Jump to content


Please note that this topic has not had any new posts for the last 3608 days.

If you are trying to post a different story then you should start your own new thread. Posting on this thread is likely to mean that you won't get the help and advice that you need.

If you are trying to post information which is relevant to the story in this thread then please flag it up to the site team and they will allow you to post.

Thank you

Recommended Posts

Hi guys

First post so sorry if its in the wrong place

 

I received a demand for council tax arrears of £2300 for the period 1999-2001 on a property I owned but had never lived in (I lived at my parents house). The chronology on this issue is as follows:

 

1 Property exempt 1997-199 due to student tennancy.

2 1999-2001 house empty being refurbished by an ex-friend who subsequently bought the house in 2001. He committed to deal with all council tax issues, and bills until completion of the sale.

3 2010 I receive demand for arrears.

 

I contacted the council, speaking to five different officers with reponses varying from aggressive threats of bailiffs to very helpful. The helpful officer said all commincation had been addressed to me and sent to the property in question. When I explained the situation she said that my ex-friend had been to the council in 2003 to stop bailiffs and to commit to supplying evidence of refurbishment work on the house. This was never done and this is the last date of any communication related to the case. I know I have a problem because of the lack of any evidence of the agreement that my ex-friend deal with the council, and I have no idea where he is now. Also I cannot prove that I paid rent and council tax at my parents house because I was only registered to vote there from 2003.

 

My defence is based on the fact that I was unable to comply because I received no communication. I would have applied for non-occupancy exemption had I been aware, and possibly I could argue that the council had not taken reasonable efforts to find my address (They would know from 2003, and prior to this my name and address is on the tennancy agreements I submiited for student exemption)

 

I have managed to secure a meeting this week to discuss the case and I will be submitting a written statement, and also requesting a full SAR.

 

I accept that I am liable (for being stupid and not informing the council myself rather than rely on my ex-friend), but perhaps I can negotiate a reduction based on some of the arguments above. I am worried though about the potential of bailiffs being involved.

 

Any advice/suggestions etc would be very much appreciated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest you contact the Council again and ask

1 - how many Liability Orders they have

2 - how much each one is for

3 - how much is still outstanding on each

4 - what periods of time each one covers

5 - the date each Liability Order was applied for

6 - if or when any Order was passed to the Bailiff for collection

 

There has to an Order for each year or part year the Liability was due for. For the period of time you say is due there may be up 4 Orders possibly. As they seem to recollect your friend disputing at some stage I would be also tempted to SAR the Council - some do this free of charge others charge £10 - to see what if anything that produces. As belts need to tightened the Councils are now actively chasing old debts but unfortunately the onus is still on the likes of yourself to provide any information as to why you may not have to pay.

 

As this may take a little while to sort out you should also ask them to hold off on any enforcement action for a period of time, say 28 days. You should also get your local Councillor involved.

 

PT

Please consider making a small donation to help keep this site running

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Plod

Thanks for the response. 3 liability orders were issued, one for part of 1999, one for all of 2000 and one for part of 2001. Bailiffs have not been involved, but most officers I speak to use it as a threat citing the additional charges levied by bailiffs. I will SAR them asking for all the detail. Hadn't considered getting the councillor involved, but hey any help is welcome.

Cheers

Link to post
Share on other sites

The one thing you must remember is that now they know that you know about this they will be pressing for payment. You have to remember that Liability for CT comes down to a simple yes or no answer. That is the reason for contacting your Councillor or asking for extra time in order to allow you to research where this leads. If your friend has at some time moaned about bailiffs being involved then the Council must have a record of this and it sounds as if there will be a report from the Bailiff.

 

In my view you can contact your Counciloor at any time up to 9pm 7 days a week, if they moan remind them they sought public office and if they fail to act you will take it up with the Leader of the Council or their Party hierachy.

 

PT

Please consider making a small donation to help keep this site running

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You dont need to SAR anyone for find out the fees. they are swt by law - £24.50 a visit, £18.00 for a 2nd visit.

 

I know this is not good news, but a liability order document has no end-date, therefore it never goes out of time, however the council must have the liability in place before the debt is more than 6 years old.

 

If the bailiff brought you the first knowledge of the liability then the council is non-compliant.

 

The law says the council must send you a "final notice" or a "reminder" by post to your current address before making an application to a magistrate for a Liability order against you. As there is compelling evidence the council failed to do this, you can ask the council to roll the case back to pre-liability order stage and cease enforcement action immediately.

