Guarantor but left with Council Tax!

by Readers Question

3 months ago

Guarantor but left with Council Tax!

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Guarantor but left with Council Tax!

A tenant who signed a one year contract in November 17 called in January saying she was moving out the following week!

My Letting agent advised the guarantor would have to pay and for me not to worry as the contract would only change when a new tenant takes over the property.

I have now received a tax demand today from council.

Question is what should I do now?

Property is in Sunderland and I also need recommended workmen/company to get it ready to rent again.
I would also consider a lease option.

Many thanks

James



Comments

Neil Patterson

3 months ago

Hi James,

Does the guarantee stipulate paying the council tax as well if the tenant leaves?

If not it is time to let it out again as fast as possible.

I could have sworn a court ruling from last year stated a tenant that leaves before the expiry date of the tenancy is stilll liable for the council tax. Plus technically she did not even give proper notice so again should be liable. But wait for better advisers that me.

Luke P

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Tobias Nightingale at 16/02/2018 - 11:35
It does. If still inside the fixed term, the tenant is liable. Get yourself a more knowledgable agent.

Chris Jordan

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Tobias Nightingale at 16/02/2018 - 11:35
Correct, our council in the Midlands recognise the entire AST and therefore the tenant is liable, I have successfully ensured a number of tenants are pursued for the void periods, although be aware that tenants are able to claim the 1 month exception period if the property is vacated and empty.

Trevor Cooper

3 months ago

I have been in a similar situation where a tenant has moved out before the end of the tenancy /notice period and when the council have requested payment of the council tax. I have provided evidence that the tenant is responsible up to the given date. This has always been accepted (so far!). Evidence provided is usually the tenancy agreement and written communication of the notice given/received. In the case here, my action would be to write to the tenant detailing the process in this situation (she would remain responsible until a new tenancy starts etc...) I would then forward a copy of this letter to the council to re-confirm the tenant is still in contract and responsible for the council tax. I will be interested to hear what others think of this, and if there are any better ways of managing the situation

David Price

3 months ago

In the circumstances you describe I believe the tenant is responsible for the Council Tax. If your tenancy requires one month WRITTEN notice then the tenancy will continue until you can find another tenant.
For future reference make sure you tenancies default to a Contractual periodic tenancy, this will alleviate Council tax problems during the periodic term.

David Price

3 months ago

Forgot to add that you must stipulate in your AST that the tenancy ends at midnight to avoid being responsible for council tax on the last day of the tenancy.

Richard Peeters

3 months ago

That point about the last day of a tenancy causes agony every time! If you tell the council that previous tenants moved out on the 31st and new tenants took over from the 1st, the council will STILL try to charge you for the night from 31st to 1st, saying that your responsibility as landlord would be e.g. from midday to midday. They keep telling me that the system is set up to do that by default!

David Price

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Peeters at 16/02/2018 - 12:51
If your AST stipulates that the tenancy ends at Midnight then the way the council's system is set up is its problem. One of the defining cases is Sidebotham v Holland 1895 - the councils have had plenty of time to prepare. I argued with my council for ten years over this point and had all sorts of sarcastic comments such as "You see all your tenants out at midnight do you" (a total irrelevance) but eventually the bills ceased. Everything you need to argue a council tax case is in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 - section 6 in particular.
My council refused to agree my point but would not discuss the problem saying that they were right and there was nothing to discuss. It also declined to take me to court for non payment, an action which would have resolved the case. There now exists an uneasy truce, I am never billed for the last day but the council have not formally conceded the point.

Luke P

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Jordan at 16/02/2018 - 12:04
Not all LA allow an empty exemption...indeed many councils have zero exemption.

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