Liability for Council Tax – tenant left before contract end?Make Text Bigger
Who is liable for Council Tax if the tenant leaves before the contract ends?
I’m looking for help and advice here from those in the know. I seem to remember a similar thread in the past somewhere on this forum. Any help or advice greatly appreciated.
Using a local Agent for all services, including management, a tenant moved in to one of my properties on the 6th October 2017 using a 6 month AST, although this eventually rolled over for an extra month or two. Unbeknown to me, the tenant had their own house anyway, which was rented out, and when their tenants moved out, they wanted to move out of my property, and so gave one months notice, which meant the tenancy ended on the 5th July 2018.
However, the tenant took back possession of her own house on the 1st July, and used the time until the end of the 5th July to move things out, and clean my property. The Agent came round on the 5th to inspect the property, and take back the keys, which was duly performed without problems, and the new tenant moved in the next day, the 6th, without there having been a void.
it seems that in order to try and reduce her bills, the ex tenant had told Telford & Wrekin Council, plus the utilities, that she had moved out on the 1st July. The Council have since been pursuing me for 4 days worth of Council Tax, £15.45, and despite being informed in writing, by both myself, and the Agent (including copies) of the truth, they will not accept the validity our information.
The Agent informs me that the Council’s policy is now to always accept the tenant’s word as being the truth, and today I have received a Final Reminder, stating that the matter will be taken to Court if I don’t pay! In a reply to the Agent, they say: This is because the liability for council tax is based on the hierarchy of liability as per Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. They go on to say:
If your tenant falls into the category of a statutory periodic tenancy and the tenant has already vacated, then the end date of the tenants council tax account will be the date they vacated. Based on the hierarchy of liability as per section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as Owner of a property you then become responsible for council tax whilst the property is unoccupied.
Statutory periodic tenancies can exist once the original term comes to an end but the tenancy continues. Where the tenant leaves, with or without notice, in a statutory periodic tenancy, the landlord or owner will become liable from the date that the tenant moves out. If the original tenancy was not renewed at the end of its period, for example the original tenancy was for a period of 6 months and when the 6 months expired a new agreement was not drawn up the tenancy then becomes a “statutory periodic tenancy”.
Then they let you know that they are watching your finances in case you don’t pay:
Telford & Wrekin Council Revenues Services are collecting your personal data for the purposes of collecting any Council Tax and/or Business Rates you are liable to pay and to meet our statutory requirements under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Articles 6(1)(c)&(e) and 9(2)(b) of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 or equivalent United Kingdom legislation.
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