Landlord council tax liability

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    Landlord council tax liability

    I let a property in march to a young couple who after 2 months their circumstances had changed and they wanted to move. Not wishing to hold a tenant in a property I agreed to end the tenancy early but did insist that they pay for expenses relating to it I.e. readvertising, deposit protection etc. they agreed and I relet the property on 20th July. On 19th July they signed a deed of surrender. However they had actually moved out of the property on 28th June and had phoned the council tax dept to say they'd moved out. When I phoned council on 23rd July to give new tenants details I was told i was liable person from 28june to 19th July. It went back and forth a few times until they asked to see deed of surrender. I sent them a copy which says tenant gives up possession etc and it's dated 19th July. They are now saying I owe 1 day as deed of surrender is dated 19th and new tenancy dated 20th.

    I know it's only one day but these monkeys are driving me crazy. Obviously the intention was that the last day of one tenancy is 19th and first day on new tenancy 20th but they are interpreting it as last day is 18th.

    What do people think? I know I should just pay the £2.80 but I've phoned and emailed them so many times and they are so difficult I really don't feel like it.

    Thanks

    #2
    This is a common issue.
    Liability is calculated on a daily basis, and Section 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 states the following:

    it shall be assumed that any state of affairs subsisting at the end of the day had subsisted throughout.
    So IMHO as the tenancy ends when the deed of surrender is executed (on the 19th), on that day the "state of affairs subsisting at the end of the day" is that there is no tenant hence the landlord is liable.

    Comment


      #3
      I understand what you're saying. The intention of the deed of surrender was to end the tenancy on a certain day, I.e. the 19th. Therefore my understanding was the last day of the tenancy was the 19th. This includes the period up until midnight on 19th I would have thought. Therefore there was a tenant at the end of 19th and a different tenant end of 20th. In future I could date deed of surrender 20th but then I'd have an overlap of effectively 2 tenancies existing on 20th?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jackboy View Post
        I understand what you're saying. The intention of the deed of surrender was to end the tenancy on a certain day, I.e. the 19th. Therefore my understanding was the last day of the tenancy was the 19th. This includes the period up until midnight on 19th I would have thought. Therefore there was a tenant at the end of 19th and a different tenant end of 20th. In future I could date deed of surrender 20th but then I'd have an overlap of effectively 2 tenancies existing on 20th?
        The council seem to be reading it that the tenancy ended mid-day - ie when the surrender was signed. Maybe in future specify on the deed that they are surrendering from midnight?

        Comment


          #5
          The actual deed was signed about 6pm so if the tenancy ended there and then I am really only liable for 6 hrs out of the day 18:00-24:00. However, the intention was to make the 19th as a whole day the last day of the tenancy

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jackboy View Post
            so if the tenancy ended there and then I am really only liable for 6 hrs out of the day 18:00-24:00.
            No. See statute quoted in post #2.

            Comment


              #7
              Haha, looks like I'm going to have to pay it then. The amount of hassle dealing with these idiots in the first place and now they still going to make me pay £2.80 :-)

              Comment


                #8
                That can't be right. You've not had possession of the house at any point so can't be liable, surely. I'd go to the council again.

                Comment


                  #9
                  It's a waste of time arguing with the council.
                  Pay the bill first.
                  Then ask them to give you a final decision and details of the Valuation Tribunal appeals process.
                  They will then send you this link;

                  http://www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk/Council_Tax.aspx

                  Then appeal (free) to the Valuation Tribunal.

                  If you don't get a final decision or sent the link from the council your appeal won't be valid. You have to appeal within 2 months of the final decision or from the date of your initial complaint if they ignore you.

                  Once you have lodged a valid appeal and have a hearing date the council will take you seriously and (may) apply common sense- probably the day before the hearing. The council workers have no discretion to make human decisions up to this point.

                  Be aware of council ploys of 'losing' correspondence, cherry picking parts of your emails out of context, implied threats about HMRC, claims your appeal is invalid and anything else they can think of to make you drop it.

                  It is a silly policy with no rhyme or reason that was made by a few councillors depending on their politics and personal opinion of landlords.
                  N.B do not make your appeal against council policy- it will not be allowed. You are appealing because they have calculated your liability incorrectly.

                  Can you name your local authority so others can be forwarned?

                  The more landlords that appeal this nonsense, the more likely councils will adopt a fair and reasonable policy on empty properties.

                  Comment

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