10:06 AM, 21st September 2022, About A year ago 9
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.
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