Three year Council Tax bill?

by Readers Question

8:00 AM, 15th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Three year Council Tax bill?

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Three year Council Tax bill?

My friend had tenants in a property for three years, but they did not pay any council tax during that time. The council said that he should have sent the Assured Tenancy Agreement to them and that they were not aware any tenants were living in the property. He ended up paying £8,000 in Council Tax!

I was very surprised by the council’s stance as I never thought the landlord was responsible for tenants bills, be it council tax or utilities.

I have a couple of properties and I do inform the council, gas, water and electricity providers, but I never get a confirmation so I am now a little concerned. Could the council do the same to me?

Many thanks

Sash



Comments

Rob Crawford

16:04 PM, 15th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 15/02/2019 - 15:41
Odd(?)....because if the council were not aware of the tenants moving in (as suggested by the council, stating that copies of the AST should have been sent to them), they would have continued to bill the previous occupier/landlord? Also, I disagree that AST's need to be sent.

Rob Crawford

16:08 PM, 15th February 2019
About 3 months ago

...all is not lost, your friend needs to send in a claim for the incorrectly charged and paid £8K. I suggest a solicitor letter (circa £200) would get things moving quicker. Check out the reference provided by David Price in his earlier comment..

AvenuesLandlord

16:10 PM, 15th February 2019
About 3 months ago

I find it hard to believe the Council waited for 3 years before chasing.
Where I am, they send the invoice. If 1st payment not received, a reminder will be sent. If this is not actioned, then either another reminder or a demand of full amount is made.
They usually send something every month in an escalating matter either to the owner occupier at the concerned address or to the landlord at his home address.
Has your friend registered the house with a council as BTL and gave them his landlord home address?
The only way this might arise if your friend lived in the house before letting it. Then friend moved to a different council area. Then the council was sending letters and reminders to the original address which got ignored by tenants. Council believed your friend to be responsible because their name is on the dead without a different address. Mind you, it would have got to the County Court by then.
So what did happen?

Michael Barnes

23:32 PM, 15th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 15/02/2019 - 16:04
It is not possible to copy an AST or send an AST as ASTs are intangible.

Rob Crawford

0:02 AM, 16th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 15/02/2019 - 23:32
They would be asking for the tenancy agreement -'normally written on paper!

Ian Simpson

7:47 AM, 16th February 2019
About 3 months ago

I have had loads of these where the tenant simply doesnt pay the council tax. I get a bill after they have left, and I just send a copy of the AST (we keep them all as PDFs ) with dates in and dates out. The council usually accepts this as evidence of non-liability to the landlord. Where I have them I have given forwarding addresses too, upon request from the council, which may be in breach of GDPR ..? Anyway, always willing to work with rather than against my local authorities, because if you help them, they are more likely to help you in future. Also most tenants who do this usually leave owing rent too, and also make a huge mess... We all know the type....

Larry Sweeney

10:11 AM, 16th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to Ian Simpson. Releasing information to councils re forwarding addresses is not a GDPR breach as its exempt. Councils collecting taxes.
The problem generally is that councils are reluctant to impose liability retrospectively as they know its easier to bill the LL than the tenant
I would always advise landlords to update them on occupancy details.
If the author in this case can prove that the property was indeed occupied, utility bills etc plus if the council or NHS wrote to the tenants, then the landlord should begin a claim to recover the monies. As David points out liability is determined in accordance with the 1992 CT regs.

Sash D

12:51 PM, 16th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Appreciate all the replies, I am not sure there is a AST in place and the council must have assumed there were no tenants and made the landlord responsible for the council tax. The council would have sent letters and then finally started court proceeding but my friend was unaware what was happening as the old tenants did not pass on the post. My friend is paying £500 a month to the council as they were threatening bailiffs but I have told him not to pay them

pbez64 pbez64

14:08 PM, 16th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Situation will depend on who was liable up to point landlord let tenants into his property. Did he tell LA at the time? At end of day if they disagree with decision write to council saying they are making an Appeal under S.16 of LGFA 1992 as they dispute being held liable. Then provide details on the tenants etc. An area i deal with almost daily.

Robert Mellors

19:44 PM, 16th February 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Sash D at 16/02/2019 - 12:51Lots of useful advice on here for your friend, it may be a good idea for them to become a Property118 member/subscriber so that they can add the details themselves and receive the answers directly, as I suspect there may be some details of this case that are not included, e.g. all the unanswered questions as to what actions the Council, and the landlord, had taken during the 3 year period. Knowing these details may enable the advice to be more specific (and therefore accurate) to this particular scenario.

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