Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • cooket3
    • By cooket3 13th Jan 20, 12:42 PM
    • 33Posts
    • 0Thanks
    cooket3
    Council Tax Rip off
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 20, 12:42 PM
    Council Tax Rip off 13th Jan 20 at 12:42 PM
    Hi

    Firstly I apologise if this is in the wrong section but I cannot seem to find the right place.

    I have no issues with the band or normal cost.

    I extended my house a few years ago and due to some poor builders and neighbours being a******s my builders left and I had do get new ones in and do the rest of the work myself, which has taken over a year, as I have had to save up and spend every penny I had. I now have the property up for sale and the house has been vacant for over 2 years now.

    I have been living with my partner and paying the extra 25% council tax bill, as she previoulsy was paying 75% single persons discount

    Because the house has been vacant the council are charging me 150% and this will go up to 200% in April!

    I am actively trying to sell the house and have been in a hell of a situation and the council are punishing me

    Apparently now, there are no tribunals or anywhere you can contest this rediculous charge. Is this correct? Durham County Council is my council

    I have been thinking of 'moving in' for a week then saying I have moved out but knowing my luck it wont work or I'll get fined. Plus I dont want to move back in my house as I cant stand being there due to the issues and neighbours. Plus ill be away from my family

    Is there a safe way to reduce the council tax bill or challenge it?

    Sorry for the rant!

    Thanks in advance
Page 1
    • KatrinaWaves
    • By KatrinaWaves 13th Jan 20, 12:53 PM
    • 1,124 Posts
    • 2,344 Thanks
    KatrinaWaves
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 20, 12:53 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 20, 12:53 PM

    I have been thinking of 'moving in' for a week then saying I have moved out but knowing my luck it wont work or I'll get fined. Plus I dont want to move back in my house as I cant stand being there due to the issues and neighbours. Plus ill be away from my family
    Originally posted by cooket3
    Knowing my luck my obvious fraud will be noticed...

    You could have sold the house before now. You may not have got the price you wanted, but the councils dont care about that. They set their own rules for such thins, so no you cannot challenge them.
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 13th Jan 20, 1:14 PM
    • 35,622 Posts
    • 22,488 Thanks
    DCFC79
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:14 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:14 PM
    Why has it not sold, either price, location or the house as in layout.
    Maybe post over on the House buying, renting and selling board for help on advice on selling (if you want the help).
    • cooket3
    • By cooket3 13th Jan 20, 1:18 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    cooket3
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:18 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:18 PM
    When I said 'moving in' I didnt mean lying/fraud. I meant just stay the night there and spending the rest of the time with my family.

    So I would be living there for a week
    • cooket3
    • By cooket3 13th Jan 20, 1:19 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    cooket3
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:19 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:19 PM
    Why has it not sold, either price, location or the house as in layout.
    Maybe post over on the House buying, renting and selling board for help on advice on selling (if you want the help).
    Originally posted by DCFC79
    Its only been on the market since end of September

    The house was vacant as the building work took nearly 2 years!
    • KatrinaWaves
    • By KatrinaWaves 13th Jan 20, 1:28 PM
    • 1,124 Posts
    • 2,344 Thanks
    KatrinaWaves
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:28 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 20, 1:28 PM
    When I said 'moving in' I didnt mean lying/fraud. I meant just stay the night there and spending the rest of the time with my family.

    So I would be living there for a week
    Originally posted by cooket3
    No you wouldnt.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 13th Jan 20, 2:20 PM
    • 8,962 Posts
    • 8,882 Thanks
    00ec25
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 20, 2:20 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 20, 2:20 PM
    Is there a safe way to reduce the council tax bill or challenge it?
    Originally posted by cooket3
    yes, you contact your MP and ask then to get the law changed to suit your circumstances

    Parliament passed a law that sets out the Council Tax rates and what sort of property they apply to

    the law also sets out various discounts and exemptions and the time periods those are available for

    but your time has run out and you must now pay - that is not "rip off" after 2 years, it is the law aimed at forcing owners of properties they are not using to put them back into use by selling up!


    that said, have you thought to read the rules as your options for getting the premium set aside are clearly listed thereon...
    https://www.durham.gov.uk/article/3458/Empty-properties-and-second-homes
    Last edited by 00ec25; 13-01-2020 at 2:27 PM.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 13th Jan 20, 2:22 PM
    • 11,475 Posts
    • 6,718 Thanks
    CIS
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 20, 2:22 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 20, 2:22 PM
    Because the house has been vacant the council are charging me 150% and this will go up to 200% in April!

