Council pursuing student for council tax
in Student MoneySaving
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My son is a full time student. He took on a tenancy last year with his friend who works full time. Their landlord misinformed them and said if my son took the tenancy in his name only they would not be liable for council tax. He now knows this is not the case. The council is now pursuing him for the council tax as the tenancy was solely in his name. Is he liable? The council is insisting he is and have begun court proceedings, adding those costs to the bill. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Under s6 of the LGFA 1992 your son would have held the higher interest in the property and so remains liable for the council tax charge, even if he himself is a student and disregarded from the council tax charge calculation itself - who is liable to pay and who is taken in to account when the charge is calculated are two different determinations.
Your son would appear to be liable for the council tax charge with a 25% discount due to their being 2 parties, one of who was a student.
Thanks for your reply.
I'm confused. If a property is occupied solely by full time students they are all exempt from paying council tax, so why would my son be liable? He is the full time student.
Thank you for your reply. He is currently discussing who will pay what with his former flatmate. I really want to know if he is legally liable for the council tax being that he was a full time student at the time or whether his flatmate is liable for the full amount? Also he is the one the council are chasing for the money.
We don't know how the council found out, but seeing as they were unaware that they had been misinformed at the time we are guessing it maybe from a voting form or something.
So that means that my son has to pay it if his flatmate won't? Even though he would've been exempt himself?
link here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/student-housing/students-in-private-rented-accommodation/student-housing-council-tax/
”If someone you share with isn't a full-time student
The property won’t be exempt from council tax and you’ll get a bill. However, whoever is liable to pay the council tax might qualify for a discount.
For example, if you share with an employed person or a part-time student, they will probably be liable for 75% of the council tax bill. There is a 25% discount because there is only 1 eligible adult in the property. As the full-time student, you’re disregarded when counting the number of eligible adults in the property for discount purposes.
If you share with 2 or more employed people who aren’t students, they’re likely to be liable for 100% of the council tax bill, unless 1 or both of them qualifies as a disregarded person for council tax discount purposes. In this situation, the local council can only pursue the non-students for payment of the council tax bill.”
Last sentence is key, a council can only pursue non students for council tax.
Where you have, for example 3 student tenants, then they are each jointly liable as per ss6(2) and 6(3) of the Act - the difference is that the property then, separately, qualifies for an exemption under a different provision. This provision has no effect on the liability, the party who gets the bill, it just means that there's a nil bill as an exemption is applied.
(2) A person falls within this subsection in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day if, on that day--
(a) he is a resident of the dwelling and has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of it;
(b) he is such a resident and has a leasehold interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling which is not inferior to another such interest held by another such resident;
(c) he is both such a resident and a statutory, secure or introductory tenant of the whole or any part of the dwelling;
(d) he is such a resident and has a contractual licence to occupy the whole or any part of the dwelling;
(e) he is such a resident; or
[(ea) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing authority in England, the person is a mortgagee in possession of the owner's interest in the dwelling; or] Ignore this as not yet in force.
(f) he is the owner of the dwelling.
(a) if only one of those persons does not fall to be so disregarded, he shall be solely liable;
(b) if two or more of those persons do not fall to be so disregarded, they shall each be jointly and severally liable.
As you can see under s6(4) if you have a mixture of people who are jointly liable and some are not students/SMI then the liability reverts to those who are not students/SMI but this provision only works where there are a mixture of people who are jointly liable.