Is this uninhabitable for council tax purposes?

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    Is this uninhabitable for council tax purposes?

    Hello. I have a property that the tenants vacated Oct 09. Initially the agents wanted to re-let, and a six months unfurnished/empty council tax was applied for/granted. After I had a look at the property I decided it needed a good refurbishment. The builders removed the ancient heating system, and ripped out the kitchen & bathroom. Due to personal circumstances (my mum developed cancer) I took my eye off the ball and the the builder seriously over-ran on timings. Result the six month unoccupied/unfurnished ran out in March. I applied for the 12 month 'uninhabitable' council tax exemption - had an inspection and it was refused.

    The council (Winchester) say having no bathroom fittings (toilet, bath, shower, whb ), no heating system, and no kitchen does not qualify as 'uninhabitable', that it has to be structural ie no roof. My argument is that if Environmental Health had inspected they would clearly state it was 'uninhabitable'.

    Are the Council right on this one? If only structural qualifies then clearly CT is payable. Or does 'uninhabitable' qualify and the Council are just being difficult and I've got a case to appeal. Any legislation I can quote to help my case ? Property has been provisionally let, tenants due in mid June - so the CT will cost £290 (£116 per month).

    #2
    I had a similar problem with a council after a previous occupant lied about moving out to avoid CT. The council accepted the fraudulent claim and began a 6 month CT exemption.

    I was doing a complete refurbishment and when I asked about a CT exemption for my ownership was told that a 6 month exemption can only last 6 months regardless of any change in ownership. Seems odd, what would the council do, chase the mortgage company for council tax if the property did not sell within the 6 months exempt period?

    Having researched this online and then speaking to other councils, they all said the same. "Uninhabitable" for council tax exemption purposes means major works such as walls out, roof off, no doors, almost a shell basically. The standards for inhabitable and uninhabitable for council tax or living accomodation for a tenant are different.

    I also found that a 6 month exemption cannot start again until after 6 weeks of occupancy and paid CT.

    At least you know they are being consistent with other councils.

    pm
    Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

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      #3
      Thanks pm

      Not what I wanted to hear, but at least I know. Saves me thinking there was a chance.

      Cheers

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        #4
        i managed to get a property considered "uninhabitable" for council tax purposes a few years back during a full renovation similar to yours. They didn't inspect it, but i sent pictures of the works which satisfied them. I really don't see how they can consider a house with no kitchen or bathroom uninhabitable, but councils do tend to have some funny ideas and they do vary considerably from one area to another.

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          #5
          I had a similar experience. The council were happy to grant 6 months exemption but wouldn't allow any longer due to uninhabitable.My council had no person to inspect so I sent photo's of the areas that I thought were applicable. A cooker socket above the sink and a collapsing floor under the bath. I think health and safety quickly came into play. Was given 12 months straight away.

          I think health and safety is the thing to focus on to convince them.
          Hope this helps.
          Mrs Dingle

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