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  • FIRST POST
    • SavvyUser
    • By SavvyUser 12th Dec 17, 3:35 PM
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    SavvyUser
    Council Tax -Single occupancy discount
    • #1
    • 12th Dec 17, 3:35 PM
    Council Tax -Single occupancy discount 12th Dec 17 at 3:35 PM
    Dear users,

    My told my council that I did not live in my renting property for about 14 months and now they said I could not claim single occupancy discount for this period. I have to pay full rate instead. I find this very unreasonable. When I actually live in the property and use the council services, I pay a cheaper rate (single occupancy rate) than when I do not live in it.

    Please can I have advice or personal experience input. I could not find any legal guidelines for this. Thank you!
Page 1
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Dec 17, 4:08 PM
    • 10,527 Posts
    • 6,082 Thanks
    CIS
    • #2
    • 12th Dec 17, 4:08 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Dec 17, 4:08 PM
    Dear users,

    My told my council that I did not live in my renting property for about 14 months and now they said I could not claim single occupancy discount for this period. I have to pay full rate instead. I find this very unreasonable. When I actually live in the property and use the council services, I pay a cheaper rate (single occupancy rate) than when I do not live in it.

    Please can I have advice or personal experience input. I could not find any legal guidelines for this. Thank you!
    Originally posted by SavvyUser
    It all depends on your 'sole or main residence' - if it wasn't in the property then no 25% discount can be applied in any case and the amount of reduction then depends on the local authority. It's not always straight forward though as other factors can influence the discount determination.
    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.
    • SavvyUser
    • By SavvyUser 12th Dec 17, 5:54 PM
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    SavvyUser
    • #3
    • 12th Dec 17, 5:54 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Dec 17, 5:54 PM
    Yes, the property which I was talking about has been always my main property. I just needed to stay away and in my friend's to help them for that period. I do not own any property anyway. So I still have the case here?
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 12th Dec 17, 6:10 PM
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    IAmWales
    • #4
    • 12th Dec 17, 6:10 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Dec 17, 6:10 PM
    14 months is a long time to be away, were you still paying rent for that period?

    How did they know you were not there, and were you declared as living at your friend's property?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Dec 17, 6:18 PM
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    CIS
    • #5
    • 12th Dec 17, 6:18 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Dec 17, 6:18 PM
    Yes, the property which I was talking about has been always my main property. I just needed to stay away and in my friend's to help them for that period. I do not own any property anyway. So I still have the case here?
    Originally posted by SavvyUser
    Providing you had an intention to return (after having already been resident) there should be no major problems, it's often just knowing how to word it to the council. Have you returned to live in the property ?

    As the previous post mentions, how did they know you were away ?
    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.
    • SavvyUser
    • By SavvyUser 12th Dec 17, 7:38 PM
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    SavvyUser
    • #6
    • 12th Dec 17, 7:38 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Dec 17, 7:38 PM
    Hi

    Yes, I have returned to live in my property since 2016. It was a long time as I did not plan to help that long - my friend was ill. I have been always paying rent for my own property since I first moved in as I am the only person in my tenancy and I want to keep it. They already accepted the fact that I did not live in my property - I provided the post sent to me at my friend's property.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Dec 17, 7:52 PM
    • 10,527 Posts
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    CIS
    • #7
    • 12th Dec 17, 7:52 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Dec 17, 7:52 PM
    Hi

    Yes, I have returned to live in my property since 2016. It was a long time as I did not plan to help that long - my friend was ill. I have been always paying rent for my own property since I first moved in as I am the only person in my tenancy and I want to keep it. They already accepted the fact that I did not live in my property - I provided the post sent to me at my friend's property.
    Originally posted by SavvyUser
    In which case there should be no issue with the discount, it's just a case of getting them to award it without needing to resort to a tribunal. Persuading them can be a pain, I've had some battles for my clients in the past but it often comes down to how it's worded.
    Last edited by CIS; 12-12-2017 at 8:01 PM.
    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.
    • SavvyUser
    • By SavvyUser 12th Dec 17, 8:01 PM
    • 6 Posts
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    SavvyUser
    • #8
    • 12th Dec 17, 8:01 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Dec 17, 8:01 PM
    I asked them about this 3 times and this is their last wording: 'You cannot claim single occupancy discount on a property that is empty. You are being billed the full rate for an empty property/ second home for the period you were not living in the property.'

