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    • Irish_lad80
    • By Irish_lad80 12th Sep 17, 4:00 PM
    • 27Posts
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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 2
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 6:33 PM
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    decbel
    OP

    This is what I would do in your friends position.

    I would ask the council for the financial information relating what has been paid and by whom.

    I would also ask what steps they are taking to find the other 3. If no answer arrives or is unsatisfactory then citizens advice, Member Of Parliament and possibly the local paper.

    Don't give in without a fight.

    I would demand an interview and ask them those questions.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 12th Sep 17, 6:44 PM
    • 16,987 Posts
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    molerat
    Well of course they should attempt to track down the other 3.
    Originally posted by decbel
    But that is not how joint and several liability works. If one of them did not want to get stiffed for the whole bill they should have sorted it out at the time. I do believe though that the council should provide a full statement of account for the period.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 12th Sep 17, 6:44 PM
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    Slithery
    I would also ask what steps they are taking to find the other 3.
    Originally posted by decbel
    Have you not been reading?

    The council has zero responsibility to track the other tenants, if the OP wishes to persue them for part of the outstanding amount then she is welcome to do so through small claims court after the council has been paid off.
    • mark5
    • By mark5 12th Sep 17, 6:59 PM
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    mark5
    Were the other tenants all liable for council tax, some may have been students etc?
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 7:10 PM
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    decbel
    But that is not how joint and several liability works. If one of them did not want to get stiffed for the whole bill they should have sorted it out at the time. I do believe though that the council should provide a full statement of account for the period.
    Originally posted by molerat
    She probably didn't even know. This is 10 years ago.
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 7:13 PM
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    decbel
    Have you not been reading?

    The council has zero responsibility to track the other tenants, if the OP wishes to persue them for part of the outstanding amount then she is welcome to do so through small claims court after the council has been paid off.
    Originally posted by Slithery
    Read post 20.

    The council have no particular responsibility to track but have the choice to do so.

    I'd be asking why hey choose not to.

    I certainly wouldn't just lay on my back and take it.
    • konark
    • By konark 12th Sep 17, 7:38 PM
    • 862 Posts
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    konark
    Just a few random thoughts.

    A house with 4 separate tenants is a text-book HMO, in which the landlord is responsible for Council Tax. Then how come the council have her name;they may have got it from the electoral roll.

    Can't believe in this age of social media and computerised records that the council couldn't locate the other 3; Have they tried talking to the DWP or HMRC? It's probably how they got her address.

    Couldn't your friend just tell the council they can't remember ever living at that address, maybe it was someone else with similar name?

    Were the other tenants students or on benefits? That would leave the OP's friend as sole council tax payer.
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 7:56 PM
    • 1,354 Posts
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    decbel
    Just a few random thoughts.

    A house with 4 separate tenants is a text-book HMO, in which the landlord is responsible for Council Tax. Then how come the council have her name;they may have got it from the electoral roll.

    Can't believe in this age of social media and computerised records that the council couldn't locate the other 3; Have they tried talking to the DWP or HMRC? It's probably how they got her address.

    Couldn't your friend just tell the council they can't remember ever living at that address, maybe it was someone else with similar name?

    Were the other tenants students or on benefits? That would leave the OP's friend as sole council tax payer.
    Originally posted by konark
    This is why I believe the OP'S friend should have access to the other residents status.

    In the original OP it was written that she kept herself to herself therefore it is likely that that she was unaware of the other tenants financial status. And why should she be.
    Last edited by decbel; 12-09-2017 at 8:00 PM.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Sep 17, 7:59 PM
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    davidmcn
    Read post 20.

    The council have no particular responsibility to track but have the choice to do so.

    I'd be asking why hey choose not to.
    Originally posted by decbel
    Equally, there's nothing stopping her from trying to trace them (and presumably she has a right to recover their share if she ends up paying the full amount to the council).
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Sep 17, 8:01 PM
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    CIS
    A house with 4 separate tenants is a text-book HMO, in which the landlord is responsible for Council Tax. Then how come the council have her name;they may have got it from the electoral roll.
    Not necessarily a Council Tax HMO - a property can have a dozen occupiers and still not be a Council Tax HMO if it's a joint tenancy. The OP needs to confirm if it was a joint tenancy or not.
    Then how come the council have her name;they may have got it from the electoral roll.

