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VOA Decision - Garage labelled as an Annex


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Hi hope you can help provide me advice on this long post....

 

I bought a rental property last year around April time, the property has a side garage in which the previous owner had installed a kitchen area complete with gas stove/oven cupboards and sink etc, there is an separate entrance into the garage from the street and another door into the main house which includes a downstairs toilet/shower.

 

As part of the conditions of my mortgage the lender had noted this garage asked me to confirm that it would not be used as a living space / dwelling, which I duly obliged and when my tenants moved in I explicitly told them in the contract that the garage was not included as part of the tenancy, I locked both doors and kept the keys....

 

Around Oct time my tenants received a council tax bill separate to the main house "Annexe at XX XXX road,"

 

I queried this with the VOA they told me to submit a proposal for deletion of the band along with evidence that the garage was not used as a dwelling, so I ripped out all the kitchen pipework and sent the formal proposal including pictures to show that it could not be used as a living space as per VOA's own guidelines, my proposal was denied, they cited the fact that they had seen the changes the original owner had made on rightmove etc, and that if I wanted I could easily convert it back after the VOA delete the band,

 

this seems preposterous as it seems I am being penalised for something I may do rather than something I have actually done,  and I was told I could go through the appeals process, however speaking to people and on forums I realised they rarely side against the VOA. I paid the tax due and I made further alterations, I have blocked off access from the garage into the main house and removed all drainage, so as far as I am concerned I have followed the VOA's guidelines on what is considered a dwelling/living space, the garage has no access to food preparation area or cleaning / drainage.

 

I have submitted a new proposal, currently a month in and have nothing yet, however I am worried it might get rejected again depending on the mood of the VOA officer rather than their own guidelines,  I have offered to provide further pictures or invited them to visit the actual property and generally work with them, but nothing back.

 

Obviously I am still awaiting a decision, however if the decision goes against me again I have no idea how to go forward other than go through appeals and then onto court, of course,  I could just knock the whole house down and even then I doubt the VOA would be satisfied.

 

The tenants have a young family and for the moment I am happy to pay the tax until it gets resolved, however I cannot imagine being able to pass the cost onto my tenants,

 

I am considering putting a formal complaint in the way this is dealt and contacting my MP, I think generally the fact that VOA offer no advice on how to resolved the issue is the most frustrating bit.

 

Thanks for reading if you did!

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I'm afarid I have no advice to offer or any experience of this but just wanted to post to say I sysmpathise with the Kafkaesque situation you find yourself in.

 

Will VOA do a site visit? Can you ask them what else you need to do have the garage de-rated? 

 

Would they accept evidence from an independent surveyor who has experience of this?

 

I'm not sure what legal action you could take other than Judicial Review. It would probably be cheaper to knock the garage down than embark on a Judicial Review!

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Hi

 

You have followed the correct process so far in challenging the Council Tax Banding for your Property and been open and accountable with the Council.

 

IMO while you are awaiting another response from the Council I would advise contacting the VOA again and inform them of what has happened so far and the changes you have made to the property and welcome both a Council or VOA visit to see the changes made to said Garage which is now only a Garage and is not an Annex as claimed by the Council.

 

If you do need to take this further on challenging the Council Tax Banding after the Councils response you get back to your latest challenge then it is the VOA you go through.

 

Have a very good read of this link: 

https://www.gov.uk/challenge-council-tax-band

 

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11 hours ago, stu007 said:

Hi

 

You have followed the correct process so far in challenging the Council Tax Banding for your Property and been open and accountable with the Council.

 

IMO while you are awaiting another response from the Council I would advise contacting the VOA again and inform them of what has happened so far and the changes you have made to the property and welcome both a Council or VOA visit to see the changes made to said Garage which is now only a Garage and is not an Annex as claimed by the Council.

 

If you do need to take this further on challenging the Council Tax Banding after the Councils response you get back to your latest challenge then it is the VOA you go through.

 

Have a very good read of this link: 

https://www.gov.uk/challenge-council-tax-band

 

 

I am actually dealing with the VOA, the council are actually easier to deal with, and thats saying something, but hopefully I am just fearing the worst. lol thanks for reading my rant! probably just needed to vent and wishing for a magic bullet

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My understnding from the link earlier is that the council have no role in deciding what band a property is, whether it's one or two properties, etc. All those decisions are by the VOA, so all challenges/appeals on banding go to them.

 

The council sets and collects the council tax and makes the decisions about whether you are entitled to pay a reduced rate of tax or are exempt.

 

VOA do the banding, council does the money.

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17 minutes ago, Ethel Street said:

My understnding from the link earlier is that the council have no role in deciding what band a property is, whether it's one or two properties, etc. All those decisions are by the VOA, so all challenges/appeals on banding go to them.

 

The council sets and collects the council tax and makes the decisions about whether you are entitled to pay a reduced rate of tax or are exempt.

 

VOA do the banding, council does the money.

Yep that's correct

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Do you want to keep it as a rentable living space? )and pay council tax on it......

If not, would you want to convert it back to a garage, and rent it out as a garage? (is there a high demand for parking in the area??).

 

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Not looking to rent it out at all, which is the ironic part as soon many garages around my area are illegally, do the right thing and you get shafted

 

and from what I understand even if you pay council tax it doesnt mean you can rent it out, I have loner term plans for the property so having a it split up with an annexe is a problem

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update/Resolution: They came back, I did have a bit of a moan at someone over the phone, they agreed to delete the tax band for the garage but...merged it with the main house and raised the overall tax band to and F .....not sure I can do much at about that as they cited other houses nearby etc, I need to look into it a bit more, essentially adds another ~£150-£200 councit tax for the year, I will probably cover that for the tenants for this year and agree with them to pay it going forward. Just glad its over at least.

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Hi

 

Please keep us updated on how this is going and that the Council notify you of VOA Decision to class it as Band F

 

Hope your keeping well and be safe

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 24/03/2022 at 02:09, stu007 said:

Hi

 

Please keep us updated on how this is going and that the Council notify you of VOA Decision to class it as Band F

 

Hope your keeping well and be safe

So the council still sent me and the tenants a bill for the side garage even though the band has been deleted/merged ......seriously this is tax payer money just wasted on inefficiencies and people that probably would never get hired in the public sector.

 

If anyones watches Parks & Rec...Ron was right

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I sympathise but for once I feel some sympathy too for local councils expected to update their records in time to  be issued by the start of April,  when the VOA decision was only made on March 18th (if I understand your post #9 correctly).  Especially when there is a big backlog of work because of continuing Covid staff absences.

 

I assume you will get an amended CT assessment - call the council and ask them if they have this in hand?

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35 minutes ago, Ethel Street said:

I sympathise but for once I feel some sympathy too for local councils expected to update their records in time to  be issued by the start of April,  when the VOA decision was only made on March 18th (if I understand your post #9 correctly).  Especially when there is a big backlog of work because of continuing Covid staff absences.

 

I assume you will get an amended CT assessment - call the council and ask them if they have this in hand?

The VOA and local councils should have integrated systems, hence the inefficiencies

 

also tried contacting them, no one answers the calls, they dont have a contact email address either, I need to see if there is a way through the online account, but they seem to make it as difficult as possible to try and sort stuff out

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