Student, Council Tax, Baliffs.

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Reclaiming Mortgage Fees, Council Tax, etc
9 replies 1.3K views
cartergbcartergb Forumite
3 Posts
Hi All,

First time poster here so please be patient. Basically I have been a university student for the past 3 years living in a property that due to my student status would make me exempt. However I have received letters from bailiffs threatening to remove my goods for unpaid council taxes for this year. (!?)

This is where it gets a bit complicated as although I have been living on my own, the council tax letters and bailiff letters are addressed to my mother who has not and does not live in the country. I have tried to ring the council asking them to amend this but they will not budge. They told me that they believe there are more than one person living in the apartment, yet surely if they saw that I have been claiming exemption for the past few years they would have followed the same pattern of thought?


Any advice?

Cheers,

CB

Replies

  • CISCIS Forumite
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    They told me that they believe there are more than one person living in the apartment, yet surely if they saw that I have been claiming exemption for the past few years they would have followed the same pattern of thought?

    That means nothing - I see cases every day where people are claiming exemptions and to be sole occupiers but when the regular reviews are done numerous people come up as living at the property.
    the council tax letters and bailiff letters are addressed to my mother who has not and does not live in the country. I have tried to ring the council asking them to amend this but they will not budge

    They can only be addressed to her if they have as a liable person for the council tax charge. I cant see how you have had an exemption if the bill has been in her name - a 25% disregard but not an exemption.

    Only the council can advise what is currently happening in respect of the bill - to have got to the stage of instructing a bailiff against your mother there must have been a demand notice,at least 1 reminder, a summons and a 14 day notice of bailiff action prior to this happening.
    bailiff letters are addressed to my mother who has not and does not live in the countr

    Where does your mother live ? - is it for work or has she up and left the country permanently ?
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • edited 22 September 2011 at 3:43PM
    cartergbcartergb Forumite
    3 Posts
    edited 22 September 2011 at 3:43PM
    Why has the council not done a regular review to see who is living in the premises if exemptions have been claimed since 2008?

    I have all the previous adjustment bills and they state that the balance to pay is £0.00 once they have factored in the exemption. However the latest one states that I must pay £1242.63 even though the council have my student certificates stating that I am a student till 2012. (!?)

    What irks me is that they have gone straight to baliffs rather than doing one of the reviews to begin with.

    I already had sent letters requesting that the account be updated so that I am the one liable for the bill as my mother lives in Asia.

    Perhaps I should present scanned copies of her passport and visas as proof?
  • CISCIS Forumite
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    Why has the council not done a regular review to see who is living in the premises if exemptions have been claimed since 2008?

    Many councils have only just begun to do the reviews over last couple of years using credit reference agencies and they have been given assistance from central government. When there are thousands of discounts reviewed a council may only review certain discounts/exemptions each year on a rolling basis.
    What irks me is that they have gone straight to baliffs rather than doing one of the reviews to begin with.

    It hasn't gone straight to a bailiff - as above there is a who raft of documents sent first.

    The actual review has no effect on the method of recovery used, only the discounts which are given. In your case I would guess that the review has already indicated she is resident.
    However the latest one states that I must pay £1242.63 even though the council have my student certificates stating that I am a student till 2012. (!?)

    Irrespective of your student status if there is another occupier (or so the council believe) who is not a joint tenant/owner or who has a higher interest in the property (e.g a resident landlord) then you are the person liable for any council tax due.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • magpiecottagemagpiecottage
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    If what you say is true then you could try involving one of your local councillors or you could make a complaint of maladministration to the council.

    Councillor is probably better in the first instance - you will probably find their details on the council's own website.
  • danothydanothy Forumite
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    CIS wrote: »
    Irrespective of your student status if there is another occupier (or so the council believe) who is not a joint tenant/owner or who has a higher interest in the property (e.g a resident landlord) then you are the person liable for any council tax due.

    I believe this to be incorrect, to the best of my knowledge full time student status exempts you from any liability for council tax within a household.

    Due to this an all student household will attract no council tax and a student and non-student living together will be eligible for a 25% discount (for example) with the non-student being solely liable.

    From my council tax bill:
    From the 1st April 2004 students cannot be held jointly liable for council tax with persons who are not students.
    If you think of it as 'us' verses 'them', then it's probably your side that are the villains.
  • CISCIS Forumite
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    [I believe this to be incorrect, to the best of my knowledge full time student status exempts you from any liability for council tax within a household.
    I can assure you I am correct - the actual student disregard (which lead to an exemption if only student are resident) has no effect on the actual liabilty under section 6 of the LGFA 1992(http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/14/section/6).
    Due to this an all student household will attract no council tax and a student and non-student living together will be eligible for a 25% discount (for example) with the non-student being solely liable.
    Only if they both hold the same level of interest in the property as per section 6 of the LGFA 1992 otherwise the person with the highest interest is liable with the 25% discount.

    From the 1st April 2004 students cannot be held jointly liable for council tax with persons who are not students.
    Which is correct if two people have the same level of liability under the hierarchy of liability (section 6 of the LGFA 1992) - all its means is that 2 people were jointly liable (e.g joint resident owners) then the student is not held jointly liable. If the student is the sole resident tenant and he has a lodger then the student would still be liable as he has a higher interest in the property.


    The OP needs to clarify who has been billed - in post 1) he states "the council tax letters and bailiff letters are addressed to my mother who has not and does not live in the country" whereas in post 3) he states "However the latest one states that I must pay £1242.63 even though the council have my student certificates stating that I am a student till 2012". If makes a big difference as to who is being billed and is thus being held liable for council tax.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • danothydanothy Forumite
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    CIS wrote: »
    I can assure you I am correct - the actual student disregard (which lead to an exemption if only student are resident) has no effect on the actual liabilty under section 6 of the LGFA 1992(http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/14/section/6).

    Only if they both hold the same level of interest in the property as per section 6 of the LGFA 1992 otherwise the person with the highest interest is liable with the 25% discount.


    Which is correct if two people have the same level of liability under the hierarchy of liability (section 6 of the LGFA 1992) - all its means is that 2 people were jointly liable (e.g joint resident owners) then the student is not held jointly liable. If the student is the sole resident tenant and he has a lodger then the student would still be liable as he has a higher interest in the property.


    The OP needs to clarify who has been billed - in post 1) he states "the council tax letters and bailiff letters are addressed to my mother who has not and does not live in the country" whereas in post 3) he states "However the latest one states that I must pay £1242.63 even though the council have my student certificates stating that I am a student till 2012". If makes a big difference as to who is being billed and is thus being held liable for council tax.

    On reflection I see that you're correct, the context of my response was regarding the no-subletting scenario which was stated in the OP, you threw me a bit with the corner case you described but I appreciate now that student disregarding/exemption is not an absolute.
    If you think of it as 'us' verses 'them', then it's probably your side that are the villains.
  • The letters are all addressed to my mother but since I am the only person living here and the one opening all the mail that gets sent to me, therefore it directly affects me. I just want to get this sorted out as soon as possible so that I stop receiving letters and can focus on uni when it starts next week. I will go to the council tomorrow with my mothers documents and see what they say.
  • CISCIS Forumite
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    I will go to the council tomorrow with my mothers documents and see what they say.

    There will be limits as to what they can discuss with you as the demand is not in your name - they will however be able to listen to the information you give them and decide liability from that.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
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