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    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 12th Sep 17, 4:00 PM
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    Irish_lad80
    Historic Council Tax Issue
    • #1
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:00 PM
    Historic Council Tax Issue 12th Sep 17 at 4:00 PM
    Hi, friend has just got back from holidays and received some letters in the post in relation to non payment of council tax in the years 2006/7. The first set of letters were addressed to the 4 tenants in the house (but sent to my friends new address) and stated that there was nearly £1,000 of tax owed from the two periods (2006/2007). My friend hasn't been in contact with the 3 other tenants since she moved out in 2007 but has been living and been paying council tax in SE London since that time. Another set of letters were sent 10 days later stating that she had 14 days to pay up the full amount or provide her work details so it could be taken from her salary or else she would be charged more money and bailiffs would be called . This time the letters were only addressed to her. My friend is adamant that she paid her share in full at the time and to be fair she is a stickler for these things so I believe her but being 10/11 years ago she has no evidence of the payments (who keeps receipts that long). Given she no longer has contact details for those in the house, (lost the phone with their numbers) can she still be held liable for their share? Will the council still look for the other people or now they have one person will they just say tough luck and squeeze her for the total amount?
    Thanks in advance and any advice much appreciated.
    This is my first post so hope I haven't made any errors.
Page 1
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 12th Sep 17, 4:06 PM
    • 10,835 Posts
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    pmlindyloo
    • #2
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:06 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:06 PM
    Could you please tell us what kind of tenancy agreement your friend had. Was it a joint tenancy or individual tenancies? Was the house classed as an HMO (House of Multiple Occupation)?

    Who did she pay her council tax to? Landlord? Council?

    Was the landlord living in the house?

    And finally, which country are we talking about/ England, Wales, Scotland?
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 12th Sep 17, 4:09 PM
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    saajan_12
    • #3
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:09 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:09 PM
    So friend was a tenant? Did she & housemates rent the whole house under one joint&several agreement or rent individual rooms?

    Who did she pay her 'share' of council tax to.. direct to the council / to a co tenant / to landlord?

    How did she pay.. cash? bank transfer? online?
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Sep 17, 4:11 PM
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    Guest101
    • #4
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:11 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:11 PM
    Hi, friend has just got back from holidays and received some letters in the post in relation to non payment of council tax in the years 2006/7. The first set of letters were addressed to the 4 tenants in the house (but sent to my friends new address) and stated that there was nearly £1,000 of tax owed from the two periods (2006/2007). My friend hasn't been in contact with the 3 other tenants since she moved out in 2007 but has been living and been paying council tax in SE London since that time. Another set of letters were sent 10 days later stating that she had 14 days to pay up the full amount or provide her work details so it could be taken from her salary or else she would be charged more money and bailiffs would be called . This time the letters were only addressed to her. My friend is adamant that she paid her share in full at the time - her share? she owes 100% of it, just like they all do. and to be fair she is a stickler for these things so I believe her but being 10/11 years ago she has no evidence of the payments (who keeps receipts that long). - The council ? Given she no longer has contact details for those in the house, (lost the phone with their numbers) can she still be held liable for their share? - there are no shares, so yes Will the council still look for the other people or now they have one person will they just say tough luck and squeeze her for the total amount? - yes she owes the full amount. If she can track down the other people, she may be able to get it from them (but unlikely)
    Thanks in advance and any advice much appreciated.
    This is my first post so hope I haven't made any errors.
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80


