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  • FIRST POST
    • halexis91
    • By halexis91 16th Mar 17, 11:36 AM
    • 24Posts
    • 1Thanks
    halexis91
    Upcoming Council Tax Liability Appeal
    • #1
    • 16th Mar 17, 11:36 AM
    Upcoming Council Tax Liability Appeal 16th Mar 17 at 11:36 AM
    Good morning,

    I am writing in the hopes someone will have been through a similar thing and may be able to tell me what to expect and how to be prepared for it.

    I moved into a private rented property in July 2016. During this time, my pet dog had moved in with my mum as I was unable to find a property that would allow her. During this period my mum became really ill and was unable to take her for her walks etc anymore. I explained this to the landlord and asked if he would be willing to have the dog live with me if I was to pay extra and sign a new tenancy agreement. He advised he would look into this with the estate agent and get back to me with a new contract. A month passed and I still didn't hear anything from the landlord. I managed to get hold of him again and he advised that he would no longer be willing to let a dog move in but offered to let me out of the contract early to find more suitable housing due to my predicament.

    I managed to find a new house that allowed my dog and spoke with my landlord advising that I would be out of the property by 31st October 2016. The move went smoothly and as promised I was out of the property by 31st October 2016. The landlord returned my deposit a couple of months later and that was that.

    A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from the council tax at my new property stating that I owed council tax from 31st October 2016 (when I moved out) until the 7th January 2017 (when the new tenant moved in).
    After speaking with the council it turns out that the landlord is now denying that he allowed me to come out of the contract early. Even after showing the council my bank statements showing the deposit being returned and the text messages showing the landlord offering me out of the contract early, they still ruled that I would be liable for the £200 council tax on the property.

    I have just received notice of my hearing which will be in late May. I am planning to arrange an appointment with my local CAB. Other than that I don't really have any idea what I'm doing. I am not worried because I have told the truth about everything but I am slightly nervous as the landlord has lied to the council already.

    Can anyone give some solid advice regarding how to be prepared for this hearing? Should I be looking into employing a legal advisor? What can I expect on the day?

    Thanks in advance
Page 1
    • CakeCrusader
    • By CakeCrusader 16th Mar 17, 12:38 PM
    • 356 Posts
    • 161 Thanks
    CakeCrusader
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:38 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:38 PM
    Courts are pretty understanding and they are not going to try to catch you out. Just stick to the facts and try to answer their questions. You don't need to employ a legal advisor, they won't try to catch you out and there will be a legal advisor helping the magistrates anyway. As a litigant in person (this is what it's called when someone with no legal knowledge represents themself), the council's solicitor has rules that they have to follow so they won't be able to treat you unfairly or try to catch you out; http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/litigants-in-person-new-guidelines-for-lawyers-june-2015/

    Do you have a copy of your tenancy agreement for your new place which states the date that you moved in? It would help if you had a letter from your new agency/landlord stating that you moved in on the 31st October. Utility bills too, you should have ones from your old place confirming when the date that the supply ended, and bills for your new place confirming the date that the supply started, council tax demand notice etc.

    Hopefully the CAB will be able to help you so you won't need to go to the hearing, just make sure you take your paperwork with you when you go to see them.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 16th Mar 17, 12:50 PM
    • 9,978 Posts
    • 5,694 Thanks
    CIS
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:50 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 17, 12:50 PM
    The tribunal is generally very relaxed, it's not going to be as formal as a court.

    Make sure you have your ducks in a row before you go in - one issue you may have is that CAB are generally poor in respect of council tax liability as it's not their area (used to have a lot of questions coming from them !) .


    A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from the council tax at my new property stating that I owed council tax from 31st October 2016 (when I moved out) until the 7th January 2017
    They key, as you've identified, is proving that you were not liable as you'd surrendered but there is a possible other route which you may be able to using Leeds v Broadley (but it depends on your tenancy agreement). If you want I'm happy to advise further regarding that.

    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.
    • halexis91
    • By halexis91 16th Mar 17, 1:40 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    halexis91
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 17, 1:40 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 17, 1:40 PM
    As a litigant in person (this is what it's called when someone with no legal knowledge represents themself), the council's solicitor has rules that they have to follow so they won't be able to treat you unfairly or try to catch you out; http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/litigants-in-person-new-guidelines-for-lawyers-june-2015/

    Do you have a copy of your tenancy agreement for your new place which states the date that you moved in? It would help if you had a letter from your new agency/landlord stating that you moved in on the 31st October. Utility bills too, you should have ones from your old place confirming when the date that the supply ended, and bills for your new place confirming the date that the supply started, council tax demand notice etc.
    Originally posted by CakeCrusader
    Thank you so much for that link. I'll be sure to have a read through at some point today!

    I have my tenancy agreement for the new property. I was panning to bring the following things with me to the hearing:

    - Printed text messages showing the landlord offering me out of the contract early
    -Printed bank statements showing my last rent payment and the deposit being returned from the landlord
    -My new tenancy agreement
    - All council tax bills for my current property
    -A letter showing that I am on the electoral register for my current property

    Unfortunately, I'm unable to show when the utilities ended at one property and started at another as we just moved the utility contract across to the new property. Is it likely that if I contact BG that they will write me a letter confirming the dates the utilities were moved over?

    If I bring the above things with me, do you believe this is enough to show the tribunal that I;m not liable?

    It's times like these I'm thankful for my hoarding ways!!!

    Thanks so much for your help so far
    • halexis91
    • By halexis91 16th Mar 17, 1:41 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    halexis91
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 17, 1:41 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 17, 1:41 PM
    They key, as you've identified, is proving that you were not liable as you'd surrendered but there is a possible other route which you may be able to using Leeds v Broadley (but it depends on your tenancy agreement). If you want I'm happy to advise further regarding that.

    Craig
    Originally posted by CIS
    Hi Craig, thanks for getting in touch.

    I've just responded to your direct message. I'd be happy to show you a copy of my current and previous tenancy agreement if you believe you are able to help?

    Thanks,
    Hannah
    • itsallabitmuch
    • By itsallabitmuch 16th Mar 17, 4:52 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 83 Thanks
    itsallabitmuch
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 4:52 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 4:52 PM
    With regards to your utilities, the utility company will be able to offer a letter confirming the date of the switch to the new property, so I'd give them a call hun.
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