Am I responsible for Council Tax if agent can’t provide records?

by Readers Question

11:18 AM, 27th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Am I responsible for Council Tax if agent can’t provide records?

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Am I responsible for Council Tax if agent can’t provide records?

I have had a full property management contract with a property company. They have recently sold the business to another company and the local council have issued me with a bill for unpaid council tax covering a large period when I have been receiving rent from the properties.

The agent insists that they gave the details to the council, but I am not sure I believe them in the light of other things that have become apparent recently. I have informed the council as to which dates I have invoices showing payments from the letting agent and I have clear dates that I am confident were not tenanted and I will of course pay those void periods.

However, if the agent does not provide the council with the the necessary details of the tenants who were living there and the council say they haven’t got them, am I responsible for the unpaid council tax.

I have contacted the redress company that the agent was affiliated with but they say they can’t help me.

Jenny



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:19 AM, 27th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Jenny,

In your contract with the agents what does the service agreement say specifically about Council Tax and also about record keeping?

Rob Crawford

12:30 PM, 27th March 2017
About 2 years ago

My understanding is that an outgoing tenant is responsible for closing their own account and any new incoming tenant is responsible for setting up a new account, no different than if you were moving home. There has been recent court case that confirms this (you can search Property 118 for details). If you can prove to the Council when they were tenanted then you are not responsible for any debt left by the tenant. You have already accepted that you are responsible for the interim unoccupied term. You may need to get the new management agency to confirm this. As the company was sold to another, those records should still exist. I would instruct them to contact the council and confirm tenancy and to provide the council with the tenants forwarding address. I would then ring the council and advise them on what you have instructed Management Company to do. Ring both again in a weeks time to confirm.

robert fisher

13:02 PM, 27th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Jenny, i have had issues with Peterborough council over council tax, at one point i was even taken to court without my knowledge and only found out when a bailiff arrived at my home to collect the outstanding amount. Once i had shown him a tenancy agreement with the names of the people responsible he happily left empty handed. quite often it is the council tax dept that does not update their records. I now ask to be copied in on all e mails my agents send to the councils that i can check the information . If you produce a copy of the tenancy agreement and the dates the tenant left the property the council will pursue the tenants.

Jack Stiff

18:13 PM, 27th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Jenny,

I do not know if this will be helpful to you. I have just picked this up from this month’s NLA magazine, Leeds City Council v Broadley.

Part of article from Landlord Today:

Aaron Cambden reflects on the Leeds City Council v Broadley Appeal Court ruling, including his tips for landlords.

Landlords are not responsible for paying council tax on a property when a tenant moves out before the end of a tenancy agreement, according to an Appeal Court ruling passed earlier this year.

However, landlords all over the UK could still be paying for council tax on their properties that have been vacated by tenants before the end of the contract because certain local councils are still not recognising this Appeal Court ruling, some months after it was passed.

Link to above Landlord Today article: https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/12/landlords-are-you-paying-for-council-tax-unnecessarily

Regards, Jack Stiff

ECT

16:24 PM, 17th November 2018
About 4 weeks ago

HI. I am having a similar nightmare with a council in Scotland. The council are saying that neither the letting agent nor the tenant informed them when they moved into my flat. Unfortunately the council only sent me a bill a year later and the tenant was long gone. They are refusing to accept tenancy agreement or any other info unless we can supply forwarding address for the tenant which we can't do as they absconded. I am being chased and threatened for unpaid council tax for a period of 8 months. Can anyone give any advice on this please? Thank you

H B

19:13 PM, 17th November 2018
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by ECT at 17/11/2018 - 16:24
ECT - what about the agent? Did they inform the council?

Annie Landlord

11:43 AM, 18th November 2018
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by ECT at 17/11/2018 - 16:24
It is well known that councils routinely try this on. When it happened to me (tenant abandoned property) I told the council I would pay the CT from the point the abandonment became known to me, but I wouldn't pay the debt that belonged to the tenant. The council knows full well that a landlord can't supply a forwarding address for a tenant who has done a runner. They just try to get us to pay to trace the tenant rather than doing it themselves! I would call their bluff


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