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Unpaid Council Tax - Court date 2 days' time


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I need some advice please.

I previously owned a house with my ex. He moved out, I tried to get a mortgage to buy him out, I had everything in place but he dragged his heels so it fell through for me.

He stopped paying his share of the mortgage, so we fell into arrears.

2 years later he got a court order to make me vacate the house so he could sell it. His solicitor demanded I hand in a set of keys for him. He gained access and changed the locks, from this point I was unable to access the house.

In Feb 09 I was forced to go bankrupt because of my ex.

I am now being chased by the council for the council tax from May 2009 to June 2010.

I have explained my case but all I get told is that we are joint and severally liable for the debt.

I do not know if they are chasing him as they asked me today if I could give them a forwarding address for him.

I have a court date of this Thursday.

I do not think it is fair or reasonable to be expected to pay this as the house basically got taken away from me.

Do I need to go to court?

Can anyone give me any advice on this matter?

Thank you

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Ok, if it was just unoccupied but still furnished then they should have reduced it by 10%, if it was both unoccupied and unfurnished then it would be exempt for 6 months meaning you pay nothing for that period. Did either of you ever live alone in the property? If you did then you were entitled to a 25% reduction for that period. Do you both still own the property? Or did you both own it until it was sold - neither of you bought the other out?

 

2 years later he got a court order to make me vacate the house so he could sell it. His solicitor demanded I hand in a set of keys for him. He gained access and changed the locks, from this point I was unable to access the house. I don't know if this would make any difference except for meaning that the place was unoccupied, as stated above. Whether you are living in a property or not, if you are responsible for it (i.e. you are still on a tenancy or the owner then you still have to pay the CT.

In Feb 09 I was forced to go bankrupt because of my ex. This could potentially be relevant to the debt, however I am not sure I'm afraid. I definitely know that bankruptcies can, and do, affect the amount to be paid back but because you went bankrupt before this debt was due that might make a difference.

I am now being chased by the council for the council tax from May 2009 to June 2010.

I have explained my case but all I get told is that we are joint and severally liable for the debt. Unfortunately this does give the council the right to either puruse both, or just one, of you for the whole debt.

I do not know if they are chasing him as they asked me today if I could give them a forwarding address for him. If you have one then make sure you provide it. I don't know how hard the council will look for your ex

I have a court date of this Thursday.

I do not think it is fair or reasonable to be expected to pay this as the house basically got taken away from me.

Do I need to go to court? Presumably you've had a summons? If so then no, you don't need to go. All the council does is obtain a liability order, which will be granted. There is nothing to contest so no point in going. It's also worth noting that council tax debts have no effect on your credit rating.

 

Sorry that I can't answer all your questions, I hope it helps a bit nonetheless.

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Strikes me as completely unfair that a partner can serve an eviction notice on their former partner and that former partner can still be held liable for council tax even though they no longer have access or legal rights to enter the property and the "evicting party" doesn't pay it.

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Well, as I said, I don't know if that would make any difference. It could do, but I personally don't know if it would I'm afraid, hopefully someone else can answer that part better than I can. There are many aspects of CT which are unfair.

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There is a heirarchy of liability and as the op and her ex are both owners of the house and neither live there that puts them at the same point of the heirarchy and as they debt is jointly and severally liable then the Council can pursue her solely for the debt if they are unable to locate her ex.

 

If he was living at the property that would put them on different points of the heirarchy with him above her but no one is living there.

 

Linda - you could take him to Court for his share of the money but the costs involved might not be worth and even if you get a Court order I understand it can still be an uphill battle to get the money paid.

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