    My only other concern is that there is no way a council would let this go on for 10 years without going to court.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Sep 17, 4:28 PM
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    CIS
    • #5
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:28 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Sep 17, 4:28 PM
    Hi, friend has just got back from holidays and received some letters in the post in relation to non payment of council tax in the years 2006/7. The first set of letters were addressed to the 4 tenants in the house (but sent to my friends new address) and stated that there was nearly £1,000 of tax owed from the two periods (2006/2007). My friend hasn't been in contact with the 3 other tenants since she moved out in 2007 but has been living and been paying council tax in SE London since that time. Another set of letters were sent 10 days later stating that she had 14 days to pay up the full amount or provide her work details so it could be taken from her salary or else she would be charged more money and bailiffs would be called . This time the letters were only addressed to her. My friend is adamant that she paid her share in full at the time and to be fair she is a stickler for these things so I believe her but being 10/11 years ago she has no evidence of the payments (who keeps receipts that long). Given she no longer has contact details for those in the house, (lost the phone with their numbers) can she still be held liable for their share? Will the council still look for the other people or now they have one person will they just say tough luck and squeeze her for the total amount?
    Thanks in advance and any advice much appreciated.
    This is my first post so hope I haven't made any errors.
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    It's almost certainly already been to court for the granting of a liability order. The 14 day notice they were sent is more than likely a request for information form under regulation 36 of the council tax (administration & enforcement) regulations 1992 - this can only be sent after the liability order has been granted and the council could, if they had wanted, taken further action in respect of the form not being returned.

    I'm seeing historical issues more and more amongst my clients - the local authorities are trying harder than ever to chase down historic debts.

    As pointed out above, one of the key aspects is what the type of agreement it was - was it a joint tenancy or was it on a room only basis etc ? Council Tax legislation differs in how each situation is treat and what the best response is.

    Providing it was a joint tenancy then each individual is equally responsible for ensuring full payment - there is no apportionment of Council Tax liability and any of the liable parties can be pursued individually for any amount up to and including full payment.

    Craig
    Last edited by CIS; 12-09-2017 at 4:31 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.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 12th Sep 17, 5:03 PM
    • 27 Posts
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    Irish_lad80
    • #6
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:03 PM
    X
    • #6
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:03 PM
    Believes in was a joint tenancy but not certain on that, being so long ago she can't recall. Tax would have been paid in the post office or to another tenant she believes. Bank account doesn't show details going back that fair online. Not to the landlord. Landlord did not live there at any stage. She thinks it was classed as a HMO. The house is in Greenwich Borough London. Friend was early twenties at the time.
    Liability order was granted but this is the thing I find strange, it was granted in the June of 2006 but the tenancy only started in the April 2006. On the first letter received is says it was granted in June for the total up to Apr 2007 (1,200 split between Greater London and Greenwich fees, 950 odd having been paid during the year). The second order was granted in June 2007 again for the year starting Apr 2007 but they all moved out in July of that year. Statement seems to suggest that no tax for that year was paid again, friend insists that she paid her share in full. Do we have the right to request a full statement of all payments and charges etc?
    As far as friend is aware no letters were sent during the time about tax owing. Also she is concerned that the second letter is only addressed to her, like they have given up on trying to contact/find the other tenants listed on the first letter where they were named as liable parties.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 12th Sep 17, 5:06 PM
    • 27 Posts
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    Irish_lad80
    • #7
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:06 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:06 PM
    So seems like she was unlucky to have been the first person they contacted and therefore she now has to foot the bill for the total amount owing even though she believes she was possibly the only one who did pay in full at the time. She was never overly friendly with them and has no contact details so very little chance of finding them
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Sep 17, 5:07 PM
    • 15,128 Posts
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    Guest101
    • #8
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:07 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:07 PM
    Believes in was a joint tenancy but not certain on that, being so long ago she can't recall. Tax would have been paid in the post office or to another tenant she believes. Bank account doesn't show details going back that fair online. Not to the landlord. Landlord did not live there at any stage. She thinks it was classed as a HMO. The house is in Greenwich Borough London. Friend was early twenties at the time.
    Liability order was granted but this is the thing I find strange, it was granted in the June of 2006 but the tenancy only started in the April 2006. - why is that strange? On the first letter received is says it was granted in June for the total up to Apr 2007 (1,200 split between Greater London and Greenwich fees, 950 odd having been paid during the year). The second order was granted in June 2007 again for the year starting Apr 2007 but they all moved out in July of that year. Statement seems to suggest that no tax for that year was paid again, friend insists that she paid her share in full. Do we have the right to request a full statement of all payments and charges etc?
    As far as friend is aware no letters were sent during the time about tax owing. Also she is concerned that the second letter is only addressed to her, like they have given up on trying to contact/find the other tenants listed on the first letter where they were named as liable parties.
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    They have given up, they've found her.
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 12th Sep 17, 5:11 PM
    • 27 Posts
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    Irish_lad80
    • #9
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:11 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Sep 17, 5:11 PM
    I say strange that liability order granted in June only 2 months after the tenancy starts because I would have though it would be longer than that before the council seek such an order. Then she really was unlucky that they found her first and don't care that there are 4 people listed as liable. Does she have any right to appeal?
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Sep 17, 5:13 PM
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    Guest101
    I say strange that liability order granted in June only 2 months after the tenancy starts because I would have though it would be longer than that before the council seek such an order. Then she really was unlucky that they found her first and don't care that there are 4 people listed as liable. Does she have any right to appeal?
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80


