Exemption from Council Tax

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    Exemption from Council Tax

    I have been refused my one months exemption because my TT moved out three months before his tenancy ended. Rents continued to be paid but he told council that property was empty and they Allowed him the one months exemption. I have been in dialogue with them and referred to the Leeds council vs Broadley case etc but they tell me that this case makes the TT liable for the CT and TT notified them that property was empty so they gave him the one months exemption which I can now not claim. Their reasoning being that he was still paying CT and did indeed after the one month! I would like to assume that the Court fully meant that CT should be paid in full by TT, and that exemption could not be claimed, but the case does not explicitly state this. My TA does not refer to situations like this although it will in future.

    Anyone had any experience with this or whether there is any case law that says that an exemption period cannot be applied for within the Leeds council case?

    Thanks

    #2
    Can you define what you mean by moving out? Has he surrendered his keys and vacated the property in full?

    Unless he surrendered the property to you, he still occupy it, after all he can move in at any time.

    If he has surrendered the keys to you and moved out completely, and just settling his outstanding AST months then you would be liable.

    It all depends on whether you accepted his Surrender IMO.

    Comment


      #3
      He moved out but the tenancy continued and he met all his rent and utilities until the correct termination date three months later.

      The issue seems to be whether a Council can legally accept the right to an exemption by a TT who has moved out but still has beneficial interest. The Leeds vs Broadley case does not go into detail on exemptions but I would like to think that if a TT had a beneficial right to the property that they should be liable for full CT and not be able to claim the exemption. My Council, of course, don’t see it like this and state that he is still liable for full CT but that the exemption period can be claimed as part of ‘being liable for the CT’!

      Comment


        #4
        As discussed on lots of threads here, there are different levels of liability. There are circumstances (this one) where the tenant is not liable to pay council tax to the council (i.e. you are the one the council will prosecute) but that does not mean that T does not owe council tax (to you if not the council directly, if their contract makes them liable to cover it).

        So you pay the council and then sue the tenant - which is what I suggest you do.

        Comment


          #5
          Have you actually explained this to the tenant. He/she may simply not realise and may be taking the words of the council to mean that it is not payable at all at any level (by them)?

          Comment


            #6
            Ive heard of this happening before. I believe that the one month exemption you refer to is discretionary rather than statutory, so I don't believe that the Broadly case would apply.

            Comment


              #7
              Assuming that the tenant (does TT mean anything specific?) was entitled to apply for the exemption then they have done nothing wrong. The fact that you now can't claim another month's exemption is between you and the council.

              Not so many councils even offer an exemption period any more, but it would be available to the person liable - i.e., the tenant.

              One example of a specific policy... https://www.newforest.gov.uk/article...pty-properties

              "Where a tenant vacates a property before their tenancy ends, although they are liable for Council Tax until their tenancy end date, they will be entitled to claim this discount if the property is substantially unfurnished. This means that after the tenancy has ended and the owner or landlord becomes liable for Council Tax, they will be entitled to claim a discount, but only for the remainder of the one month period."

              Comment


                #8
                Ted.E.Bear,

                If that is the case (I had assumed the OP meant that T had also not paid the CT at all for the period they were not there) then I agree.

                This is the sort of problem/risk that you build into your general rate of rent (by charging higher rents to break even on the risk)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for all your comments.

                  I agree that it would appear that this is a discretionary exemption by the Council, within their own remit, and I would have to sue the T for reimbursement for breach of his TA. Costs of doing this far outweigh the gains so yet another cost to be borne by LL.........

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Would he have breached his TA though?

                    It would very much depend on the wording of the TA - most council tax clauses I've seen say things like "any council tax due" as the house is unoccupied, no council tax is due. You'd certainly need to word it in a very specific manner for a tenant to be liable.

                    The flipside is also true though, for example, I took out a tenancy agreement starting at the end of July - whilst I moved most some things in the property remained unfurnished until my furniture (and myself) moved up a few weeks later. I was liable for 100% of council tax whilst the property remained unoccupied (despite actually being liable for 75% due to the single person discount once I moved in properly).

                    It's just the way life works - the tenant is liable for council tax up until their tenancy agreement ends, and that includes taking advantage of any discounts offered by the council. The landlord is then liable for council tax from that date, including taking advantage of any discounts offered by the council...

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