Fighting unfair Council tax on empty properties?

Fighting unfair Council tax on empty properties?

10:10 AM, 31st January 2017, About 6 years ago 28

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I have paid hundreds of pounds in council tax in the last 12 months on empty properties. Mainly between tenants, when the properties have needed extensive work. council tax

My requests for exemptions more than 1 – 3 months have fallen on deaf ears and most recently I had a tenant who asked if he could sign a tenancy surrender after 4 weeks, due to ill health.

I allowed this, but then it took me a further 3 months to find a new tenant. I asked the council if I could have an exemption, but they said no, due to the fact that the tenant had not lived there for a minimum of 6 weeks, so I now have to pay for 3 months council tax on top of lost rent.

I find it incredible that people living alone get a 25% discount for their council tax (because they do not use the services to the same extent as a larger family) but landlords’ empty properties, that do not qualify for exemptions, are charged 100%.

How are the councils justifying this? I have failed to receive a satisfactory answer from them. I email the council about this most recent charge and enquired where it tells landlords on their website about the 6 weeks minimum for a tenants to be living there before a landlord can claim an exemption, as this would be needed for clarity and transparency. I was told that the following:

The information is not detailed on the Council Website but please see below the Council tax ( Exempt Dwellings) (Amendment) order 1993 Regulations and I have highlighted the part regarding the six week rule.

I would welcome any feedback on this and wonder if we can fight these unfair charges. I feel at the very least we should be able to get a 25 – 50% discount if people actually living in properties and using all the councils services are getting a discount.



0:16 AM, 6th February 2017, About 6 years ago

That's true if a tenant is liable but simply stating it in a contract isn't sufficient- the council will only pursue a tenant who is liable as per council tax legislation.

Any other attempt at making a tenant liable for council tax is purely an agreement between landlord and tenant, and that's where the difficulty in getting the money from the tenant occurs.


Darlington Landlord

0:26 AM, 6th February 2017, About 6 years ago

So how would you make the the tenant liable as per council tax legislation?

7:31 AM, 6th February 2017, About 6 years ago

They have to be resident and hold the tenancy or else be non-resident and regarded as the 'owner' for council tax purposes - all as covered under s6 of the local government finance act 1992.

Anything which tries to alter liability outside of that determined by legislation would be a personal agreement between landlord and tenant only.


Michael Barnes

22:20 PM, 7th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Darlington Landlord" at "06/02/2017 - 00:26":

Fixed term at least 6 months, then contractual periodic tenancy.

Tenant then has interest of at least 6 months at all times and is liable for council tax until the tenancy is properly ended.

Russell Ewins

2:17 AM, 11th February 2017, About 6 years ago

I've been researching other things this evening and came across this thread. Craig (Council Tax Guy) has an obvious perspective.

The fact of the matter is that when discounts were given, the amount of properties that were empty could be calculated and used as a physical number to embarrass the Government with regards to homelessness and lack of housing supply. has a link to Govt figures.

There were people carrying out Freedom of Information requests for the data (me) and to cover the scandal, they removed the discount.

As a professional landlord, I would ask the LA what their collection rate is from non-payers, before agreeing to subsidise them by paying for an empty property. Just because you "have to" doesn't mean you "have to". If it was Law, it would be nationwide. It isn't and is therefore open to interpretation.

I'll save my opinion to counter Craig, and we can all learn.


10:44 AM, 11th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Excellent point

12:11 PM, 11th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Russell Ewins" at "11/02/2017 - 02:17":

Sorry, can you clarify "If it was Law, it would be nationwide. It isn’t and is therefore open to interpretation. " ?


SickOfBeing LiedTo

15:05 PM, 12th February 2017, About 6 years ago

This is to Council Tax Guy from last week, have been too busy to answer until now.

To answer your question on section2(b) watch this video & fast fwd to 13:20 to around 16:00 of time

there is a part where they go on about rateable value & talk about section2(b). the video is over 1 hour long!

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