End of Tenancy Council Tax Question

End of Tenancy Council Tax Question

16:17 PM, 23rd August 2012, About 10 years ago 36

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Has anyone come across this end of tenancy Council Tax situation as I have for a property tenancy which recently ended?

The tenants left on the end day of a 6 month assured shorthold tenancy. They were responsible for Council Tax and received the demands and paid the Council direct and contacted the Council to end their liability as they obviously should. As Agent for the Landlord I then received a Council Tax demand in the Landlords name.

End of Tenancy Council Tax Demand

This demand started 31st July the day the tenancy ended – due to circumstances the key was actually returned by the tenant to my home address at 11.50pm on 31st July. I contacted the Council to state that 31st July was the end of the tenancy and the Tenants responsibility but they have advised that Section 2(1) and 2(2) give the Landlord the responsibility.

Looking this up I see that Section 2(1) says that Council Tax is determined on a daily basis and Section 2(2) says that it is assumed that any state of affairs subsisting at the end of the day has subsisted throughout the day – I assume that it is the latter point they are applying to say the Landlord is responsible for 31st July.

My interpretation is that the tenancy agreement gives the tenants the responsibility for paying Council Tax for the whole period – i.e. from 1st February to 31st July inclusive or does the LGFA1992 take preference. The difference in actual monetary sums is little but I wondered relevant the principal of the matter.

Any comments/feedback would be appreciated.

David – Northolt GB



Comments

14:44 PM, 26th August 2012, About 10 years ago

I had the same situation as you.
I contacted the council and they changed my liability to the following day to a zero rating as flat is unfurnished and vacant.

Tony Atkins

17:49 PM, 26th August 2012, About 10 years ago

Not any more! My council has abolished the 6 month dispensation: the landlord has to pay whenever the property is empty, irrespective of furniture, renovation works etc. They take the attitude that the property is an "empty home" and the landlord or someone selling their house needs to be punished for this.

Pete Smith

9:18 AM, 27th August 2012, About 10 years ago

Our local council - Cotswold is removing the 6 month dispensation from next April. I suspect a lot if not all councils will follow suit. All councils have to raise revenue and this is an easy target.
The next challenge will be getting tenants to co-operate with viewings during the notice period, not only in terms of access but also presentation of the property.

10:19 AM, 27th August 2012, About 10 years ago

I had a similar problem with my Council altho not quite the same as yours but it proves that my perseverance paid off. We still have 6 months empty property dispensation in my area. My agent told the Council in writing the date that the tenants vacated and that the property was empty. The tenants had returned the keys on this day. However unknown to us the tenants had told the Council that they had vacated the property 2 weeks previous. We completely re furbished the property and with one thing and another the house was not relet until exactly 6 months later. However we got a Council tax demand for 2 weeks tax (ie they were saying the 6 months dispensation started when they were informed by the tenants). As I said we had no reason to think that the tenants had left 2 weeks before they returned the keys but with hindsight I think they were using the time to move furniture to their new rental. Much correspondence ensued between me and the Council but to no avail. I refused to pay the tax and was summoned so I felt I had no alternative but to pay up as I've never been in court for anything! So I formally appealed to the Valuation Tribunal and won my case so the Council had to reimburse me the two weeks tax. My evidence included
the tenancy agreement which stated that the tenant was responsible for CT whilst living in the property.
I argued that the keys were returned on the day the tenancy ended so I had no legal right to possession of the property until then.
If the tenants chose to inform the Council of an earlier leaving date then that was their choice and i should not have to pay the tax whilst to all intents and purposes they were still living in my house.
The Tribunal found in my favour. My Council does tend to use bullying tactics so I was delighted that I had stood my ground and won!!

10:19 AM, 27th August 2012, About 10 years ago

I had a similar problem with my Council altho not quite the same as yours but it proves that my perseverance paid off. We still have 6 months empty property dispensation in my area. My agent told the Council in writing the date that the tenants vacated and that the property was empty. The tenants had returned the keys on this day. However unknown to us the tenants had told the Council that they had vacated the property 2 weeks previous. We completely re furbished the property and with one thing and another the house was not relet until exactly 6 months later. However we got a Council tax demand for 2 weeks tax (ie they were saying the 6 months dispensation started when they were informed by the tenants). As I said we had no reason to think that the tenants had left 2 weeks before they returned the keys but with hindsight I think they were using the time to move furniture to their new rental. Much correspondence ensued between me and the Council but to no avail. I refused to pay the tax and was summoned so I felt I had no alternative but to pay up as I've never been in court for anything! So I formally appealed to the Valuation Tribunal and won my case so the Council had to reimburse me the two weeks tax. My evidence included
the tenancy agreement which stated that the tenant was responsible for CT whilst living in the property.
I argued that the keys were returned on the day the tenancy ended so I had no legal right to possession of the property until then.
If the tenants chose to inform the Council of an earlier leaving date then that was their choice and i should not have to pay the tax whilst to all intents and purposes they were still living in my house.
The Tribunal found in my favour. My Council does tend to use bullying tactics so I was delighted that I had stood my ground and won!!

Zaher Waljee

13:30 PM, 27th August 2012, About 10 years ago

My tenancy agreement states that the tenant is responsible for C T from the day of commencement to the day of the termination inclusive of both days. This would probably take care of the problem and our local authorith accepts this. Does any one agree with me?

6:49 AM, 30th August 2012, About 10 years ago

Southwark Council also do this. Whereas previously, in your example, the tenant would have paid up to and including the 31st July with the landlord to commence payment on 1st August, now we have to start to pay on 31st July too!

Mike W

14:53 PM, 21st September 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by " " at "25/08/2012 - 21:46":

Alan is completely correct.

The lease ends at the end of the day - midnight. It makes no difference when the tenant leaves. He could leave a month early but his responsibility runs until the lease expires. If a new lease starts the next day then it starts at 00:01 on that day irrespective of when the tenant moves in. The tenant could move in a month later but the responsibility lies with the tenant from the start of the lease.

The problem arises because the idiots in the CT office think about house sales. You buy a house on 1 July and many sellers do not move out until 1 July to take advantage of the fact that money transactions do not take place at 00:01 on 1 July. So the CT officials think ownership transfers the day before the lease ends.

Next example tenant lease ends on 30 June and tenant has negotiated a new lease on same property from 1 July. Is tenant going to move out from 23:59 to 00:01?

Think logically.

Anytime this happens to me I say take me to court. I know I am right and I will sue you for all damages costs etc.

Anyone who has paid up should get their money back with interest and costs.

Jay James

15:37 PM, 21st September 2013, About 9 years ago

It seems absolutely clear to me, based on the statement of law at the header of this thread:
Whatever state of affairs exists at the end of the day is presumed to have existed throughout the day.

So, if the tenancy still exists at the end of the day, then it is legally presumed to have existed throughout the day.
Also, if physical possession (ie return the keys) was given up during the day, then physical possession is presumed to be in the hands of the landlord throughout the day.
--
Now the bit that is not clear to me.
Is it physical possession that determines who is liable for CT?
If yes, the LL is legally responsible for the last day.

Is it legal responsibility for paying rent that determines CT liability?
If yes, then the outgoing tenant is legally responsible for Ct on the last day.
--
Can you all let me what you think of this post?

Mike W

17:29 PM, 21st September 2013, About 9 years ago

Jay*2
As I said in my post when the tenant leaves is immaterial. The lease determines who has use of the property. If the lease says (or is deemed to say) to 30 June it is to the end of 30 June. Does the lease say when in time it ends on 30 June?
The tenant could give up the keys earlier but that does not terminate the lease.

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