tenancy.

Luckily I also phone the Housing Benefit department (same department as Council Tax) on a regular basis also so my phone records will also be of use.

Si G

9:04 AM, 6th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi David a backdated copy letter is all you need its worked for me many times, btw i had a client who was sequestrated by a Scottish council as they did not notify of new tenant, council won case reclaimed 10 years of ct, with fees and costs the client got back 35p in the pound on a cash b2let flat, so this is a serious matter, I dont mean for you but absent landlords may be liable for years of ct = interest

Si G

9:06 AM, 6th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Oswald" at "05/11/2015 - 17:40":

Hi David a backdated copy letter is all you need its worked for me many times, btw i had a client who was sequestrated by a Scottish council as they did not notify of new tenant, council won case reclaimed 10 years of ct, with fees and costs the client got back 35p in the pound on a cash b2let flat, so this is a serious matter, I dont mean for you but absent landlords may be liable for years of ct = interest

Si G

9:11 AM, 6th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Oswald" at "05/11/2015 - 17:40":

The council i was dealing with are arrogant they have the full power of the courts behind them to issue a summary warrant, no need to send a writ can proceed straight to court really hard work but stand your ground, if it get to court will get thrown out probably as you were not liable, also there should be a line in your tenancy agreement which puts the onus on the tenant to notify the council of their residency dates.

Luke P

9:59 AM, 6th November 2015
About 3 years ago

All said and done, it is about who owes the bill and not 'you failed to inform us, therefore you're responsible for the rest of time/anything we say' etc.

You can demonstrate who was in there and thus responsible (a backdated letter is worth knocking together too) and don't allow them to 'departmentalise'...The Council is THE Council. I'm tired of them claiming 'their' department didn't know something that maybe a different department was told/knows about -that is for them to figure out the internal communications!

Alison King

10:08 AM, 6th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Backdating letters sounds dishonest, unnecessary and could weaken your case if detected. Council staff may sometimes be ratty, but having to chase people for money is a pretty unpleasant task, even when they have been given the right information at the right time. It seems to me your best course is to continue to provide honest evidence and try and help the council find the debtor.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Deed Poll name change eviction?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More