council tax - class E exemption - refused

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Reclaiming Mortgage Fees, Council Tax, etc
6 replies 2.4K views
malcbmalcb Forumite
21 Posts
Following a severe stroke my mother in law and her husband went into permanent residential care during the summer so the property is vacant to be sold (to fund the care). Applied for exemption but was refused as, according to the council tax dept, half the house is held in trust and so she is is not the sole owner. Can find nothing to support this stance so will appeal - but would appreciate any comments on their interpretation of the legislation - thanks in advance!

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  • CISCIS Forumite
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    I've never come across this particular circumstance before but I'll have a think about and post again tonight.
    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.
  • I think you're right to appeal. Appeal to the Council first and let them know that you will appeal to Valuation Tribunal if not satisfied with their response.
    I 'll explain my own view but will admit that there may be other interpretations and the only definitive test is taking it appeal for a Valuation Tribunal ruling.

    Not being the sole owner doesn't mean there is no council tax liability - they could still be jointly and severally liable for any charge due - along with the joint owner. And a Joint & Several liability is enough to be a qualifying person to whom an exemption can be awarded, where, were it not for the exemption a charge would fall due. And property left empty with the former occupiers going into residential care is a straightforward E. I don't think the joint ownership alters that. Would certainly be interesting to see the council's defence of their stance.
    Hopefully CIS will come back to you after further thought or research too.
  • malcbmalcb Forumite
    21 Posts
    ,.... for responding. An appeal is under way!
  • edited 25 October 2013 at 6:43PM
    CISCIS Forumite
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    edited 25 October 2013 at 6:43PM
    The problem is that the liability from the date of vacation changes - from that date the property becomes the joint responsibility of the non-resident owners.

    This would mean that there are 3 owners - one of which , the trust, is not subject to being in a care home. The two people in a care home would be regarded as a 'relevant person' in respect of the regulations however the trust would not. If all of the liable parties do not meet the requirement for the Class E exemption then it cannot apply to the property.

    The only definitive decision can be made by a valuation tribunal (or high court). The tribunals tend to make up decisions as they go, irrespective of legislation, so any result would be possible.
    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.
  • lincroft1710lincroft1710 Forumite
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    CIS wrote: »
    The tribunals tend to make up decisions as they go, irrespective of legislation

    So true!!!
  • malcbmalcb Forumite
    21 Posts
    Many thanks - although, as you will appreciate, as your guidance does support the Council's position a "result" looks less likely. At least I've now not lost the time and frustration (and possible expense) going through the complaints/appeals procedure!

    (have been away for a few days so only just picked up your response)
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