    Nope 2 months is pretty standard.


    Appeal on what basis?
    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 12th Sep 17, 5:32 PM
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    Irish_lad80
    That's what I'm asking. I would think as the letter is addressed to 4 people not just her that they wouldn't just try to squeeze the one person dry. Also given the time frame involved give time to try and find any details of payments or to find the other people involved. Strikes me as being very unfair of the council is all. If she asks the council for a statement of payments do they have to provide it?
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 5:33 PM
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    decbel
    The thing is the Chief Execs have to be kept in the style to which they have become accustomed.

    As a result council tax has become like a second mortgage.

    Seems inherently unfair to me that she could have to foot the whole bill for all 4 people 3 of whom appear to have vanished. Being used as an easy scapegoat especially given all those years have gone by. I always thought there was a 10 year disregard but clearly not.

    It also seems extremely unfair that she is not allowed to see what the other 3 paid, if anything. And of course what she actually paid. I would seek legal advice on that aspect.
    Last edited by decbel; 12-09-2017 at 5:37 PM.
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 5:46 PM
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    decbel
    Strikes me as being very unfair of the council is all. If she asks the council for a statement of payments do they have to provide it?
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    You'd think they would have to. That strikes me as her only possible defence.

    If they send a letter to her at another address with other peoples names on it then either they can't find them or more likely pick on the easy target that they do know about.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 12th Sep 17, 5:52 PM
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    00ec25
    The thing is the Chief Execs have to be kept in the style to which they have become accustomed.

    As a result council tax has become like a second mortgage.
    Originally posted by decbel
    indeed why should I pay any tax at all when all it does it keep the spongers in benefits. Much better to stop paying tax and become a sponger myself.

    Seems inherently unfair to me that she could have to foot the whole bill for all 4 people 3 of whom appear to have vanished. Being used as an easy scapegoat especially given all those years have gone by. I always thought there was a 10 year disregard but clearly not.

    It also seems extremely unfair that she is not allowed to see what the other 3 paid, if anything. And of course what she actually paid. I would seek legal advice on that aspect.
    Originally posted by decbel
    since OP's friend cannot recall the relevant details then there is no point speculating about "fairness"

    if it was an HMO the council would not have 4 names to chase since it would be the LL who was liable, not the 4 tenants

    since the council has 4 names it is certain that it was a joint tenancy and therefore all 4 occupants are jointly and severally liable for the whole of the bill as has already been explained. There is never a my charge your share when it comes to council tax because it is what it is, a tax on a property where the people occupying that property are liable for it in full

    would you rather the hard pressed council spend tax receipts money tracking down 3 other tenants to claim from or would you rather than the council spends its tax wisely in pursuing the one person they have found who has an inherent liability for the whole bill? That is the law. Complain to your MP if you find the law unpalatable, meantime OP's friend will have to pay the bill or the enforcement order will be applied and the money will be deducted from her pay and paid direct to the council by her employer as that is what the council is now legally entitled to do
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 12th Sep 17, 5:55 PM
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    00ec25
    You'd think they would have to. That strikes me as her only possible defence.
    Originally posted by decbel
    in order to have obtained the liability order in the first place the council would have to evidence how much is outstanding. It is rather safe to assume that all payments from any of the 4 has been netted off to arrive at the outstanding balance for which the court order was granted.

