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  • FIRST POST
    • JenP85
    • By JenP85 7th Dec 17, 4:19 PM
    • 19Posts
    • 1Thanks
    JenP85
    Can anybody help me understand this E-mail from the council?
    • #1
    • 7th Dec 17, 4:19 PM
    Can anybody help me understand this E-mail from the council? 7th Dec 17 at 4:19 PM
    Hello everyone.
    I hope this is the correct area to post this, if it's not i'm sorry in advance for my poor grammar/spelling. I had a stroke a few years ago and my mobility has suffered (Mainly my typing) and reading ability. I hope this post makes sense.

    I am currently helping a friend, who has a long term mental illness, deal with debt and recently helped become bankrupt.
    She was evicted from her council house a year and a half ago and moved in with her mother temporarily and was sleeping on an air bed.
    However, as her condition had become worse she has been, for a lack of a better phrase, Sofa surfing with family and friends since about February this year.

    In October I had a spare room become available at my house (which I own) and asked her to move in until all of this had become sorted and we could start trying to find her permanent accommodation in the new year and help her get a fresh start and hopefully get her back to full health.
    She is claiming ESA and has been for around a year and a half now. When she moved from her mothers address she called the DWP who said as she didn't have a fixed address to keep it registered at her mothers house for now until she found permanent accommodation.

    When she became bankrupt all of her debt was written off apart from a Liability order (Being carried out by Equita LTD and their enforcement Agents) for council tax arrears. We were told by the O.R that this MAY stand but this will normally be recalled by the council and wiped out. She got an E-mail today from Birmingham city council which says..

    (Some parts have been removed for security reasons)

    "Further to your email dated 21/11/2017

    As you were made bankrupt on 22/11/2017 Council Tax account number (Removed) has been recalled from Equita Ltd and will be written off. Similarly account number (Removed) for (Her old address)
    Your former joint account with Mr (Her husband who she is now separated), number (), does not get written of but only Mr Wisbey will be required to pay this.

    As regards your current liability, you remain the liable person at (Her mothers address) until you provide the date on which you moved out and proof of where you moved to. Where are you claiming ESA at?

    If you have moved out then your mother now becomes the liable person so please supply her full name.

    I trust this clarifies the situation, if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website; www.birmingham.gov.uk/counciltax

    Yours sincerely

    (Name withheld)
    Revenues Officer"

    By the sounds of it the Liability Orders have been thankfully recalled and wiped out. However, i am struggling to understand the last part of the E-mail.
    Now, here are my questions...
    1: "As regards your current liability " Does this part mean there is another Liability order or talking about her current council tax that she is liable for? I feel it's the latter but I just wanted to confirm this for her peace of mind.

    2: As she is claiming ESA, surely this is paid for and is not liable?

    3: She has no proof that she no longer lives at her mothers address. As stated above she has been sofa surfing or being taken care of by friends/family at multiple addresses. Everything has stayed registered at her mothers house (ESA etc) because she has not stayed at any address longer than 2-3 weeks at a time. In the E-mail they ask "Where you claiming ESA at." and where she is currently moved to. As stated above she had her mothers address down for her ESA as suggested by the DWP adviser as she had no fixed address. If she states that her ESA is still at her mothers house but has no fixed address will this cause problems?
    5: If she says she is currently staying at my address will this affect my council tax?
    6: Is it me or is that E-mail worded weirdly? Lol, while I cant complain about others typing I did find it odd that an E-mail from a Revenue Officer had spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in. Maybe it's just me?
    Once again I hope i've made some sense and would appreciate ANY help anybody can give - Jen.
Page 1
    • CIS
    • By CIS 7th Dec 17, 6:50 PM
    • 10,120 Posts
    • 5,793 Thanks
    CIS
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:50 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 6:50 PM
    1: "As regards your current liability " Does this part mean there is another Liability order or talking about her current council tax that she is liable for? I feel it's the latter but I just wanted to confirm this for her peace of mind.
    Liability in this context means the charge she's currently responsible for.

    2: As she is claiming ESA, surely this is paid for and is not liable?
    Don't get liability and having something to pay confused - liability is effectively the 'name on the bill'. The charge may or may not be covered for her.

    3: She has no proof that she no longer lives at her mothers address
    As she is using your address as her 'sole or main residence' then she should be recorded as living there for council tax purposes.

    5: If she says she is currently staying at my address will this affect my council tax?
    See above

    6: Is it me or is that E-mail worded weirdly?
    In 'Council Tax' it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately there's only so much you can do to make it readable and still cover the council tax side correctly.


    When she became bankrupt all of her debt was written off apart from a Liability order (Being carried out by Equita LTD and their enforcement Agents) for council tax arrears. We were told by the O.R that this MAY stand but this will normally be recalled by the council and wiped out. She got an E-mail today from Birmingham city council which says..
    It's nice to see the OR mention that and follow what their own insolvency manual says. The council usually cease cases like this as it becomes far too problematic to carry on enforcing it.

    As regards your current liability, you remain the liable person at (Her mothers address) until you provide the date on which you moved out and proof of where you moved to. Where are you claiming ESA at?
    Not sure why they are holding her liable at her mother's address. Even if she was living there unless she was a joint owner or tenant she couldn't be liable for the council tax charge,
    Last edited by CIS; 07-12-2017 at 6:54 PM.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • National Debtline
    • #3
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:59 AM
    • #3
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:59 AM
    Hi Jen


    1: "As regards your current liability " Does this part mean there is another Liability order or talking about her current council tax that she is liable for? I feel it's the latter but I just wanted to confirm this for her peace of mind.


    As CIS states, this will be your friend's current liability for a council tax bill, not a liability order.

    2: As she is claiming ESA, surely this is paid for and is not liable?


    ESA does not automatically mean someone does not have to pay council tax. There is a separate benefit that must be claimed from the local council to cover this. It's known as council tax reduction (CTR) or council tax support.


    Again as CIS has mentioned, it's unclear why your friend would have been held liable for council tax at her mother's address. This would only happen if there were joint owners or tenants.

    3: She has no proof that she no longer lives at her mothers address. As stated above she has been sofa surfing or being taken care of by friends/family at multiple addresses. Everything has stayed registered at her mothers house (ESA etc) because she has not stayed at any address longer than 2-3 weeks at a time. In the E-mail they ask "Where you claiming ESA at." and where she is currently moved to. As stated above she had her mothers address down for her ESA as suggested by the DWP adviser as she had no fixed address. If she states that her ESA is still at her mothers house but has no fixed address will this cause problems?


    Your friend needs to contact the council, find out why they are holding her liable at her mother's address and explain what her situation is. It sounds like she should now be considered as living at your address for council tax purposes, and to avoid any confusion it's probably best to let the DWP know she is living with you as well. It's also worth noting that a current council tax bill, even if not in arrears, should be included in bankruptcy.


    5: If she says she is currently staying at my address will this affect my council tax?


    If you claimed a single person discount before your friend moved in you would no longer be entitled to this. If you claim any benefits make sure you have declared your friend is living with you as it can affect your claim.

    6: Is it me or is that E-mail worded weirdly? Lol, while I cant complain about others typing I did find it odd that an E-mail from a Revenue Officer had spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in. Maybe it's just me?


    I would say this looks a fairly standard response from the council, but still not always the clearest of things to understand.
    Originally posted by JenP85

    I hope this helps.


    Susie
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
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