Should landlords have the right to refuse DSS tenants?10:43 AM, 20th May 2019
About 4 weeks ago 124
I received this from Leeds City Council in relation to a tenant who had done a runner. I am disputing being liable for one months council tax. Here’s what they said ……
Council Tax law states that on a periodic tenancy an occupier may only be held liable for the Council Tax charge until they change their main residence. In this case, we have been notified that her main residence changed on 2 September 2013, so we can only legally charge her for Council Tax until then as her ‘material interest’ in the property is no longer active.
While I appreciate she would have had rental liability until her notice expired, Council Tax can only be charged where there is a ‘material interest’ and this is defined as having ownership of the property or being bound by a minimum of a 6 month tenancy.
With regard to Oyston vs Leeds City Council , this was a tribunal decision in 2011 which went against Leeds City Council. Leeds City Council thought that the tribunal was wrong in law, but we didn’t appeal because we thought it was a one off rogue decision. Tribunal decisions are not binding on other tribunals and so the Oyston case did not set precedent.
Since then, the High Court has clarified the position in the QBD case MacAttram vs LBC 2012. High Court decisions are binding, and this case confirmed that tenants on periodic tenancies do not have a material interest, unless the rent is payable every 6 months or more (very rare, as rent is usually paid monthly).
Unless the MacAttram case is overturned by a Court of Appeal decision in the future, this will remain the position in English law.
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