Council Tax - Sudden increase premium for unoccupied property

Hello.
I'm renovating a property and the building work has unfortunately overrun. As a result, the property will soon have been unoccupied for over 1 year.

I went into this project knowing that I would have to pay full council tax throughout (no exemptions or discounts anymore), and that I would even potentially need to pay a premium of 50% after 2 years, as this was made clear on my local councils website.

However, they wrote to me last week, saying that they have changed the "50% after 2 years", to "100% after 1 year", and I have had about 2-3 weeks notice, before it begins to kick in.

It is difficult to budget for and plan a project at the best of times, but with the goalposts moving so much, this seems a bit unfair. I would have hoped they would announce such a change with more time, perhaps only coming into effect the following year.

I hope we will be done with the build within the next 3 months or so, but its a kick in the nether regions to pay 100% on top (£698 per month total) for any amount of time.

Their implementation of the rule change has come so suddenly, that their websites still do not mention it. Only a letter through my door has informed me about it, so I do not even know if its specific properties, or across the area.

Is it just a case of bending over and pulling my shorts down?

Thanks. SC.

Comments

  • in_my_wellies
    in_my_wellies Posts: 1,647 Forumite
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    My brother is in the same situation. He moved his daughter in as it's just about habitable. She works and as single person gets 25% discount. 
    Love living in a village in the country side
  • Sillychuckie
    Sillychuckie Posts: 1,208 Forumite
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    edited 13 March at 12:02PM
    I'm actually there all day every day, as I have setup my office there we are mostly through the build. But, the council will look out for '1 member of a family' claiming to live in one place, when the rest live in a different place. My daughter isn't old enough to live on her tod. Without sleeping there, or having furniture in place etc, I'm not sure I can do that sort of thing legitimately. I'd be nervous about saying we had definitely moved in, and as we don't have buiding-control sign off yet, I'm not even sure that is legal.
    I'm just surprised by the lack of notice. Its a mega change going from 50%@2yrs to 100%@1. The fact they aren't advertising it on their website is also awful for those only just starting their projects who think they have 2 years grace.

    If I knew a single person who would stay here, I'd be tempted to do the same. Its great to think you could actually save money by having someone stay here. But given we are only a few months away from hopefully moving in ourselves, it isn't really worth it.
  • in_my_wellies
    in_my_wellies Posts: 1,647 Forumite
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    I suspect my brother is a little further on with his property. I do know he was pleased after a visit from the council a couple of weeks ago, presumably BC so perhaps enough if 'signed off' to make it legit. 
    As you say, it's the lack of notice and change of rules at such short notice which is unfair. 

    I think councils are chasing money where ever they can. My niece, in a student property, has had 4 inspections from the council since October. All which could have resulted in a fine for the landlord or the students. This happened at a property with a licence and had had an inspection in September.  'Quiet enjoyment' of the property - no such thing! 
    Love living in a village in the country side
  • Sillychuckie
    Sillychuckie Posts: 1,208 Forumite
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    So sounds like there is nothing I can do about it. Obviously 'hurry up and finish' is the obvious answer, but believe me, we have been trying. I didn't need this extra encouragement to have a sufficient enough incentive. We are renting elsewhere whilst we do the build. The cost each month now for delays make me feel queasy. The Council Tax element I thought I had risk managed, but obviously not.
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