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Being Chased for Council Tax


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I am having a complete nightmare with Council Tax from 2001/2002. At the time I was a full time student and as such exempt from Council Tax. I never registered with the Council for exempt status (big mistake i know, although i did queue at the council offices for two hours to be told my address did not exist). In 2005 I started receiving threatening letters from sheriff's officers asking for £1550 to be paid. So I wrote to my Uni and got certificates to prove I was a student and sent them to the council which they accepted.

 

They said however that they could not remove my name as it was joint debt with the the other people i was sharing my flat with (also students).

 

Now in 2007 I have started receiving threatening letters again from sheriff's officers and from solicitors now threatening sequestration (bankruptcy) if i don't pay within 21 days.

 

I phoned the solicitors and they would not accept that i was a student and said "it was a matter between me and the council". I have sent letters to everyone concerned telling them I was a student and I always get stonewalled that the account cannot be closed. They say that they have already been to court (without telling me), and that sequestration will proceed!

 

What do i do now? If i have to go to court for sequestration will i have a chance to prove i do not owe any money?

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I think you have to prove that everyone you lived with was a student at the time as any non-students don't get the free council tax, everyone in the house is responsible for making sure that this non-student council tax is paid. For that you'd have to track them all down and get them to write to the uni to confirm they were students at the time or (possibly) you could write to the university yourself and get them to confirm that persons A, B &C were all students at the time. Then you'd have to prove that only those people lived there at the time, not sure how you'd do that though.

Any posts submitted here on the Consumer Action Group under the user name GlasweJen may not necessarily be the view of the poster, CAG or indeed any normal person.

 

I've become addicted to green blobs (I have 2 now) so feel free to tip my scales if I ever make sense.;-)

 

 

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Yeah that is easier said than done. I mean what if you have not seen them for 6 years and have no idea where they are. Also the university are unlikely to release details of other students (Data protection Act).

 

I suppose what I resent is being made to do all the work, that the council and debt collection agencies should be doing for themselves!

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Well if the council can track you ask them to track the rest for the debt they owe, for all you know all of you could be getting these threats.

Any posts submitted here on the Consumer Action Group under the user name GlasweJen may not necessarily be the view of the poster, CAG or indeed any normal person.

 

I've become addicted to green blobs (I have 2 now) so feel free to tip my scales if I ever make sense.;-)

 

 

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The problem is the council are going for the path of least resistance- they have you, so they won't bother chasing all the other people.

 

I would gather copies of all of your evidence, copies of all the information showing you were a student, details of the other residents (whatever you have). Where all the residents named on the council tax bill?

 

I know it was a student house, so sometimes transient, but if you have any details of the other residents, that would help.

 

Above all, find out when the council were in court, when, and contact the court. If the council did not tell you prior to the court appearance, so you could attend, tell the court this. Ask for the decision to be set aside, so you can attend court. I have attended court regarding a council tax debt, and the magistrates were very understanding, did not just take the councils word as law, and were willing to listen to the situation.

 

It is worth a try- keep me posted and I'll help if I can.

Nationwide-A&L-Halifax 1-Student Loans Company-NatWest-Virgin Media-Link-Capital One ALL WON!

Thames Credit -statute barred sent 13/11/08

BCW- prove debt letter- 14/08/08

Apex- CCA 14/08/08

Redcats UK- SAR 14/04/09

Call Serve- CCA 14/08/08

Littlewoods- no CCA letter 03/09/08- Lowells now

Wescot- CCA 19/9/08

Capital One/Debitas- now with Lowells

 

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I have called the Council to check what they have to say, they confirm that they have all relevant paperwork from myself to prove i was a student and have had it for ages now.

 

They promised to 'disregard' me for council tax, so I ask not unreasonably will threatening letters from solicitors and sheriff officers stop and they say of course not the debt is still owed!

 

I ask if I am am still legally liable and of course yes I am so to my mind being 'disregarded' does not change the situation one iota. They then accused me of being uncooperative! The cheek! Apparently I should now use my time and resources to track everyone else down and inform them of the situation!

 

What this comes down to is the debt should be written off, they have spent years of taxpayers money pursing the debt through me when even if they do track everyone else in the house down the debt will be unpaid as everyone was a bloody student! Anyone who shares a house today I urge you to make sure your friends register as exempt from council tax as it will save a lot of heartache.

 

"Local Government Finance Act 1992"

(3) Where, in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day, two or more persons fall within the first paragraph of subsection (2) above to apply, they shall each be jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day.

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'I think you have to prove that everyone you lived with was a student at the time as any non-students don't get the free council tax, everyone in the house is responsible for making sure that this non-student council tax is paid.'

 

In England Since April 2004 a student cannot be held liable for the Council tax debt of a non student living in the property - pre 2004 a student was equally liable for the debt regardless of whether they where disregarded or not.

 

Even if you provided student details then technically you are still joint and severable liable for 100% of the debt.

 

In Scotland the rules where changed on 1 June 2001 to exclude most students. You need to check up on the exact rules.

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'I think you have to prove that everyone you lived with was a student at the time as any non-students don't get the free council tax, everyone in the house is responsible for making sure that this non-student council tax is paid.'

 

In England Since April 2004 a student cannot be held liable for the Council tax debt of a non student living in the property - pre 2004 a student was equally liable for the debt regardless of whether they where disregarded or not.

 

Even if you provided student details then technically you are still joint and severable liable for 100% of the debt.

 

In Scotland the rules where changed on 1 June 2001 to exclude most students. You need to check up on the exact rules.

 

I think the fact that the law was changed just goes to show that the law as it stood was unfair and placed too much onus on students to account for other parties actions.

 

If anyone can point me to the amended law in Scotland for 2001 I would be extremely grateful.

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