Council tax chasing because estate agents haven't provided tenancy agreement

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    Council tax chasing because estate agents haven't provided tenancy agreement

    Hi everyone,

    I am being chased by Birmingham City Council for Tax dating back 2 years.
    Duding this time the property was let out under fully managed agreement. I signed a business let agreement between my self and the Estate agent.
    Trouble is the estate agent has failed to inform the council of Tenants during let and now after I have taken over and updateding council of new tenants they have made me liable.
    The rent was received every month from the estate agent in to my account which I have sent to council.
    Trouble is they want actual tenancy agreements from the estate agent. I have tried calling them but can't get hold of them. I had the misfortune of using the dodgiest estate agent in uk. So as it stands I have business let agreement which specifies that it is part of there responsibility to update the council of tenants. Proof of rental income. But non of this sufficient according to council & they want tenancy agreement, yet I can not get hold as estate agents. Are closed and he doesn't answer his mobile or office. Council have been informed of all this, they still insist on tenancy agreement
    Where do I stand with Council tax. Am I liable? Please advise
    Tia

    #2
    It's most likely you will have to pay, as the council are very quick at getting judgements and CCJ, and Bailiffs to retrieve the money. If you can't get hold of the LA, then your only thing you can do is see if they were signed to the Ombudsmanif they are signed up to one, if not then you really should check out the agents before handing them the keys to let out your property.

    If you gave the property to the LA where they they T or the LL, if you have a business let agreement, as in that case they may be one's who have to pay the council tax all depends on what agreement it was that you signed.

    Comment


      #3
      Or you can take the case to tribunal for a determination on liability. Just because the council wants to see a tenancy agreement despite whatever other evidence you have provided doesn't make that a requirement in law. Tribunal will determine it on the evidence available on I'm guessing balance of probabilities?
      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


        #4
        Originally posted by KTC View Post
        Or you can take the case to tribunal for a determination on liability. Just because the council wants to see a tenancy agreement despite whatever other evidence you have provided doesn't make that a requirement in law. Tribunal will determine it on the evidence available on I'm guessing balance of probabilities?
        Tbf this is what my gut feeling was as well.
        ​​​​​​
        In the agents contract it stipulates that he is the one responsible for updating the council. I have proof of rental income from him. In my view its him that council should be chasing for council tax as he hasn't fulfilled his obligations as per contract. Furthermore if a agent goes bust & landlord is unable to get hold of them, although he has signed agreement and rental income how is it on landlord to pay council tax.
        I already pay council tax on my main dwelling and the property was not empty during this 2 year period as per rental payments coming in.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Most View Post
          ​​​​​​
          In the agents contract it stipulates that he is the one responsible for updating the council. I have proof of rental income from him. In my view its him that council should be chasing for council tax....
          That's just wishful thinking and isn't listed in the council tax hierarchy of responsibility for obvious reasons;

          https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ho...the%20property.

          Follow the appeals process. To the letter, with evidence and proof of all communications;

          https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/2...uncil_tax_bill

          Comment


            #6
            Your issue is that the council tax liability is based on residence (not a tenancy) - the agent, with whom you do have a contract wasn't (presumably) in occupation, so the tenancy agreement with them is of no use.
            You can't transfer liability from you, as owner, to anyone who is not a resident, so It isn't possible to pass liability from you to the agent.

            I think, based on the regulations, that you are liable for the tax, unless you can show otherwise.
            You have no evidence that anyone meets the criteria to be responsible for the council tax ahead of you.

            You need evidence of a resident's tenancy agreement (or possibly licence) for the whole property for more than six months and some evidence that it actually happened.
            For all you know, the property could have been empty for all or some of the period, or may have been let on a basis (a weekly or monthly let or to multiple people) where the council tax liability remained with you as owner, anyway.

            You have a claim against the agent for a breach of the contract terms which has caused (from the sounds of things) a considerable loss.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              I'm assuming you don't even have any paperwork on who was renting the property during this time, you could try and trace these T's and see if they have a tenancy agreement (chances are they wont as they wont keep them too long after the tenancy has ended).

              Comment


                #8
                This wasn't a rent-to-rent agreement by any chance was it? Is the estate agent your tenant, who in turns is the landlord of the occupier?
                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


                  #9
                  Remember that even though the A.S.T. may state that the sub-tenants must pay the council tax, but no bills were received, then they won't want to pay now, even those that have long gone and probably untraceable.

                  But where did the council tax bills go to ?

                  I assume to the property to which the council tax applies, and the sub-tenants should have paid it. and for what ever reason they did not pay.

                  First you contact the current tenants and ask why they have not paid the council tax bill sent to their address. If they come back saying it was not in their name, just say, that is immaterial, the tax is for that address, and you ( tenants ) live at that address, and you ( landlord ) are about to be taken to court for them not paying the council tax bills that came to the property address. and if thaat happenss, you will sue the tenants.

                  If the letting agents are closed and wont answer the phone, then you have to assume they are no longer trading, and they have breached the contract with you regarding council tax, and therefore you tell them they are sacked with immediate effect and write to the tenants stating you are the landlord and have taken over the agents role, as they have closed, and to send the rent direct to you.
                  Prove who you are, and possible copy of the agreement between you and the agent.

                  Try that ploy first to see what happens; to reduce the cost to you.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just pay now, TODAY, "under protest" to avoid fines or worse (***).

                    Then get the paperwork together and keep council happy, even if that's through gritted teeth.

                    (****). Council tax arrears are I think unique in having the risk of going to jail. Remember talking to a magistrate about it, she'd sent two people down, a risk to be avoided.

                    Sounds like fire agent at end of current tenancy.

                    Trouble is, to be a lettings agent in England requires no qualifications, no training, no criminal records check. The office could be staffed by ex-lags on early release from their sentences for GBH and fraud. Other countries do things better. Come on England, catch up!
                    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                      Just pay now, TODAY, "under protest" to avoid fines or worse (***).

                      Then get the paperwork together and keep council happy, even if that's through gritted teeth.

                      (****). Council tax arrears are I think unique in having the risk of going to jail. Remember talking to a magistrate about it, she'd sent two people down, a risk to be avoided.
                      That's a very good point. Shades of debtors' prisons.

                      But it works both ways. I was summonsed for non payment of council tax on a rental property. Out of 250 rubber stamped hearings I was the only defendant to turn up in person.

                      The council legal team agreed it had been settled and everything was fine just before the hearing. They really didn't want me to turn up before the magistrates. But I was there anyway so insisted.

                      The head magistrate (CC judge?) was delightfully nice to me and then spent five minutes ripping into the incompetent council.

                      It was worth it just for that.

                      Comment

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