Hi all, I'm new to the forum and really hope to get some good advice if possible.
I have received a bill from GCC for £700 due to a gentleman lying about living in my rented property in 2009/2010
I was a student at my previous property living with another 2 students under multiple occupancy although the tenancy agreement was in my name multiple occupancy was stated on it. The council tax bill was also in my name and as the other fellows were students we were all exempt from paying council tax. Received our exemption notices every year, no issues.
In 2009 a friends cousin started getting letters redirected via royal mail to my home address, I called him and told him I didn't want him to get his mail here and kept writing return to sender on the envelopes.
The letters kept coming so I eventually started opening them and calling the companies/banks to advise that the person has never stayed in my house. From opening the letters I can see that he was claiming bankruptcy as a lot of letters were from a solicitor. I learnt from the guys cousin that he was claiming bankruptcy but didn't want the courts to take his house off of him so he redirected all his letters or words to that effect.
So he was fraudulently claiming benefits and bankruptcy but I can't say anything as I shouldn't have opened his letters obviously...
A few months down the line I started getting letters from DWP, he was claiming benefits at my address even though he'd never lived here!I returned them to sender, these letters from DWP were addressed to my address as opposed to redirected.
Anyway I moved out the house a few months later and didn't think any more of it until I got a letter from BPO debt collection saying I owed them £700. I called Glasgow city Council to ask them why I'd received a letter to my new address and to inform them I was always a student in the last house so never had to pay council tax.
They informed me that they had received a signed declaration from the guy who was claiming he stayed with me saying that he was residing in my house therefore I had to pay his part of the council tax as my name was the only name on the bill. I also followed up with a letter to the same effect so that they could have my record there. They have since written back to me confirming what they said on the phone that they have a declaration from Mr so and so and also a declaration from DWP that he was living with me. They have also sent me new bills and confirmed they have communicated the info back to BPO debt collection.
My old landlord said he will write a letter to confirm the guy never lived there but if they don't believe me why would they believe him?
I managed to get a hold of this person's number through a friend of mine, I called and told the guy that he'd landed me a bill from GCC for his lies and that I'd appreciate if we could come up with some arrangement with GCC for him to pay the money, my wife is due a baby next month so I can't afford to pay it all in lump sum... The guy basically hung up (not surprised). I know he now owns a takeaway and I know where it is but I don't know his home address so I can't tell the council any info really apart from where the takeaway is and even then I'm still liable for the bill if he doesn't pay I suppose.
I'm so stuck and I have no idea what to do-if anything-he has really got me over a barrell...
Am I lumped with this debt or can I fight it? Would it even be worth taking him to a small claims court if I have to pay the council tax bill?
Any help much appreciated guys.
Thanks in advance