    questioning that would have been relevant at the time of the court order. Granted OP's friend did not know the court session was taking place and could ask for the evidence now, but it won't alter the size of the debt unless the council made a monumental error.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 12th Sep 17, 5:59 PM
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    00ec25
    That's what I'm asking. I would think as the letter is addressed to 4 people not just her that they wouldn't just try to squeeze the one person dry. Also given the time frame involved give time to try and find any details of payments or to find the other people involved. Strikes me as being very unfair of the council is all. If she asks the council for a statement of payments do they have to provide it?
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    the coucil will pursue the person that it costs them the least amount of money to find. That happens to be your friend. bad luck for her sadly.

    your timeline does raise the possibility that if friend can show she has been paying CT at another address since a date in 2007 then any amount that covers after that date on the old address could possibly be contested. Although it is now rather late to start a contest, the council will of course be aware that OP's friend has "only just" been made aware of the position and the council may therefore be willing to review "new" evidence of the liability period.
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 6:02 PM
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    decbel
    indeed why should I pay any tax at all when all it does it keep the spongers in benefits. Much better to stop paying tax and become a sponger myself.

    since OP's friend cannot recall the relevant details then there is no point speculating about "fairness"

    if it was an HMO the council would not have 4 names to chase since it would be the LL who was liable, not the 4 tenants

    since the council has 4 names it is certain that it was a joint tenancy and therefore all 4 occupants are jointly and severally liable for the whole of the bill as has already been explained. There is never a my charge your share when it comes to council tax because it is what it is, a tax on a property where the people occupying that property are liable for it in full

    That is the law. Complain to your MP if you find the law unpalatable, meantime OP's friend will have to pay the bill or the enforcement order will be applied and the money will be deducted from her pay and paid direct to the council by her employer as that is what the council is now legally entitled to do
    Originally posted by 00ec25
    Well of course they should attempt to track down the other 3.

    And you've disregarded an important point.

    Can she or legal representative have a look at what was actually paid and by whom on grounds of accuracy amongst others. Because these people are widely incompetent.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Sep 17, 6:20 PM
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    CIS
    Believes in was a joint tenancy but not certain on that, being so long ago she can't recall. Tax would have been paid in the post office or to another tenant she believes. Bank account doesn't show details going back that fair online. Not to the landlord. Landlord did not live there at any stage. She thinks it was classed as a HMO. The house is in Greenwich Borough London. Friend was early twenties at the time.
    Liability order was granted but this is the thing I find strange, it was granted in the June of 2006 but the tenancy only started in the April 2006. On the first letter received is says it was granted in June for the total up to Apr 2007 (1,200 split between Greater London and Greenwich fees, 950 odd having been paid during the year). The second order was granted in June 2007 again for the year starting Apr 2007 but they all moved out in July of that year. Statement seems to suggest that no tax for that year was paid again, friend insists that she paid her share in full. Do we have the right to request a full statement of all payments and charges etc?
    As far as friend is aware no letters were sent during the time about tax owing. Also she is concerned that the second letter is only addressed to her, like they have given up on trying to contact/find the other tenants listed on the first letter where they were named as liable parties.
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    Very easy to happen - Demand Notice sent April for payment on 01 May. Payment not made on 01 May so Reminder Notice issued a few days giving 14 days for payment. By the end of the month the Summons would be issued and 14 days later the Liability Order could be issued.
    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.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Sep 17, 6:22 PM
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    CIS
    I say strange that liability order granted in June only 2 months after the tenancy starts because I would have though it would be longer than that before the council seek such an order. Then she really was unlucky that they found her first and don't care that there are 4 people listed as liable. Does she have any right to appeal?
    Originally posted by Irish_lad80
    If the council are asked they'll be able to provide any relevant details regarding payments etc.

    Craig
    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.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Sep 17, 6:28 PM
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    CIS
    Well of course they should attempt to track down the other 3.

    And you've disregarded an important point.

    Can she or legal representative have a look at what was actually paid and by whom on grounds of accuracy amongst others. Because these people are widely incompetent.
    Originally posted by decbel
    The council have no particular regard as to which liable person paid what amount. For a joint tenancy, whether the tenants like it or not, they are jointly and severally liable for payment and legislation allows any of them to be pursued as though they were the sole debtor for any outstanding amount.

    The council are under no requirement to pursue any of the debtors - whether they choose to or not is their choice.

    Craig
    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.
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