    Can you advise me how to persuade them on which ground please?
    • CIS
    • By CIS 12th Dec 17, 8:23 PM
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    CIS
    • #9
    • 12th Dec 17, 8:23 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Dec 17, 8:23 PM
    You would need to argue your case on the back of 'sole or main residence' and 'intention to return' which allows you as sole occupier to retain the single person discount as per the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
    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.
    • SavvyUser
    • By SavvyUser 12th Dec 17, 9:11 PM
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    SavvyUser
    Thank you so much! This is very helpful.

    I still have another aspect of my Council Tax that I need to argue. I have not appealed to the manager. I just would like to learn more first to have more legal grounds before approaching him. Please can you advise or let me know if anything is unclear.

    The period I was away is to care for my friend who has been having depression and on ESA. The Council rejected to grant the exemption on my account on the grounds of !!!8220;away providing care!!!8221;. I did not receive any carer's benefit at all. He has suicidal thoughts and I could not stand the thought that he could do anything silly anytime and just so quickly helped him at the time without thinking to get anything official. I literally lived in his living room. I now even still care for him but not in his house any more. We just recently requested the Dr's notes in the past but not sure we could have them back. Of course, the Dr also did not say anything official that he required care.

    Their reasons are:
    1. The benefit evidence that you have provided for Mr X does not demonstrate that he has a disability or in need of personal care. You have also not provided evidence of any carers allowance/ benefits you received for the period in question, or a letter from Mr X!!!8217;s doctor to confirm he could not live alone, so I have no evidence to suggest that you needed to be living with him.
    2. The legislation does not provide a breakdown of the evidence that is acceptable, but states that the person must require care due to !!!8220;old age, disablement, past or present alcohol or drug dependency or past or present mental disorder!!!8221; (Council Tax Law and Practice: England and Wales, 2016).
    3. If you moved into a property in the capacity of a carer we would expect that you would have a bedroom to sleep in.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Dec 17, 11:47 AM
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    • 6,082 Thanks
    CIS
    Thank you so much! This is very helpful.

    I still have another aspect of my Council Tax that I need to argue. I have not appealed to the manager. I just would like to learn more first to have more legal grounds before approaching him. Please can you advise or let me know if anything is unclear.

    The period I was away is to care for my friend who has been having depression and on ESA. The Council rejected to grant the exemption on my account on the grounds of “away providing care”. I did not receive any carer's benefit at all. He has suicidal thoughts and I could not stand the thought that he could do anything silly anytime and just so quickly helped him at the time without thinking to get anything official. I literally lived in his living room. I now even still care for him but not in his house any more. We just recently requested the Dr's notes in the past but not sure we could have them back. Of course, the Dr also did not say anything official that he required care.

    Their reasons are:
    1. The benefit evidence that you have provided for Mr X does not demonstrate that he has a disability or in need of personal care. You have also not provided evidence of any carers allowance/ benefits you received for the period in question, or a letter from Mr X’s doctor to confirm he could not live alone, so I have no evidence to suggest that you needed to be living with him.
    2. The legislation does not provide a breakdown of the evidence that is acceptable, but states that the person must require care due to “old age, disablement, past or present alcohol or drug dependency or past or present mental disorder” (Council Tax Law and Practice: England and Wales, 2016).
    3. If you moved into a property in the capacity of a carer we would expect that you would have a bedroom to sleep in.
    Originally posted by SavvyUser
    Arguing that side of the issue is pushing well in to disputing points of legislation and case law / VT decisions.
    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.
    • SavvyUser
    • By SavvyUser 13th Dec 17, 1:23 PM
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    SavvyUser
    I am sorry but what does VT stand for?
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 13th Dec 17, 2:32 PM
    • 10,731 Posts
    • 8,983 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    Valuation Tribunal
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