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Can she sue me over unpaid council tax?


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In January a housemate moved out on bad terms. This April she has received a letter to her new address, but addressed to all of us (including a third housemate with whom I still live at the original address) outlining details of backdated council tax for the period that she lived with us (10months) as she is jointly liable. We did not receive a copy of this letter.

She was paying approx £40 a month into my account from which I believed we had a direct debit.

It seems the council do not have any record of my request to set up a direct debit and received no payment for 8 of the months my ex-housemate lived with us.

We received no reminder correspondence during this period although the council have records of it being sent.

In the past we have had mail mix ups due to a re-direction set up by the previous occupants. My ex housemate is now demanding I pay the outstanding sum of £750 because I have received her money for payment but not actually passed it onto the council as per our agreement to do so, albeit not intentionally.

I have agreed this is the fair course of action, but shortly before her and her father left, her father mentioned that they would take 'appropriate action' towards me after I had spoken with my bank and the council and accepted responsibility.

Having spoken with the council they have assured me that so far this debt has only passed through a magistrates court and not a county court and has not adversely affected our credit.

Does she have grounds to sue me for anything here? Sadly, she has a lot more money than I do and if she has grounds to act, she definitely will. She has been known to take housemates to court previously over money. I'm really worried. Please advise!

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If you are willing to pay the outstanding balance then what can they sue you for?

It was surely just a mix up and as you have agreed to pay what she paid into your account then there is nothing else I can see that she could sue for.

If she wants some kind of compensation for this then I wouldn't think she has a leg to stand on.

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You say the council have a record of "it being sent".

What exactly do they have records of being sent?

Who's name appeared on the council tax bills?

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All 3 of our names appeared on the bills. They claim to have sent us a court summons and a letter after our court date to inform us that we had been found liable and must pay.

 

We haven't received any of these letters.

 

We also did not receive a copy of the "revised statement for the period 2011/2012" that our ex-housemates received to her new address. No copies were sent to the address that two of us still live at; also the address at which the council tax is in question.

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That really doesn't make sense. The summons etc would have been sent to the address where the council tax arrears were incurred. Have you seen any documents relating to court proceedings?

I would ask for copies of all these documents she is claiming to have received.

 

As I said earlier though, as long as you have admitted you made a mistake with the DD and are willing to pay the amount paid to you in respect of the CT then I don't think she has any other viable claim against you.

 

I will ask for second opinion but I would say pay what you owe in respect to what she paid you and forget about her.

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This is simple.

 

Pay the council the money she had been giving you towards council tax and get a receipt. Job done and she can do nothing at all so long as you hold a receipt for the payment to the council for the full amount she had given you.

 

When you get a receipt make sure it has payment for, then the dates it's owed between so it's easy to tell it's from when she lived there.

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Could she charge me with a criminal offence such as theft or fraud. This girl has accused me of "stealing" from her before when she has leant me money previously.

 

I doubt it very much. If she did go to the Police, they would more than likely tell her that you need to sort it out between you as it's a civil matter. As long as you return the money to her, I don't think you have a problem.

 

If I were you, I'd keep everything in writing from now on, though.

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I have agreed this is the fair course of action, but shortly before her and her father left, her father mentioned that they would take 'appropriate action' towards me...

 

Its just a standard threat that you get from anybody or any institution.

 

Pay the money and that should be it.

 

You have to admit that from her point of view, though, it all looks a bit suspicious! Probably you need to start reading your bank statements a bit more carefully.

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Sorry, I've just read through your post again and I've realised what is being implied - he's saying that after you've accepted responsibility by paying the money back to her, they're going to try to get compensation.

 

Pretty sure that to do that, she would have to demonstrate some kind of loss, and I'm not sure she can. It might be worth looking into whether or not there have been charges applied to the account which she has paid, and offer to pay these as well (assuming they are of course legal charges!). I know you don't have lots of money floating around, but in the event she does try to take you to court, as far as the judge is concerned you will have shown willing to rectify the error in full.

 

Others may disagree, but I think a willingness to show that you haven't left her out of pocket would go a long way. :wink:

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Completely agree LG.

She may try it on for compensation but she has no chance if you have paid back the money owed.

She is a serial claimant by the sound of it. Judge Judy material.:roll:

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