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    • davidh71
    • By davidh71 14th Sep 17, 12:48 PM
    • 54Posts
    • 28Thanks
    Liability for Council Tax
    • #1
    • 14th Sep 17, 12:48 PM
    Liability for Council Tax 14th Sep 17 at 12:48 PM
    Hi, Hoping someone can offer some advice.
    My daughter recently split from her boyfriend. They were living together but she was not on the tenancy agreement - only he was.
    Since splitting up and leaving she is now getting demands for unpaid Council Tax.
    Her only income is disability benefit and, whilst they were together she transferred most of this directly to her ex to pay the bills. Unfortunately he did not pay them and chose to spend the money on his car instead.
    As I understand it he is primarily responsible for the council tax as he was the tenant.
    The council are currently threatening legal action - where does she stand - can they take legal action against her? How bad could this get?
    Any advise appreciated!
Page 1
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 14th Sep 17, 1:23 PM
    • 11,646 Posts
    • 13,531 Thanks
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 17, 1:23 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 17, 1:23 PM
    Unfortunately as your daughter was living with the tenant as man and wife then she is jointly and severally liable for the council tax.

    This means that the council can chase either for the arrears.

    Council tax debt can escalate quickly so it needs to be addressed now.

    It is possible that the council has been unable to contact her ex partner and they have the legal right to chase either for the full amount.

    And yes, they can go to court and get a liability order against her and then they have various ways of enforcing this order.

    Your daughter needs to contact the council today and explain that she is on benefits and come to an arrangement to pay back the arrears.

    Unfortunately they will not be interested in the fact that her ex partner has squandered the money she gave him as this is a private matter among themselves.

    If your daughter has her ex's contact details then she could give them to the council and they may decide to chase him instead (but they do not have to). Much depends on whether the ex is working and is able to pay up but your daughter should certainly try to contact him.

    Not a great situation for your daughter. As she is on benefits then she should be able to arrange a payment plan with the council.

    Has anyone checked that the amount is correct?
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 14th Sep 17, 1:46 PM
    • 6,109 Posts
    • 13,012 Thanks
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 17, 1:46 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 17, 1:46 PM
    At my council we don't name 'residents' on the bill, so we wouldn't have put your daughter on as she wasn't a tenant. (We do owners and tenants)

    You can ask about their policy. If she was on disability benefit she could have applied for counc tax reduction, but again we wouldn't award that to a resident, only owners and tenants.

    Worth an ask.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 14th Sep 17, 2:17 PM
    • 10,574 Posts
    • 6,111 Thanks
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 17, 2:17 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 17, 2:17 PM
    Under s6 of the LGFA 1992 a resident tenant ordinarily has the higher interest than a non-tenant resident however the rules are different in respect of a resident partner.

    In respect of the OP's daughter, whilst resident she is jointly liable as a partner under s9 of the LGFA 1992 - if a council is not making resident partners jointly liable then they are not following legislation and are screwing themselves over in terms of recovery action.

    The local authority are correct to hold her jointly liable whilst she was resident. If they are charging her for any period she was not resident then she can dispute that period otherwise she's stuck with the charge.

    As a joint liable person she's entitled to make a joint claim for Council Tax Reduction but it's unlikely to be made retrospectively.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a self employed Council Tax specialist. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
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