Graduating student and confusion over council tax bill

Spendless
Spendless Posts: 24,038
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edited 15 May 2021 at 7:17AM in Student MoneySaving
Hi, wonder if someone can help.

My DS is just finishing yr2 of a degree and lives in private rented accommodation with 2 other housemates (I'll call them housemate 1 and housemate 2)
Housemate 2 is also just finishing yr2 of a degree
Housemate 1 has just completed yr3 of her degree.
 Uni finishes next week.


Yesterday DS and Housemate 1 received a council bill with both their names on (didn't have housemate 2's name on it)
The bill is for the year 'April 1st 21 - March 31st 22 and gives a student exemption rate for the period 1st April 21 till next week when Uni finishes (and housemate 1 ceases to be a student)


There is no 25% reduction shown on the bill which I believed there should be as housemate 1 shares with DS and housemate 2 who are both still f-time Uni students
. Though I don't have details of how much maintenance loan she received the last time it was paid (about a month ago, after Easter) I thought in yr3 the final  loan wasn't paid to last you over the summer, but I've no idea what they use as an official date for how long it's meant to last until.

Housemate 1 doesn't currently have a job.
I think her options are   
find work to pay the bill
or
claim benefits whilst she job hunts. She is a bit confused as to what she needs to claim and if/when she'll be eligible for help paying the CT bill.


My other suggestion is that she returns home to her parents and searches for a job from there and notifies the local council she  is no longer resident there. DS is under the belief that his housemate would still need to pay the bill as they are all signed into a tenancy agreement until the end of August.  I've no idea if this would be the case.
Her parents home is in a sleepy village in the middle of nowhere, and she doesn't drive, which is why she'd rather stay in her Uni town with more opportunities and a better
 transport network and seek work from there than return back to her mum and dads place.


Can anyone advise, what she and DS need to do? I think the 25% reduction needs applying to the bill due to DS being a student, which would at least reduce the bill, till a way is worked out how it's going to be paid. 
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  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,778
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    Housemate 1 has the liability. They should do one of the following:
    1. pay the bill, less the discount. sending proof of the others being students.
    2. Move out and get removed from the tenancy. Moving out alone won’t help.
    3. claim council tax benefit from the local council.

    if the property is an HMO, then the landlord is responsible for the council tax, but in this case each member of the household would have their own tenancy agreement.
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  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,038
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    silvercar said:
    Housemate 1 has the liability. They should do one of the following:
    1. pay the bill, less the discount. sending proof of the others being students.
    2. Move out and get removed from the tenancy. Moving out alone won’t help.
    3. claim council tax benefit from the local council.

    if the property is an HMO, then the landlord is responsible for the council tax, but in this case each member of the household would have their own tenancy agreement.
    Thank you. The 25% discount (as only housemate 1 is liable for the council tax) hasn't been applied. Only a reduction for the time that housemate has been a student.

    Should they just pay the council tax for this month as it's due by the 31st and sort out the discount later? 

    From what they've found so far (though they're struggling to find info) you can't 'just' claim CT benefit, it has to be part of a UC claim, which is what I think housemate 1 needs to start a claim to do, 
  • poppy12345
    poppy12345 Posts: 17,750
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    Spendless said:
    silvercar said:
    Housemate 1 has the liability. They should do one of the following:
    1. pay the bill, less the discount. sending proof of the others being students.
    2. Move out and get removed from the tenancy. Moving out alone won’t help.
    3. claim council tax benefit from the local council.

    if the property is an HMO, then the landlord is responsible for the council tax, but in this case each member of the household would have their own tenancy agreement.

    From what they've found so far (though they're struggling to find info) you can't 'just' claim CT benefit, it has to be part of a UC claim, which is what I think housemate 1 needs to start a claim to do, 
    This is not correct, council tax reduction is not part of UC and needs to be claimed from their local council. Housemate 1 can't claim UC until there Uni course has offically ended.

  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    Spendless said:
    Should they just pay the council tax for this month as it's due by the 31st and sort out the discount later?
    Ordinarily yes, but in this case contact the council, advise the liability is incorrect and that they temporarily hold the account until it can be updated.

    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
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    silvercar said:
    if the property is an HMO, then the landlord is responsible for the council tax, but in this case each member of the household would have their own tenancy agreement.
    That it is a HMO doesn't automatically make it a council tax HMO. It must meet the council tax definition regardless of whether it meets the HA 2004 definition or not.
    There are two different limbs under which a property can be a council tax HMO, only one of them relies on the tenancy agreements.
    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.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,038
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    Thanks for the further replies.It's been a real struggle to find info
    All 3 are named on the tenancy, which I think doesn't make it a HMO for council tax purposes when the landlord would be liable?
    The Uni finishes for the summer on Friday. I guess this means Housemate's 1 course has officially finished on that date? The council tax bill shows an exemption for the period 1st April till Friday next week, which I'm  thinking  must be due to student status.
    I've told DS to find evidence that he is a continuing student and contact the council about it and tell me to ask for the account to be on hold till they update it. Then I think Housemate 1 needs to apply for benefits. 
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    All 3 are named on the tenancy, which I think doesn't make it a HMO for council tax purposes when the landlord would be liable?
    Under limb b) of a Class C property, no, but under limb a) it could still be a council tax HMO - if it meets either a) or b) it's a council tax HMO. Limb a) just requires that the property" was originally constructed or subsequently adapted for occupation by persons who do not constitute a single household". Council's don't tend to argue under limb a) too often but it can be used in the right cases.
    The Uni finishes for the summer on Friday. I guess this means Housemate's 1 course has officially finished on that date? The council tax bill shows an exemption for the period 1st April till Friday next week, which I'm  thinking  must be due to student status.
    The uni will provide the date the course finishes and councils will rarely argue with that date,
    Then I think Housemate 1 needs to apply for benefits. 
    It would be in their interests to.

    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.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,038
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    Is my son liable for any part of this council tax bill? He is a 2nd year undergraduate student going into yr3 of his degree in September. 

    What about  house Housemate 2 whose name doesn't appear on the bill?

    I've been told that all 3 are liable for it even though 2 are still students

    If the bill totally 'belongs' to Housemate 1 then I think it's down to them to deal with to pay. If it involves son (once he's provided evidence of being a student) then as parents  we need to make sure he is in a position to do so as I don't want any repercussions for him due to non payment.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260
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    I've been told that all 3 are liable for it even though 2 are still students
    Where there are multiple parties who would be ordinarily jointly liable but some of them are students then the students cease to be jointly liable and the liability falls on to the non-student tenant(s).
    Tenant 1 would be liable as the only non-student tenant.
    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.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,038
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    CIS said:
    I've been told that all 3 are liable for it even though 2 are still students
    Where there are multiple parties who would be ordinarily jointly liable but some of them are students then the students cease to be jointly liable and the liability falls on to the non-student tenant(s).
    Tenant 1 would be liable as the only non-student tenant.
    That's what I thought, thank you but the person telling me otherwise works for the council and checked it with their council tax dept (diff area to where DS studies). A quick google tells me that councils do tell students incorrectly about council tax.
    So, I'm back to where I thought.
    DS needs to provide evidence he's a student continuing his degree in September.
    which should get 25% knocked off the bill 
    and Housemate one needs to apply for benefits. 
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