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I received a phone call today from my previous council,

the gentleman said he called me with regards to my very old address dating back to 1999-2004.

 

 

I was a student then and found the flat through a normal Estate Agents,

signed the Tenancy Agreement and moved in.

 

 

Today, 2017, four children later

I get a phone call from the council enforcement team informing me that I owe over £4000.00 in BUSINESS RATES.

 

 

I was never informed that it was an "office" I was living in and to my total amazement they even took to me to court and I have a liability order from 2005.

This is approx a year after moving out.

 

 

I wasn't the only tenant,

there was a gentleman above me in another flat

and they built yet another flat in the loft when I moved out.

 

 

My flat had a bathroom with a bath and a kitchen and looked nothing like an office.

 

 

My LL at the time informed me that I wouldn't have to pay council as I was a student and it would have been included anyway.

 

The gentleman from the council informed me that I am 100% liable and even though landlord or estate agent deceived me.

I am in total shock and feel that I have no choice other than to start to pay this huge amount.

 

There weren't any letters chasing the so called Business Rates throughout my time there

and all correspondence from Landlord stated My name, then, First Floor Flat, 33 So-called Road and Postcode.

 

 

Unfortunately I don't have more than 3 letters after that many years and I feel well and truly confused.

The man also informed me that their records only go back 7 years so they will not be able to investigate nor look further into it as "the Law of the Land" (his words) has already decided that I am liable.

 

Does anyone know why landlords would do this?

What do I do? I have 7 days to respond

 

Please advice or wake me up from this nightmare :noidea::frosty:

 

Please let me know if I need to post this in another section, unsure and new to this.

Edited by Elli Bee
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Register a formal complaint with the council concerned and send them a Data Protection Subject Access Request for copies of all records that relate to you.

 

Once they got a liability order, they don't expire as such. If you register a formal complaint, then the council should put it on hold, while investigations are carried out.

We could do with some help from you.

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Ok thank you I will do that! The gent made it sound very final, relieved to find that liability orders do not expire. I will inform the council contact a day after I have contacted the court.

 

I wonder if you can even chase business rates if there wasn't an actual business there.

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so where you were was subject to business rates

they've obviously gone after everyone that lived in the 'property' anf failed.

 

 

as you lived there, yes you are jointly liable, but if you were a student..no dice surely?

 

 

I've moved this to residentials

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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and if you call, try record calls if poss

and speak to the councils c'tax office management rather than the call centre.

could there be any recourse against the Lord and/or estate agent?

IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Yes Im going to try the estate agent who still exist albeit in a different borough, wish me luck on that one.

 

One the upside one of the letters I dug out was a solicitors letter "requiring possession" due to LL selling the house, and it quoted a Section 21 of the HOUSING Act, which from I understand covers residential property.

 

Thank you all! I will keep you updated, any more wise words welcomed.

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if then you have proof of the s21, then that wld add to negating any business liability. then, being a full time student cld negate any residential c'tax liability.

as dx said, sometimes, they just take a name given and pursue it.

as mentioned, if you are going to phone, record and speak to management. good luck.

IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Hi Elli Bee

 

Yup get a Subject Access Request into the Council (check there website as well) you do need all the information they hold on you.

 

Also as pointed out Formal Complaint to the Council as well now and forward copies of what you still hold on the tenancy (even that letter mentioning the S21 and anything else you find)

 

As it's Business Rates does anything actually mention the Business name at the time?

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Thats the thing Stu007 no mention of a Business name.

 

All correspondence looks like this:

 

My Name

First Floor Flat

So called Road

London p0st cd3

 

Contacted the Estate Agent and they have records back to 2000 not 1999 :(

 

Have sent of an Subject Access Request regarding the Order against me. Waiting to hear back.

 

I had two landlords as property was sold but I stayed on. One LL is a Charity Fund and the other LL is now a politician in Australia. They obviously have give up on chasing them as some you mentioned.

 

Good news is that the 2nd page of the possession order letter I have clearly states: .....property let on a periodic assured tenancy..... but thay have slightly misspelt my name by one letter, wonder if they will use this.

