Non registered property

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    Non registered property

    Hi all,

    Have been renting a property from my landlord for over 10 years and always paid on time and been a good tenant. A couple of years ago, the landlord built two brand new flats, and offered me to move into one of them. As it was a brand new property (studio flat), I moved in to one of the flats. I signed a standard tenancy agreement for 12 months, and was told by the landlord that all bills were included in the rent.

    I have now received a backdated council tax bill for the time I've stayed here, and when I questioned the landlord about it, it transpired that the flats were and are not registered, in other words, illegal builds.

    Will I have to pay the council tax? even though the landlord said it was included in the rent.
    Also, can I reclaim some of the rent? as he at no point has made it clear to me that the property was not registered?

    Most grateful for any advice.

    Thanks,

    Denize

    #2
    Do you have it in writing that its included in the rent?

    http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...-with-landlord

    What's the reasoning behind thinking you're due a rent rebate? Has finding out the property status somehow diminished your time living at the property?
    "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

    What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your reply.

      I have a standard tenancy agreement, where the council tax, water and electricity has been crossed out. All bills are in the landlords name.

      The reasoning behind thinking I should be due a rent rebate, is because I agreed to pay a slightly higher rent than the going market rate for similar properties in the area, just because it included all bills. Finding out the property status has by no means diminished my time living at the property, but it has made me question the landlords honesty and integrity, as he at no point made it clear to me that the property wasn't registered. In fact, when I moved in, he told me it would take a month or two for the registration to take effect. He has obviously benefitted financially as a result of his actions.

      This obviously raises the question of what the next step will be. I have contacted the council, who will send someone around to have a look at the property, but what if they don't grant the landlord building permission in retrospect. Will they then demolish the property, and I will find myself homeless and potentially risk loosing my deposit?

      Comment


        #4
        An unregistered property is not necessarily an illegal build.
        It's unlikely a council would try and claim council tax on an illegal property.

        The person who should be paying the council tax is the landlord, and you need to speak to them about contacting the council and paying the council tax.
        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


          #5
          Who has sent you the claim for Council Tax? The Council or the Landlord?

          If it is the Council then just copy the relevant page of your tenancy agreement and reply to them stating that the landlord assumed resposiblility and they should persue them.

          I don't see how you would lose your deposit if the building is being demolished (if it gets that far). There would be no damage to compensate for. I assume the deposit is protected. Therefore your defence to any claim for deduction would be that no repair is required due to the property being listed for demolition by the Council.

          The only reason I can see for a rent rebate is if you were found liable for the Council Tax - which seems very unlikely.
          There is always scope for misinterpretation.

          If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

          Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for all your advice. The council have sent a bill out, as I have informed them that I am the tenant at the property. They are also sending someone from the Valuation Office Agency, to value the property and ensure it's put on the right banding. I guess that means that they will not demolish it after all.

            If I am made to pay for it, and I were to apply for a rent rebate, what would be the procedure? would I need to take the landlord to court?

            I spoke to him this morning, and he confessed to not having registered the property, and he said he doesn't know what is going to happen to it, now that the council is aware of it's existence.

            Thanks in advance.

            Comment


              #7
              You don't apply for a rent rebate.

              You tell the landlord that he's got a bill coming for the council tax he charged you and tried to evade by not telling the council.

              You contact the council and tell them that the landlord is responsible for paying the council tax and give them his details.
              The council may take a bit of persuading because it's not normal, but (eventually) they'll credit you and bill the landlord.
              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


                #8
                Take things one step at a time.

                Firstly, copy the relevant pages of the tenancy agreement - one with the details of the property, one where it states the bills are included and finally the signature page. Pass these to the council with a covering letter stating that you are not responsible for the council tax as the landlord has assumed responsibility under the terms of your tenancy. Post them to the officer dealing with the case not the valuation officer - it is unlikely they are the same person or, indeed, in the same section or department.

                Secondly, wait, yes wait, for the council to respond. It is NOT unusual for a landlord to be responsible for the council tax - indeed there are plenty of threads on here where the council have persued the landlords on the basis that the tenant's aren't responsible.

                If they still insist on persuing you then come back here for some more advice. Contrary to the name of the site, the vast majority of members just want to make sure all parties (landlord or tenant) understand their rights and liabilities when it comes to residentail lettings in the UK. There are plenty of examples of [being very polite] bad landlords being taken to task by the forum members.

                Finally, DO NOT worry or stress about what MIGHT happen. Deal with the primary issue right in front of you - demonstrating the landlord is liable for the council tax - then respond after the council have had a think about your letter and tenancy agreement.
                There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                Comment


                  #9
                  AFAIK, in Law the occupant is resp forC Tax (unless HMO) and Council may well decide OP is liable, so OP would have to sue LL for amount claimed based on T&Cs of AST agreed.
                  OP should get TRO on their side, making it more likely Council will pursue the property owner.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks all.

                    I have submitted a copy of the tenancy agreement to the council and also a note explaining that all bills were included in the rent. Waiting to hear the outcome. I'm hoping they will make the landlord liable, on the basis that he intentionally refrained from registering the property.
                    You're right, worrying about the consequences doesn't solve anything. Went to speak to the landlord today and he has confessed to not registering the property with the intention of evading council tax liability. He also admitted that he doesn't have building permission for any of the flats, so I'm not quite sure what to do. I like the area, and have been living here for quite some time, but on the other hand, I don't want to rent from a dishonest landlord so I'm tempted to terminate the contract and leave.

                    Comment

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