    I am actively trying to sell the house and have been in a hell of a situation and the council are punishing me
    There are ways around the premium - furnishing of the property defeats it under the right circumstances. I do come across quite a few council's who try to act like it doesn't though, contrary to the legislation. I've had a few clients where I've had to argue the point.



    Apparently now, there are no tribunals or anywhere you can contest this rediculous charge. Is this correct? Durham County Council is my council
    The rate that is set could only be challenged by Judicial Review. If you, however, thought it had been wrongly applied to the property then that would be for the Valuation Tribunal.
    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.
    • cooket3
    • By cooket3 14th Jan 20, 1:11 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    cooket3
    • #9
    • 14th Jan 20, 1:11 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Jan 20, 1:11 PM
    No you wouldnt.
    Originally posted by KatrinaWaves
    You have no Idea what I would or would not do, so don't make a judgement on you have no insight to
    • KatrinaWaves
    • By KatrinaWaves 14th Jan 20, 1:44 PM
    • 1,124 Posts
    • 2,344 Thanks
    KatrinaWaves
    You have no Idea what I would or would not do, so don't make a judgement on you have no insight to
    Originally posted by cooket3
    Sleeping there for a week is not going to reset anything, you truly think no one came up with that master plan before?

    So therefore, sleeping there for one week would not mean you are living there.
    • cooket3
    • By cooket3 15th Jan 20, 11:15 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    cooket3
    There are ways around the premium - furnishing of the property defeats it under the right circumstances. I do come across quite a few council's who try to act like it doesn't though, contrary to the legislation. I've had a few clients where I've had to argue the point.




    The rate that is set could only be challenged by Judicial Review. If you, however, thought it had been wrongly applied to the property then that would be for the Valuation Tribunal.
    Originally posted by CIS
    Thank You

    I will be looking deeper into this. When I challenged the 150% council tax and told them I was selling my house they still said I could not claim a discount. However I got a letter through the post yesterday saying I could get a discount if I am selling. I have applied for this and hopefully works.

    I was lied to when I was told no discount was available and have it on email too, so I am not happy. But if this discount works it will be the end of my rant and anger at the council
    • cooket3
    • By cooket3 15th Jan 20, 11:18 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    cooket3
    Sleeping there for a week is not going to reset anything, you truly think no one came up with that master plan before?
    Originally posted by KatrinaWaves


    This is why I was asking, for some advice, on an ADVICE/Money Saving Forum

    So therefore, sleeping there for one week would not mean you are living there.
    Originally posted by KatrinaWaves
    Basically I was wanting to know if moving in a week reset the premium.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 15th Jan 20, 1:56 PM
    • 8,962 Posts
    • 8,882 Thanks
    00ec25
    I was lied to when I was told no discount was available and have it on email too, so I am not happy. But if this discount works it will be the end of my rant and anger at the council
    Originally posted by cooket3
    the rules are clearly set out on the Durham link I gave you, it clearly has a section on how to apply to remove the premium


    the obvious one is to have it reclassified as a second home, ie fully furnished and available for use by you
    I leave you to find out if a premium is applied to second homes in your area. It is in some holiday / tourist areas
    • cooket3
    • By cooket3 16th Jan 20, 1:09 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    cooket3
    the rules are clearly set out on the Durham link I gave you, it clearly has a section on how to apply to remove the premium


    the obvious one is to have it reclassified as a second home, ie fully furnished and available for use by you
    I leave you to find out if a premium is applied to second homes in your area. It is in some holiday / tourist areas
    Originally posted by 00ec25
    Thanks again, I am looking at this now

    I shouldn't have taken the council guys word.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 16th Jan 20, 3:00 PM
    • 11,475 Posts
    • 6,718 Thanks
    CIS
    Keep in mind that being fully furnished is not a legal requirement in respect of the premium - the legislation does not require that.



    In England a premium can only be applied to property that is both unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.



    As I always tell my clients, the devil is in the details. Premium cases can be a faff but it depends on the council.
    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.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

91Posts Today

1,244Users online

Martin's Twitter