 

The law is Section 33(3) and 34(1) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/613/regulation/33/made

 

Contact the council and ask them to comply with Regulation 33(3) and 34(1), but if they are unwilling to do so, then you have a right to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to intervene. You can even ask for compensation, the award of this type of non-compliance by a council is typically about £100 per instance. Awards can be more if you have already received a bailiff or paid a sum of money to one.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Fork-it

 

Thanks for this, I have the regulations but from what I can ascertain from speaking to council officers they sent all the appropriate notices to the property in question, obviously assuming that i lived there. My first knowledge was the demand Oct 23, 2010. As far as the council is concerned they complied with the regulations. (I need to SAR them to obtain specific details of what went on with this case). I could not comply because of lack of knowledge, the question is whether the council followed due process in identifying where i lived. The levels of responsibility to ensure that documentation is personally received is not clear, not to me anyway. My argument is that the council had ample opportuntiy to find me in 1999-2001 because my name and address was on the tennancy agreements pre-1999 which they have confirmed they keep in archives. Secondly in 2003 when my Ex-friend went to the council they could have obtained my address off him (he was still my friend then!!).

 

Any further thoughts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Guys

As you know I have a meeting with the council to dispute my liability for a council tax debt. Just a couple of questions:

 

1. If I make an offer to start paying something is that legally admitting the whole debt?

 

2. The council dont know my current address, all communication is C/O at the address they sent the demand to. Am I under any obligation to, or should I let them know my real address? What should I do if they ask where I work? (There is a liability order that I have never seen).

 

3. I have already obtained a statutory declaration stating that all the property at the C/O address belongs to my parents.

 

I have tried to cover all the bases here, if they play the bailiff card I am prepared for that (because of all the fab information on this forum) , but I want to keep the focus of the discussion on the question of liability. I suspect that they will try to obtain my current address and place of work.

 

Any advice welcome

Thanks

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Guys

As you know I have a meeting with the council to dispute my liability for a council tax debt. Just a couple of questions:

 

1. If I make an offer to start paying something is that legally admitting the whole debt?

 

Yes

 

 

2. The council dont know my current address, all communication is C/O at the address they sent the demand to. Am I under any obligation to, or should I let them know my real address? What should I do if they ask where I work? (There is a liability order that I have never seen).

 

 

See my post above, and but I am not sure if you have an obligaiton to give your current address.

 

 

3. I have already obtained a statutory declaration stating that all the property at the C/O address belongs to my parents.

 

Then you can now rely on Section 7 of the Intermpretation Act 1978 because your Statutory Declaration is evidence to the contrary that service of the reminder or Final Notice has not been properly effected.

 

I have tried to cover all the bases here, if they play the bailiff card I am prepared for that (because of all the fab information on this forum) , but I want to keep the focus of the discussion on the question of liability. I suspect that they will try to obtain my current address and place of work.

 

They can do that quite easily, only if a letter or demand is returned DLO. A lookup on CitizenView would reveal your current address based on your recent financal transactions.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Guys

All I can say is what an anticlimax!

I went with the intention of putting my case but the officer (very helpful, thats 2 out 6 who have been helpful) just accepted my statement and SAR, and explained how the appeal process worked. He also confirmed that I had complied with the letter requesting payment within 14 days or informing them if I was disputing liability and that this put a hold on further action. He did try to extract payment by asking me if I worked and suggesting I could pay in installments to which I responded that it would not make sense to pay becuse I was disputing liability and to do so would aknowledge liability for the debt. I have receipts for everything.

 

If only those idiots who i spoke to on the phone last week had simply explained this to me rather than threaten bailiff action then I would not have panicked. I can see now why many people do panic and pay up.

 

Clearly I am still not out of the woods but at least I understand the process and have time to prepare my case. Normally the result of an appeal is given within 14 days, although it may take longer in this case because of the SAR. Fine by me, gives me more time and makes them do more work. Hopefully if I continue to press they might take the view that its not worth pursuing.

 

I will keep you all posted

 

Can I just thank everybody for the help and support that has been forthcoming, had I not found this site I think there is a good chance I might have folded and paid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You will have to be careful over whether you were liable or not. The answer to this is only yes or no, there is no maybe or middle ground. You have said you owned the property for the period concerned even if you never lived there. A friend worked to do the place up and bought from you in 2001. This still leaves you liable until the point of sale. If you rely on your friend having notified the Council during the period of renovation and they did not do this, then you as the owner are still held liable. I fear without better and more evidence you may have a struggle.

 

I appreciate you may not like what I have written above but am trying to put things into perspective and how the Council may think. I do however hope you can prove things otherwise and it turns out OK.

 

PT

Please consider making a small donation to help keep this site running

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Plod

Yeah no worries, I am cognisant of how this looks and I am actively seeking as much evidence as I can that I was living at a different address and paying council tax there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...