Who is responsible for the Council tax and what dates?

by Readers Question

11:01 AM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Who is responsible for the Council tax and what dates?

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Who is responsible for the Council tax and what dates?

I would really appreciate some advice please for the following situation:

  • Tenant paid rent up to 23/04/2013. Property inspected & everything ok deposit refunded via DPS.
  • Informed council in writing on 24/04/2013 that property was unoccupied/unfurnished &would let them know when it was tenanted again.
  • I did a refurb and got tenants who had to give months notice so they moved in on 21/06/2013. The Council were given the details etc.
  • I received a statement in Aug 2013 requesting full council tax from 08/04/2013 and queried both amount and dates stated.
  • Received amended statement and I was informed that the previous occupants had told the council they where leaving on 08/04/2013.

Question 1 — who is responsible for the time between 08/04 & 23/04? any case law to assist landlord.

Question 2— what can the landlord do if the tenant tells the council 2/3 months before the actually do leave that the property has been vacated. Its in the agreement that the tenant is responsible etc

Many thanks

DavidCouncil tax



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:11 AM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi David,

Do you know when the tenant actually physically moved out and could they have been living at a new property by the 8/04/2014.

Councils normally go by the actual physical move dates given by the tenants as they are not party to the AST, but I know readers have had experience of this and hopefully they can help 🙂

Paul Goulder

11:34 AM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

You should claim. Empty property relief It's for three month

Malcolm Hill

11:42 AM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

In our area of Hertfordshire the council will give one free month only for council tax relief and will do spot inspections during the period.So here you would have to pay for the period from the 23rd of April which the tenant moved out from( you would get the period to the 23rd of May free ) and then pay from then to the 21st of June.
If you didn't notify the council about the vacant period soon after it began you might find it difficult to get the free month as they couldn't carry out their random
inspections.
good luck

Paul Bithell

12:14 PM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "07/07/2014 - 11:11":

In accordance with your AST, once the property has been vacated and the tenancy agreement brought to a close you should notify the council of the date on which the property became vacant who should then apply your 3 month exemption period.

In the case of tenants absconding whilst still within the fixed period of their AST you should provide the council with proof of the initial Agreement and request transfer of council tax liability to the tenants new address.

It is up to the tenant if they want to pay double!

Roy B

12:15 PM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

If no empty property relief is available, I would hold the tenant liable till the end of the tenancy. If empty property relief is available discuss with the council but I expect they would also want till the end of the tenancy.

Romain Garcin

12:28 PM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi David,

If the tenancy agreement states that the tenant is liable for the council tax for the duration of the tenancy then you can indeed go after the ex-tenant to recover whatever you had to pay to the council.

On the other hand, if the tenancy was a fixed term term tenancy for a term of at least 6 months then the tenant remained liable to the council even if they were no longer resident.

Robert Mellors

12:39 PM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Council Tax schemes are now different in different local authorities, so while some give empty property relief, others do not.

When I get this situation I point out to the Council (by e-mail so they cannot deny receipt) that the tenant was still the legal occupant as they still had a legal right to go in and out of the property, they still had possessions there (as far as you know), and they still had the keys. Where they chose to sleep for the last few weeks of the tenancy is irrelevant, as they could have been visiting family or friends, or on holiday, etc. Also, within the Protection from Eviction Act, they were still occupying the property, so the law says they were occupants. If they had the tenancy of a different property as from the 8th, then that would have been classed as their second home, either way, they were still legally occupying and were thus responsible for the Council Tax.

So far, no Council has disagreed with these very logical arguments.

Rob

14:46 PM, 7th July 2014
About 4 years ago

I've had this before, I had to send the council a copy of the ast. They will go by those dates. Also I sent a bank statement showing when they last paid rent, I would say they are liable for the CT up until when they have paid rent to ie.23/04/13

Michael Barnes

8:53 AM, 8th July 2014
About 4 years ago

This issue was covered in another thread in April 2014 (http://www.property118.com/council-tax-periodic-tenancy/65297/).

Essentially the answer seems to be
   A. Whilst the tenant is resident, the tanant is legally responsible.
   B.if the tenant has 6 months or more security of tenure, then the tenant is responsible for council tax when he leaves until the end of the tenancy period (i.e. a fixed term of 6 months or more, or a statutory periodic tenancy with a period of 6 months or more).
   C. Otherwise the landlord is legally responsible for paying the council tax, but should be able to claim it from the tenant under the Tenancy Agreement (if it is worded appropriately).

There is a suggestion in that thread by Industry Observer that if the tenancy is a Contractual Periodic tenancy, then the tenant is legally responsible until the end of the tenancy, regardless of the period.

Romain Garcin

9:18 AM, 8th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "08/07/2014 - 08:53":

Yes, see my previous post 😉

However, whether the tenancy is a contractual periodic AST or a statutory periodic AST makes no difference as the legal test is whether the tenancy is for a term of at least 6 months.

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