    Can't believe in this age of social media and computerised records that the council couldn't locate the other 3; Have they tried talking to the DWP or HMRC? It's probably how they got her add
    It would appear the council have always had the name so no need to get it from anywhere else. If they'd not been able to say that a person was the liable party then they'd have billed the landlord.

    HMRC/DWP won't provide details for trace purposes to the council - they new address will most likely have come from a credit check.

    Couldn't your friend just tell the council they can't remember ever living at that address, maybe it was someone else with similar name?
    Very unlikely to stop the council if they've got sufficient to trace the address - the onus would then be on the person to show they weren't the debtor.


    Were the other tenants students or on benefits? That would leave the OP's friend as sole council tax payer.
    A person being on benefits and/or claiming Council Tax Benefit (as it was) doesn't remove them from being jointly liable.
    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.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 12th Sep 17, 8:02 PM
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    lincroft1710

    I certainly wouldn't just lay on my back and take it.
    Originally posted by decbel
    Unfortunately CT law is on the council's side, it is perfectly legal for them to pursue any one of the named tenants for the whole amount. The OP is liable for the whole amount, she may be the only tenant who is traceable, so the council have legitimately homed in on her.

    Unfair, possibly. Legal, definitely.
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 12th Sep 17, 8:15 PM
    • 159 Posts
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    Slithery
    Read post 20.

    The council have no particular responsibility to track but have the choice to do so.

    I'd be asking why hey choose not to.

    I certainly wouldn't just lay on my back and take it.
    Originally posted by decbel
    I'd be pi**ed at my council if they spent money unnecessarily chasing people for no additional reward. No council is going to waste money with their budgets being squeezed as they are.
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 8:23 PM
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    decbel
    Equally, there's nothing stopping her from trying to trace them (and presumably she has a right to recover their share if she ends up paying the full amount to the council).
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Well.

    It's a novel idea.

    She might have to go down that route.

    Or simply take it.
    • decbel
    • By decbel 12th Sep 17, 8:25 PM
    • 1,354 Posts
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    decbel
    I have to ask.

    Why has it taken them 10 years to get this going.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Sep 17, 8:29 PM
    • 15,044 Posts
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    AdrianC
    Is an FY06/07 debt even valid in 2017? I thought debts had to be claimed within 6 years...
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Sep 17, 8:45 PM
    • 9,966 Posts
    • 5,688 Thanks
    CIS
    Is an FY06/07 debt even valid in 2017? I thought debts had to be claimed within 6 years...
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    A liability order has to be obtained within 6 years of the debt becoming due - they've already got that so the debt remains outstanding until it's paid or otherwise discharged.

    As an aside, the debt only becomes due once a demand notice is issued so a debt from 06/07 could become due this year if the demand was only just issued. the 6 years would start from this year in that case.
    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.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 12th Sep 17, 11:12 PM
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    00ec25
    I have to ask.

    Why has it taken them 10 years to get this going.
    Originally posted by decbel
    surely you do not have to ask that?

    what do you think is going on with public finances? read #32 again.
    Last edited by 00ec25; 12-09-2017 at 11:15 PM.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Sep 17, 8:18 AM
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    CIS
    From a council tax collection background (and any other type of money collection) you have to look at the risk and reward - if you're legally allowed to take a particular form of action, is it financially viable to spend extra time and money chasing more than you need to ? No council will sanction the extra costs being incurred to chase beyond what is needed.

    If you try debtor A and there's no luck you may then try debtor B or C but if you locate debtor A and it looks like payment can be obtained then there's no need to pursue the B and C. Council Tax legislation is written specifically to allow for these sort of situations.
    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.
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 13th Sep 17, 8:34 AM
    • 3,053 Posts
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    martinsurrey
    Read post 20.

    The council have no particular responsibility to track but have the choice to do so.

    I'd be asking why hey choose not to.

    I certainly wouldn't just lay on my back and take it.
    Originally posted by decbel
    I'm sure if the OP offered to pay for all of the costs of tracking 3 people down they would do it, they wouldn't be insignificant.

    Just a few random thoughts.
    Couldn't your friend just tell the council they can't remember ever living at that address, maybe it was someone else with similar name?
    Originally posted by konark
    so you are suggesting fraud?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 13th Sep 17, 9:02 AM
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    davidmcn
    I'm sure if the OP offered to pay for all of the costs of tracking 3 people down they would do it, they wouldn't be insignificant.
    Originally posted by martinsurrey
    And I don't think we know that the council hasn't also contacted the others.
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