Letting agency didn't pay my council tax

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    Letting agency didn't pay my council tax

    Hello all,

    I rented a studio apartment through a letting agency in Newcastle from December 2020 until July 2021. My council tax was supposed to be included in the rent and paid by the agency. This was confirmed over the phone before signing the tenancy agreement and in writing in the agreement itself. I paid my rent in full and on time every month until I moved out.

    Around the end of my tenancy there I received a council tax bill stating that absolutely no council tax was paid. I quickly raised it with both the council and my letting agency. The agency instructed me to apply for a single person discount on the council website and to send them a confirmation after it's done. After I did this, they ensured me it will be taken care of and they will pay the outstanding tax. I also made sure to inform the council about my moving out from there and provided my new address to avoid any problems in the future.

    However, in December I received a new council tax bill informing me about an outstanding balance (including court costs) of £327.57 (!!!). I called the council again to explain this and they said that it wasn't paid in full and that ultimately I am responsible for paying it, not the agency. I emailed the agency again and they said they are looking into this, but today I received yet another letter from the council that I have only 14 days to pay it.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated. How can I protect my money here? How can I make the agency pay the outstanding money? What if they just say no? They are saying they are looking into this, but I feel like I should start preparing to protect my money somehow... Should I pay the council before they enforce the collection (with fees) and then get a solicitor to sue the agency for a breach of agreement and additional fees (not to mention the constant stress of this whole thing reocurring!).

    Thank you all.

    #2
    Definitely pay the council, you can go to prison for not paying council tax.

    You don't need a solicitor to sue the agent, you can use Money Claim Online.

    But check the tenancy agreement, it's not usual for a letting agent to pay 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


      #3
      Thank you. Wrong forum. Please remove the post.

      Comment


        #4
        I rented a studio apartment
        Self contained, or were you sharing a bathroom and/or kitchen?

        The only situation where a landlord/agent would be leaglly liable for paying the council tax would be if the tenanted property was a HMO. (Licensable or not).

        If it isn't a HMO the the tenant is legally liable to pay the council tax so it's your liability to pay the council.

        The council also think that it's your liability so you had better pay them now, or set up a payment plan, to avoid ending up in court.

        You can then argue the toss about what the the tenancy agreement said with the agency/landlord, but that's nothing to do with who is legally liable to pay CT so nothing to do with the council.

        PS. Councils have been known to get such things wrong, and they don't know when a property has become a 'small' HMO unless someone tells them so. But even if it is/was a HMO pay them now and argue about that later.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by nukecad View Post
          The only situation where a landlord/agent would be leaglly liable for paying the council tax would be if the tenanted property was a HMO. (Licensable or not).
          At the risk of being picky, the HMO rules for council tax are different to the HMO rules for other purposes.

          Council tax is payable by the landlord if there is more than one person renting a property and they are not joint and several tenants.
          Even If the property is an HMO (in Housing Act terms), if all of the occupants are joint and several tenants, the council tax liability remains with them.
          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


            #6
            Take this seriously. Council tax debt is I think the only debt you can go to jail for.
            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


              #7
              I suggest a meeting at the council prior to the court date. They often meet those appearing on summons in the corridor before the matter gets into court (on the day) and the matter is temporarily withdrawn (or fully withdrawn) once circumstances are known. Go in and see what they say. If you can't then the advice to pay is probably appropriate although I have on occasions found for the person owing the money and given them more time to sort the matter due to circumstances but there is no guarantee that would happen.
              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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