Unpaid council tax by a Non student – I had to pay £330

by Readers Question

15:52 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Unpaid council tax by a Non student – I had to pay £330

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Unpaid council tax by a Non student – I had to pay £330

I have a student let and signed what I thought was four students up for this academic year. The council asked me for not only their tenancy agreements (as only asked for in previous years) but student ID numbers as found on a the student certificate issued to all students by their uni. It comes to light that one is not a student but a waitress. council tax

She has thus incurred council tax and refuses to pay it. To keep the council from taking me to court I have recently paid £330.00. The tenant refuses to reimburse me but has agreed to move out to stop any further liability. I have explained to her that had I known she was not a student I would have issued a different contract and a higher rent to reflect the council tax liability.

It is a student house thus exempt from council tax. She does not enjoy student status. I am legally liable for this because I rent the house out per room and not as a whole. Would it be worth taking her to the small claims court for this amount?

Do I have a case?

She surely fraudulently signed a contract?

Carolyn



Comments

Neil Patterson

15:54 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Is there a deposit? But I am not sure if you to deduct for this or not.

Monty Bodkin

18:19 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

What does your tenancy agreement say?

If the tenant is liable, appeal to the council, then to the valuation tribunal;

http://www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk/Council_Tax/Appeals_against_Tax_Liability.aspx

Rob Spencer

18:25 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

If you think the tenant has broken the tenancy agreement then making a claim against a deposit is the obvious route to take. Much depends on what evidence you have apart from hearsay to back up your assertion that this tenant claimed to be a full time college or University student. if you have some written objective evidence then certainly deposit aside, there is no reason you could not go down the route of the small claims court which can be done on line with relatively little cost but you might want to do this quickly while you have an address for her. Either of these two routes might be easier than the Valuation Tribunal because you claim to have already paid the Council Tax to avoid difficulty.

Monty Bodkin

18:58 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Spencer" at "18/02/2016 - 18:25":

Rob,

It is normal (and usually advisable) to pay the council tax first, then appeal later.

It is easy to do and free.

Councils go for the easy landlord target but back off if you appeal (assuming the tenant is liable).

Claiming off the deposit (again, assuming the tenant is liable) would be the easiest practical option, as you suggest- although I object to doing the councils dirty work for them!

Romain Garcin

19:46 PM, 18th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Who's liable to the council is a matter of law, not tenancy agreements.

As Carolyn stated that the tenants have individual tenancies, she, as landlord, is liable for the council tax for the property.

Whether re-imbursement can be sought from the tenant depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement.

If the agreement is silent, going after the tenant on the basis that she misrepresented her situation _might_ be possible but perhaps not economical for £330.

Mike W

13:21 PM, 19th February 2016
About 3 years ago

This is why you need a clear tenancy agreement which says what happens if ...

And you need to check that they are who they say they are. Did you check with the university? Did you get id?

Charles King - Barrister-At-Law

14:09 PM, 19th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Sorry Carolyn, but it is a depressing fact that if one member of a 'student house' is not a student the whole household loses the exemption from Council Tax. You will lose if you appeal the CT determination. Don't let students share with non-students unless they all realise that they will all be liable for CT if they do so. Whether or not you are able to recover the money in a small claim will be up to what it says in the tenancy agreement, but subject to that I wouldn't fancy your chances in the small claims court. Good luck


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