Council tax bill when I didn’t own/live at property?

Me and my partner just bought our first house (previously rented a flat in the same town). Straight away I started receiving council tax bills, which was odd because 1. council tax has always been in my partners name and not mine, and 2. my surname was spelt incorrectly meaning someone else gave it to the council (previous owner perhaps?)

As it’s the same town my partner just applied to have our council tax moved over to the new address, direct debit, all good. 

I received a second letter asking for full council tax but figured it was probably posted before this so ignored it. Today I received 2 more letters, one saying I owed £0 for the coming year and another saying I owed £9.70 (2 days worth of council tax) for this year. However the two dates on the bill are before we moved in. We completed on the house on 11th March, we moved in on 12th. The council tax is asking for payment for 10th March (before we even owned the property) and 11th March (before we moved in). My partner set the council tax to switch over on the day we moved in (12th March). My guess is the previous owner moved out a couple of days early, but legally still owned the house until 11th. 

Today my partner also received lots of council tax letters, saying he owed nothing for this year, the full amount for next year and his closing statement for our flat.

So do I owe the council anything? I’ve never paid council tax before, it’s always been in my partners name, they’ve spelt my surname incorrectly and are charging me for a period I didn’t own the property and I’m guessing it was empty and unfurnished at the time?

Comments

  • JGB1955
    JGB1955 Posts: 3,479 Forumite
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    You and your partner will be liable for council tax from the day that you completed on the purchase of the property.  The fact that you didn't actually move in is immaterial.
    #2 Saving for Christmas 2024 - £1 a day challenge. £131 of £366
  • rainbow_fountains
    rainbow_fountains Posts: 76 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 27 March 2021 at 2:47PM
    JGB1955 said:
    You and your partner will be liable for council tax from the day that you completed on the purchase of the property.  The fact that you didn't actually move in is immaterial.
    We’re being charged for a period when we didn’t complete/own the property though, also I thought there was a 100% council tax discount on empty properties for up to 3 months? This property was empty and unfurnished over these 2 days (one of which we didn’t own it)
  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,643 Forumite
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    Empty property discount is at a council's discretion, so there may be no discount.

    Where there is some doubt in what is actually owed, it's much easier just to speak to the council
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,818 Forumite
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    edited 27 March 2021 at 3:16PM
    JGB1955 said:
    You and your partner will be liable for council tax from the day that you completed on the purchase of the property.  The fact that you didn't actually move in is immaterial.
    We’re being charged for a period when we didn’t complete/own the property though, also I thought there was a 100% council tax discount on empty properties for up to 3 months? This property was empty and unfurnished over these 2 days (one of which we didn’t own it)

    As lincroft says, the discount on empty properties is, I think ,at the discretion of the particular local council. Even if your council grants it, it's usually a 'one-off' rather than per individual owner/occupier - so if it was empty for three months or more prior to you buying it then that's the exemption used up, and a change of ownership doesn't normally re-set the timer.
    For the sake of £9.50 I'd contact the council as soon as you can - you really don't want to have it escalating.     
  • JGB1955 said:
    You and your partner will be liable for council tax from the day that you completed on the purchase of the property.  The fact that you didn't actually move in is immaterial.
    We’re being charged for a period when we didn’t complete/own the property though, also I thought there was a 100% council tax discount on empty properties for up to 3 months? This property was empty and unfurnished over these 2 days (one of which we didn’t own it)

    As lincroft says, the discount on empty properties is, I think ,at the discretion of the particular local council. Even if your council grants it, it's usually a 'one-off' rather than per individual owner/occupier - so if it was empty for three months or more prior to you buying it then that's the exemption used up, and a change of ownership doesn't normally re-set the timer.
    For the sake of £9.50 I'd contact the council as soon as you can - you really don't want to have it escalating.     
    Thanks, it was empty for 2 or 3 days at most, the owner moved out early and we didn’t know, why she didn’t tell the council the sale/completion date instead of her moving out date I have no idea
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    JGB1955 said:
    You and your partner will be liable for council tax from the day that you completed on the purchase of the property.  The fact that you didn't actually move in is immaterial.
    We’re being charged for a period when we didn’t complete/own the property though, also I thought there was a 100% council tax discount on empty properties for up to 3 months? This property was empty and unfurnished over these 2 days (one of which we didn’t own it)

    As lincroft says, the discount on empty properties is, I think ,at the discretion of the particular local council. Even if your council grants it, it's usually a 'one-off' rather than per individual owner/occupier - so if it was empty for three months or more prior to you buying it then that's the exemption used up, and a change of ownership doesn't normally re-set the timer.
    For the sake of £9.50 I'd contact the council as soon as you can - you really don't want to have it escalating.     
    Thanks, it was empty for 2 or 3 days at most, the owner moved out early and we didn’t know, why she didn’t tell the council the sale/completion date instead of her moving out date I have no idea
    Happens all the time with council tax, it's an everyday issue for councils and easy to sort. You need to contact the council with the date of sale and they can do the rest.
    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.
  • CIS said:
    JGB1955 said:
    You and your partner will be liable for council tax from the day that you completed on the purchase of the property.  The fact that you didn't actually move in is immaterial.
    We’re being charged for a period when we didn’t complete/own the property though, also I thought there was a 100% council tax discount on empty properties for up to 3 months? This property was empty and unfurnished over these 2 days (one of which we didn’t own it)

    As lincroft says, the discount on empty properties is, I think ,at the discretion of the particular local council. Even if your council grants it, it's usually a 'one-off' rather than per individual owner/occupier - so if it was empty for three months or more prior to you buying it then that's the exemption used up, and a change of ownership doesn't normally re-set the timer.
    For the sake of £9.50 I'd contact the council as soon as you can - you really don't want to have it escalating.     
    Thanks, it was empty for 2 or 3 days at most, the owner moved out early and we didn’t know, why she didn’t tell the council the sale/completion date instead of her moving out date I have no idea
    Happens all the time with council tax, it's an everyday issue for councils and easy to sort. You need to contact the council with the date of sale and they can do the rest.
    Thanks I contacted the council and they just erased those 2 days and deleted my account so now we just have my partners, all sorted!
  • getmore4less
    getmore4less Posts: 46,882 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post I've helped Parliament
    Me and my partner just bought our first house (previously rented a flat in the same town). Straight away I started receiving council tax bills, which was odd because 1. council tax has always been in my partners name and not mine, and 2. my surname was spelt incorrectly meaning someone else gave it to the council (previous owner perhaps?)

    As it’s the same town my partner just applied to have our council tax moved over to the new address, direct debit, all good. 

    I received a second letter asking for full council tax but figured it was probably posted before this so ignored it. Today I received 2 more letters, one saying I owed £0 for the coming year and another saying I owed £9.70 (2 days worth of council tax) for this year. However the two dates on the bill are before we moved in. We completed on the house on 11th March, we moved in on 12th. The council tax is asking for payment for 10th March (before we even owned the property) and 11th March (before we moved in). My partner set the council tax to switch over on the day we moved in (12th March). My guess is the previous owner moved out a couple of days early, but legally still owned the house until 11th. 

    Today my partner also received lots of council tax letters, saying he owed nothing for this year, the full amount for next year and his closing statement for our flat.

    So do I owe the council anything? I’ve never paid council tax before, it’s always been in my partners name, they’ve spelt my surname incorrectly and are charging me for a period I didn’t own the property and I’m guessing it was empty and unfurnished at the time?
    op has a habit of deleting posts
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