They want me to photograph tenant?

They want me to photograph tenant?

by Readers Question

Guest Author

8:41 AM, 6th April 2022, About 2 years ago 8

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Hi all, My brother took on an HMO and after various issues with the council which I sorted out we are left with one issue, which is on the go.

One flat contains a 35yr old single man with serious mental health issues. They kept sending Council tax demands to my brother to pay despite being told the flat was tenanted etc. They asked for a copy tenancy, he sent it. They asked for it again as they said they had not had it. He sent it again. They then told him the signature was different to the first tenancy he sent (as they said they had not received the first tenancy this beggars belief).

They they wanted details about the tenant which were personal and they were advised he was on full benefit, including high rate PIP care, had mental health issues and his mother dealt with a lot of his stuff and we had no access to the info they wanted.

They were also reminded that their housing benefit dept have access to the DWP systems so that would tell them that the man had been living at the address and getting HB via UC since Sept 2020.

They then wrote and said they wanted various info from the mother and wanted my brother to speak to her. I told them it was up to them to contact her as they had been given her contact details.

They then said they wanted a photograph of the tenant.

Told them completely inappropriate and it was not down to landlords to photograph their tenants for council tax depts.

The tenant has been in situ since sept 2020 and this has still not been sorted and my brother has received this year’s council tax demand !!!

They were also reminded they employ council tax visiting officers and they should send them out to the property to speak to the tenant to satisfy themselves. I am now using their complaint procedure before going to the obmudsman about their inappropriate actions.

Has anyone ever come across this?


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Reluctant Landlord

9:22 AM, 6th April 2022, About 2 years ago

it all depends what this tenants contract says. If it is down to him to pay the CT then the council can't charge you end of. If you have given them all the info they need to prove this then its black and white as far as I can see.

Get a full timeline details of everything that has happened to date/been said/been written and by whom and add this to an official and formal complaint to the council and demand that the CT head of Department needs to contact you to resolve this one and for all. Detail the request for you to photograph him etc. They then have a certain period of time to resolve this. If they don't - straight to Ombusdman.


9:39 AM, 6th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Contact his local Councillor. They are on the 'inside' of the Council and have direct access to the senior people in the appropriate department.
In my experience they are generally very helpful.


10:18 AM, 6th April 2022, About 2 years ago

You are dealing with one of the many failing councils across the country. Don’t expect anything but nonsense from your complaint. After your complaint has not been upheld ash then to confirm in an email you have exhausted their complaints procedure. Then you can involve the ombudsman. When the ombudsman writes to then only then will you get some sense from them. The ombudsman looks for maladministration nit that’s they’ve made good decisions etc. good luck

Mick Roberts

12:08 PM, 6th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by MICHAEL REGAN at 06/04/2022 - 10:18
Ha ha love it:

After your complaint has not been upheld

Yes, the Councils NEVER admit they've done wrong do they. Same as UC DWP.
I say Let's just imagine if that customer, that Landlord was just right. Let's listen to him for a moment in case he is telling the truth & telling what has happened/is happening/will happen.

Paul Power

19:32 PM, 6th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Joined purely because I saw this post a massive battle with the council over council tax and a 19k demand.
Lots of good advice above but I would suggest the following.
First as you have tenants data you are a controller under gdpr so what the council is doing if not just dubious could be illegal. Gather and copy all of the demands for the tenants data and send to the data commissioners office ensuring you cc the council asking for advice if the council is attempting to create a breach under the rules. Separately contact the councils data protection officer and state that you have reported them.
Second get the local MP involved they have a hotline and the council are bound to respond to a ministerial question within a set timescale. I have clear advice from people in councils that it makes life uncomfortable as it goes to the top and no one wants to carry the can.
Finally if you have some free legal help etc get advice on litigation and the relevant law. I am sure the distress would be actionable possibly for you and the tenant, plus when you start referring to case law and acts in letters it shows that you know you are on firm ground and well researched.
Also if the tenant has a support group especially a large one, with the tenants permission get them involved, they can be incredibly partisan (I used a MS group)

Hopefully I haven't got the wrong end of the stick and what's above is useful.

I wish you well in your challenge it can be a hell of a grind where effectively you get called a liar in every response

Reluctant Landlord

9:41 AM, 7th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Power at 06/04/2022 - 19:32
brings up an interesting point. Is a LL legally obligated to give a copy of the TA to the Council/VOA/any other body if they request it, or should a LL state they either
1.need to contact the tenant directly for them to give this information themselves?
2 or say they will ask the tenant to contact the Council/VOA directly about the request?


18:57 PM, 7th April 2022, About 2 years ago

Just check it doesn't come under the Council Tax HMO definition in the Local Gov't Finance Act 1992, which is different to the Housing Act definition

pbez64 pbez64

11:35 AM, 9th April 2022, About 2 years ago

If property a himo then owner is liable to pay c tax and council tax department not interested in who is living there. If this flat is a separate entry in valuation list then the tenant should be liable. If you have supplied tenancy details and council won't change liability into tenants name then dont complain as this is the incorrect channel but appeal (S16 LGFA 1992). Put it in writing. They have 2 months to decide or else you go straight to valuation tribunal service. If council won't alter records you go to vts anyway. From sounds of what you have supplied they should be holding the tenant liable if his flat attracts a separate council tax charge to the him.

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