 

 

Who do I send the proof letters to? The council officer handling my case? Do I wait till I have more material from the Subject Access Request.

 

The council have a timescale of 40 days to respond to the SAR and council officer has given me 7 days.

Edited by Elli Bee
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Why don't you find out from this council officer, the head of council tax revenues name and address of council office.

 

Then send a written complaint by recorded delivery, starting, i wish to register a formal compaint in regard to a council tax liability in respect of (address xxxxxxxxxxxx) dating back to 2005. I received a phone call from a council officer named xxxxxx and this is the first time i have ever heard of this matter.

 

Then give more details about the situation and that you have never received any summons in regard to council tax liability.

 

Tell them that it is your intention to involve the Local Government Ombudsman if necessary to seek their assistance.

 

Once you register this formal complaint, they should putbany enforcement on hold.

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

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any worrying stories about the politico in Oz that you can see via google? If they were in the wrong letting the place as residential at the time then they may want to hear about it before their enemies do

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...If they were in the wrong letting the place as residential at the time.. .
could be. not telling the council and thus avoiding separate c'tax (in addition to the business rates) for the part residential.

and then the deemed 'occupier' of the business premises being made liable.

and, they did a 'formal' s21...!?

IMO

:-):rant:

 

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If the property was used as a residential dwelling then it should not be rated for business rates, it should be banded for council tax. The valuation office can backdate the start of a council tax banding in order to update the council tax list. I suspect there's a hole can of worms to be opened here.

 

What I suspect is happening is that it has never been banded for council tax, they have been given your name and so they have proceeded with the property as a non-domestic case. You need to contact them and advise that the property was domestic for the period in question and it should then proceed from there.

 

Whether you're then liable for council tax depends partly on the valuation office - if the property has been treat as one dwelling and the 'flats' have not been banded individually then the property would be a council tax HMO and the landlord would be liable. If the 'flat' was regarded as a dwelling in it's own right then you would be liable with a possible student exemption.

 

When the original liability order (and supporting docs) were issued they only needed to be sent to the last known address to be served correctly. The court will grant the liability order based on the summons and this confirms the monies are due in the eyes of the law. For business rates there is no formal route of liability appeal as there is with council tax and the council call the shots a lot more - the better news is that if the valuation office agency remove a property from the council tax list then it cannot be a non-domestic property for the same time period. To dispute a business rates liability order can involve a high court appeal.

 

You can appeal to the valuation tribunal on the basis of valuation and whether or not a property is a domestic dwelling - this would, if successful, remove business rates listing and shift it to council tax.

 

The Local Government Ombudsman is not a binding party - they can only make a recommendation. They cannot get involved in matters requiring interpretation or application of legislation - it sounds like the council have , based on the information held, proceeded correctly so far so there is no failing on their part in that respect (not yet, anyway) to be looked at.

 

Craig

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20 years ago LL/owner could have vol elected for VAT Registration on part/all of premises for financial reasons. For several years, small business rates were not demanded (exempt) until new business rates were assessed and demands sent out recently.

Check current status with LVA & Council.

Consider Change of use Planning Application for Residential Use.

Some properties had storage space above the shop, many later converted to accom and domestic rate/C Tax assessed.

Someone slipped up somewhere along the line and VOA are optimising recovery of all due Bus Rates.

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Mariner51: The flat is currently being let and advertised as a flat and as far as I know still with the same owners, however unable to check properly with land registry. I have been racking my head to find out what the LL benefit would be to let it as residential for years! Estate agents and both solicitors for each landlord were under the impression the property was residential.

 

@ericsbrother: The politician in Aus was indeed sacked from his job as elected Mayor. He is a colourful character with history in UK making millions.

 

Eric, thanks for your insightful post. I too expect a 'can of worms', dreading the process.

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you will need to get the tenancy confirmed in writing from agents. However, there is a bad precedent hanging over all of this that I recall from this forum regarding a similar situation. The courts decided that once someone has a liability order against them the actual reason and the mechanism for obtaining that order is no longer subject to question so you could end up in a position where all parties agree that it was wrong and is unfair but it is still enforceable because it wasnt challenged at the time ( well no-one knew about it but that doesnt matter either)

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