Funds arrested for unpaid council tax - I'm a student

KiaeKiae Forumite
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Location: Scotland

Hi,

Looking for some help. 

I have been a student for the last 4 years, and lived at the same property for the full duration. I have been back and forth with the council and debt-recovery agencies about unpaid council tax for the property. I have been in full-time education for the full 4 years.

I do live with another house mate, who has not been paying council tax, and has not been a student for the full time he has lived here. He has only been a student for the past year.

Long story short, I have agreed for my own reasons, to help pay for the initial 3 years worth of council tax debt on the flat, however, we have both been students for the past year.

We had a payment plan set up to repay the council tax that was owed for the first 3 years, however they are claiming that due to us owing more council tax for the past year as well, have decided to cancel the payment plan and instead arrest funds from my bank account. 

I have spoken to the council and the debt recovery agency and they are saying that without a letter from my university there is nothing they can do. I have spoken to my university and they are going to write a letter, however they have a current back-log so it might take weeks. In the mean time, I have been informed that my funds will continue to be arrested. 

They have confirmed verbally and in writing that the funds have been arrested for the outstanding debt within the past year, and not the first three years. So they have arrested the funds for a period that we were both students. 

Is there anything I can do? I am a student, and although they don't have proof, it doesn't make it untrue. 

Any advice would be appreciated. 

Replies

  • RASRAS Forumite
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    You should both have provided evidence to the LA that you were full-time students, this year, and for all three of the previous years for yourself.

    Your house mate should also have applied for the single persons discount because they were the only eligible occupant over the previous three years, which would have required evidence of your study.

    Suggest that you get yourselves into the Student Welfare tomorrow and hope they can offer you a loan to cover you until this mess is sorted out.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
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    Surely you can prove you are a student without a letter from the uni?

    Do must have your enrollment paperwork for the years ?
  • RASRAS Forumite
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    If it's like it was when I worked in the sector, the LA require a specific letter from the University which details information about whether the type of course studied meets the requirement for student exemption. 
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • Graham1982Graham1982 Forumite
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    Hello OP:

    I have just seen @RAS reply, which might mean my advice is redundant. However, I would do the following:

    1. Write a skeleton letter yourself saying something like:

    The above named student is enrolled on a full time course at X university and has been for the academic year of A and will be for the academic year of B. The course is full time and therefore they are exempt from council tax payments.

    I would then take this to the appropriate department at your university and speak to someone there (actually go there) and say, I understand you are busy but I might have to terminate my studies and find work if this can't be sorted, I have written a skeleton letter, could you please put it on letterhead and stamp it and I will take it to the council myself?

    If they say no, speak to your student union/student support explaining the gravity of the situation.

    Another option is to go to the council tax place with any correspondence, your student ID card etc as way of proof you are a student. If you do this you might be able to negotiate a stay on your account whilst you are waiting to get this sorted out.

    The point is, none of the people that you are going to interact with have to help you, but they are humans and I find that if you go there contritely or in good faith, they might help you.

    Thanks

    Graham
  • saajan_12saajan_12 Forumite
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    Kiae said:
    Location: Scotland

    Hi,

    Looking for some help. 

    I have been a student for the last 4 years, and lived at the same property for the full duration. I have been back and forth with the council and debt-recovery agencies about unpaid council tax for the property. I have been in full-time education for the full 4 years.

    I do live with another house mate, who has not been paying council tax, and has not been a student for the full time he has lived here. He has only been a student for the past year. - is housemate the only other adult resident? If so, he' might be entitled to SPD as the only liable adult, but he needs to apply for this.

    Long story short, I have agreed for my own reasons, to help pay for the initial 3 years worth of council tax debt on the flat, however, we have both been students for the past year.- make sure you just reimburse housemate after he's paid the council or pay the council directly under his account. Don't claim equal liability to the council, as otherwise he'll lose the 25% discount.  

    We had a payment plan set up to repay the council tax that was owed for the first 3 years, however they are claiming that due to us owing more council tax for the past year as well, have decided to cancel the payment plan and instead arrest funds from my bank account. - as is their right, until they have proof that you alone / you both are not liable. 

    I have spoken to the council and the debt recovery agency and they are saying that without a letter from my university there is nothing they can do. I have spoken to my university and they are going to write a letter, however they have a current back-log so it might take weeks. - In my uni days, a student id card was accepted, so if you have one of those then send that pending the letter. However the letter might be more critical as you're trying to prove historical student status. 
    In the mean time, I have been informed that my funds will continue to be arrested. 

    They have confirmed verbally and in writing that the funds have been arrested for the outstanding debt within the past year, and not the first three years. So they have arrested the funds for a period that we were both students. 

    Is there anything I can do? I am a student, and although they don't have proof, it doesn't make it untrue. - it doesn't make it true in any of the information they have though. Its up to you to request and prove entitlement to the discount. 

    Any advice would be appreciated. 
    The student status gives you the right to apply for an exemption, with proof, but until then you're fully liable. Its not up to the council to magically know who is / isn't a student. [Wouldn't make sense if they took your word before, as how long would they then wait before starting to collect funds when you're long gone, as you've already had all year..]

    I'd just focus on getting them the proof and then asking for the liability to be removed. They're not being unreasonable here. 
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