Tenant moved out but still paying council tax.

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    Tenant moved out but still paying council tax.

    I have a tenant that moved out by her own choice because she wants to live with her new girlfriend.
    She moved out over four months ago taking all her kitchen appliances and tv etc.
    She has not been to the flat since but continues paying the council tax.
    She stopped paying her £40 per week top up in December 2019 and housing benefits stopped paying her rent in December 2021.
    To date she is in arrears of £4000, money l know l will never get back.
    l have a young family desperately wanting to move in.
    As l didn’t ask her to move out and she doesn’t live there anymore would l be in trouble if I re-let ?
    This whole situation is making me ill !
    Please help. Thank you.
    Robert.

    #2
    The tenancy has not ended because she left or because of the arrears so you need to either serve her notice (6 months) or get her to surrender the tenancy. I would guess the latter is your best bet for a quick resolution but may require you to forgive the arrears. I imagine she is benefitting from Council Tax reduction if she was on LHA so that may not be costing her anything.

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      #3
      Ok thank you for that.
      And if l do re let the flat would l be in the wrong as l have done nothing wrong ?

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        #4
        Ps.
        l served her with an official 2 months notice back in February 2020. She ignored it and continued living there until she eventually moved out of her own choice.

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          #5
          No wonder tenants run rings around landlords with comments like that “ forgive the arrears “.
          Walk out of a shop with a 50p bar of chocolate in your pocket and get arrested and charged and fined for theft !

          Comment


            #6
            Your tenant moved out in December emptying the property of her possession, coinciding with HB/UC stopping paying you the rent presumingly because she told DWP/council she's no longer living there, and you've done what in the last 4 months?

            Is she still in a fixed term tenancy? If not, when did that end? Have you spoken to her about surrending the tenancy?
            I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

            I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

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              #7
              The tenant stopped paying her rent top up of £40 per week in December 2019. I served her with the correct 2 months notice to vacate in February 2019. She ignored it and her arrears continued to rise.
              l informed the council that she had moved out, that’s why they stopped paying her housing benefit.
              l have no contact details for her so am unable to communicate.
              The tenant is now under investigation by the Benefits Fraud Department and l have written a statement and given several sets of photos showing the state of the flat that proves it is unoccupied.
              l may also be called as a witness if they take her to court.
              The local council will not comment or help in any way.
              So during the past 4 months l have done as much as I can and feel like l am banging my head against a brick wall.
              l suffer from depression and this is making it worse to the point that I have had to up my daily medication.
              Why should a perfectly able bodied person be able to claim every benefit available and be able to get away with this ?

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                #8
                There's the legally safest option, and there's the practical normal people can't believe you haven't done it yet option.

                Legally safest, you serve valid notice (again), then bring possession proceedings, then have the possession order executed if and when allowed. The notice you had serve earlier in February, you've mentioned both 2019 and 2020, isn't valid anymore, so you'll need to give a new one. Notice is currently 6 months long due to COVID-19. That increase is currently scheduled to end at the end of this month reverting to normal length after that. No one knows if it will be extended again to beyond this month. As it stand, both section 8 and section 21 are 6 months in Wales, and in England except for section 8 where the arrears is at least 6 months in amount. The powers that may aren't allowed to execute possession orders in England unless the arrears is at least 6 months, no idea about Wales.

                Practically........... just take possession of the abandoned property with a disappeared cannot be contacted tenant already.

                If the tenancy is not a fixed term or contractual periodic, and we don't know since you didn't answer that question of mine, then you are liable for council tax from and including the day the tenant left. I highly doubt the tenant is actually paying council tax so much as the council haven't gotten round to ask you for the money yet.
                I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by KTC View Post
                  Notice is currently ....
                  Actually, as the tenant is clearly no longer living there, the tenancy is no longer assured. Notice to quit, one complete period of the tenancy (monthly?) ending on the last day of the period.
                  I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                  I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thank you for that and thank you for the time you have spent in replying.
                    It is an assured short hold tenancy agreement that started in May 2019.
                    To date l have not been issued with a council tax bill and when l enquired a week last Thursday they told me that it is still being paid.
                    l can not understand why anyone would move out and continue to pay the council tax.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Robert694 View Post
                      l can not understand why anyone would move out and continue to pay the council tax.
                      Does council tax get paid by the council for people receiving housing benefit/universal credit?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yeah, there's council tax reduction which goes up to 100%. Wouldn't be suprised if someone on full HB/UC housing element has 100% reduction.
                        I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                        I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The less they have the more they get free !
                          Amazing isn’t it.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Robert694 View Post
                            No wonder tenants run rings around landlords with comments like that “ forgive the arrears “.
                            Walk out of a shop with a 50p bar of chocolate in your pocket and get arrested and charged and fined for theft !
                            I believe the poster was being realistic. Unless you have contact details, you said you don't, know they have money in the bank, which you haven't commented on, then there really is little point pursuing to a CCJ. You may be lucky and get £3.85 or thereabouts per week.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jon66 View Post

                              I believe the poster was being realistic. Unless you have contact details, you said you don't, know they have money in the bank, which you haven't commented on, then there really is little point pursuing to a CCJ. You may be lucky and get £3.85 or thereabouts per week.
                              Thank you Jon66! As you say I was looking for the pragmatic solution.

                              From the OPs other posts I think there is also a case for abandonment and taking back the property. It seems unlikely this particular tenant is going to argue they still rent the property. Makes sure you keep all records of attempts to contact the ex-tenant as proof.

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