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Denied Single Persons Council Tax Discount

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I have an ongoing case whereby the London Borough of Hackney has rejected my appeal for contesting the fact that denied me from the single persons discount and as it was deemed therefore that I wasn't entitled to the benefits reduction associated with being on ESA at the time. The matter has been referred to my MP who effectively made Hackney look at my case as I had already appealed but they have now suggested that I go the Valuation Tribunal to make a further judgment. 

 

Details: I was a single person at the time at my primary residence, produced evidence that it met the legal criteria of what a primary residence is as well as utility bills that proved I was living there i.e. broadband bill, electricity bill and service charge from the management team of the apartment block. Despite this, the council also asked for home insurance bill though I hadn't taken any out pay slips when I had already informed them that I was not employed and a receipt of a furniture removal firm that delivered furniture when there was furniture in the property the incumbent resident was suppose to purchase. 

 

I have been denied the single persons discount, I have been denied the reduction that is my entitlement whilst being on ESA at the time and been made to pay a full charge for council tax.

This is all based on one email I wrote to LBH when the sale of the flat looked definite. The decision to remove the single persons discount was made before this notification. The prospective buyer then pulled out and so I stayed until 19.11.19. I have stated my case over and over and London Borough of Hackney who chose to ignore the evidence I have produced, ignore the law in terms of what defines 'primary residence' and not provided me with any other argument or evidence to the contrary to support their decision. In other words, they did not at the time come and do a site inspection and have no evidence to the contrary that I wasn't living there. They reference the address I gave them which was my parents address as this was the best correspondence address to give at the time. 

 

LBH continued to charge me and deduct from my account the full amount beyond the sale of the property in November 2018 through to March 2019 and as it was via direct debit my bank refunded me those additional months. This was despite the completion of sale confirmation by my solicitor and the new owner/occupier informing the council of their ownership and payment of council tax. 

 

Other than going to the valuation tribunal, is there anything else that I can do to challenge LBH and get the refund for the 5 months in the form a single persons discount and the reduction afforded when on Employment Support Allowance. 

 

Thank you for your advice in advance.

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You need to ask for copies of your records via an SAR. 

 

The Council appear to just be going on what they believe you advised them at the time and won't backdate any change. Perhaps you can find information from the SAR that might help you.

 

Also ask Council for copies of relevant guidelines the Council staff used at the time for Council tax reduction entitlements.


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The matter has been referred to my MP who effectively made Hackney look at my case as I had already appealed but they have now suggested that I go the Valuation Tribunal to make a further judgment. 

To do you so you would need to ensure you follow the correct statutory process -

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I have been denied the single persons discount, I have been denied the reduction that is my entitlement whilst being on ESA at the time and been made to pay a full charge for council tax.

This is all based on one email I wrote to LBH when the sale of the flat looked definite. The decision to remove the single persons discount was made before this notification. The prospective buyer then pulled out and so I stayed until 19.11.19. I have stated my case over and over and London Borough of Hackney who chose to ignore the evidence I have produced, ignore the law in terms of what defines 'primary residence' and not provided me with any other argument or evidence to the contrary to support their decision. In other words, they did not at the time come and do a site inspection and have no evidence to the contrary that I wasn't living there. They reference the address I gave them which was my parents address as this was the best correspondence address to give at the time. 

 

My day job is dealing with council tax appeals and disputes against councils. One thing I do find is that some councils are far more difficult to work with than others, some I manage to resolve before tribunal quite easily, some will fight it all the way. It all depends on how far the council want to push the issue and how entrenched they are in their view (the council only have to say that they don't believe you qualify, they only have to state their case if it was for a tribunal). To me though, You do seem to have an arguable point on what you have posted to support your position.

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ignore the law in terms of what defines 'primary residence' 

Primary residence is not a concern for council tax, it is 'sole or main residence' which is looked at. There is only case law to try and define what this actually is, however.

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Also ask Council for copies of relevant guidelines the Council staff used at the time for Council tax reduction entitlements.

That's not going to be of too much assistance - CTR will not be paid because they have determined he was resident for council tax purposes and therefore the CTR claim follows this decision. Obviously the argument is that he was, in fact, resident. If the determination is overturned then CTR can be looked at again.

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