Council tax on uninhabitable property driving me crazy?

Council tax on uninhabitable property driving me crazy?

10:06 AM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago 9

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Hi all, This situation is causing me real stress and I’m not sure where to turn.

I bought a property to completely renovate. I told the council that it would be empty and a valuation officer visited on the 8th of April and confirmed that as there was a kitchen, a bathroom and a boiler it would be classified as habitable even if empty and council tax would be payable. I paid the council tax from the time I bought the house on 4th February 2022 up to July when I finally got planning permission for the works to start. First among these was ripping out the kitchen and bathroom added to which the boiler and pipes were stolen as the builders didn’t secure the premises.

On Friday 8th July, I applied on the council’s portal for exemption of council tax as the building works had started and the property was now uninhabitable. I sent a photo of my old kitchen that had now been removed along with the boiler, bathroom and other internal works. I stopped paying the council tax and got no response, confirmation or acknowledgement.

Around the end of July, I received a FINAL NOTICE for the council tax that was due. I sent an email on 28th July explaining the situation regarding the building works. I heard nothing till 25th August, when I got a response saying that someone from the Inspection Team needs to come and visit again.

On the 27th of August, I received a summons and court action and £125 of costs attached to this demanding I pay the full amount of some £1700. I sent an email on the same day and when I didn’t hear anything back, I sent a follow-up on 2nd September and have still not had any response despite saying it’s urgent. So I had to pay the full amount to avoid having a court judgment registered against me.

On 6th September, I was finally able to speak with someone at the Enforcement/Council Tax call centre however she couldn’t halt the summons, the £125 extra cost attached and couldn’t help with giving me a rough date for when an inspection can take place to confirm my property is indeed not habitable.

I have made an official complaint but am still having to pay while I wait for a response

In the meantime, I have been forced to set up a payment plan for the full sum of council tax due till 31st March 2023,

Thank you for reading (if you got this far) and any advice or suggestions about what I can do to challenge this dreadfully poor, unresponsive and unfair service from the council would be much appreciated.

Jonathan



Comments

Christine Howard

10:54 AM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago

I have the same problem here (Newquay Cornwall). The previous tenant, after occupation of 22 years, left the flat completely uninhabitable - no water, kitchen and bathroom destroyed, we are having to not only revamp, but due to the forthcoming EPC rules of grade C, are insulating the ceiling, walls and floor, redoing the flat roof (the flat is the top one of 4 in an old building). Cornwall Council insist on 50pc Tax (resulting in our considering selling the property - this will mean evicting 4 tenants.
We also have another flat whereby we use to be allowed one month free Tax to ensure all Ok for the next tenant - this no longer applies as far as CC is concerned - they insist on you reletting the very next day. It is now obvious the property, over time, will deteriorate - one call to the Enviroment in a few years time - another homeless family possibly (if the landlord is unable to enter the property to check everything in order prior to a new tenancy. This is NOT Government regs, it is up to the Council's choice!

Judith Wordsworth

10:55 AM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago

Many councils are not allowing £0 council for exempt or uninhabitable properties

MICHAEL REGAN

11:44 AM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago

The council want your cash and unfortunately the system is stacked against you. Your idea of being uninhabitable is not the same as the councils or indeed the valuation office which is separate from the council. It could be you have no floor, kitchen, bathroom, water, or electricity but these can be deemed repairs. The best place to appeal is the valuation office itself not the (mafia) council. In the meantime, you will have to pay the council or suffer the legal consequences when they come after you. If there is a hole in your roof, then the property is not watertight, or you have an independent asbestos report saying the property has asbestos are examples where the valuation officer might look favourably on your appeal for example. This is what you get for trying to improve a property adding value to the social, economic, and environmental outcome of the local area… battered by councils.

Ian Narbeth View Profile

11:45 AM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago

Jonathan, whilst you may think that because the property is uninhabitable it should not bear CT, that is not necessarily the case, as Judith Wordsworth says.

You need to check with the relevant Council's website. Council Tax is no longer (if it ever was) linked to usage of and payment for local services, i.e. the bigger the house, the bigger the tax.

Now some Councils can charge double tax where a property is vacant and not using any services.

As a landlord you should get used to being treated unfairly by the authorities. It's our job!

Luna

11:52 AM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago

Michael is right. I had this problem before. You need to show your photos of the uninhabitable state of the property to your Valuation Office - they need to remove it from the Valuation list until it is habitable again, when you will be added back in.
If your property is not on the Valuation List, the Council cannot ask for Council Tax for it.
Good luck

Ian Narbeth View Profile

12:32 PM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Luna at 21/09/2022 - 11:52Luna, just because the kitchen, bathroom and boiler are removed does not mean that CT is not payable.
See the Government website here.

Jireh Homes

16:00 PM, 21st September 2022, About 5 days ago

Council Tax rules, exemptions, durations and definitions on vacant and even the further vacant and unfurnished / uninhabitable vary by LA area, or even if the previous and next tenants are students. All a bit of a lottery as appears little consistency across the country.

Jane Tomlin

19:18 PM, 22nd September 2022, About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Luna at 21/09/2022 - 11:52Our tenants set our BTL on fire last year in August rendering it totally uninhabitable. There was no roof, electrics, or plumbing left. We started the delisting with the Valuations Office in September and it was only delisted in February of this year despite sending them copies of the insurer's surveyor's report, plus photographs showing there were no rafters and no ceilings left. The Valuations Office were incredibly slow - due to Covid (isn't it always). Luckily the council didn't insist that we paid the Council Tax in the meantime as the Fire Report stated the property was uninhabitable. I believe, however, most councils will insist you pay the council tax until the property is delisted and then they will reimburse.
Good luck with it!

moneymanager

10:19 AM, 24th September 2022, About 2 days ago

Guidance
Council Tax: domestic properties which are in disrepair or are derelict

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/council-tax-domestic-properties-in-disrepair-or-derelict/council-tax-domestic-properties-which-are-in-disrepair-or-are-derelict

"The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is the government department responsible for maintaining the Council Tax lists in England and Wales. Listing Officers [LOs] at the VOA are responsible for making banding decisions. This factsheet sets out the LOs’ approach for taxpayers’ properties that are in disrepair.

The main rule is that every property will be banded for Council Tax if it qualifies to be a ‘dwelling’, which has a legal definition. To be a dwelling, the LO will look to see if the property is either habitable or capable of repair. When banding a dwelling the LO must assume that it is in reasonable repair, even if it is not.

In limited circumstances, the LO may ‘delete’ a Council Tax band. This means that a property will not have a Council Tax band and the taxpayer will not pay any Council Tax until the property is entered into the list again following completion of work or service of a completion notice by the Billing Authority."

You evidentlyhave to go a very long way before CT is now not levied as pretty much anything CANN be renovated, is CT being paid on Corfe Castle?

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