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  • Buy-to-Let

    Abandoned Property and Council Tax

    I had an abandoned property and the tenant was on LHA

    The LHA was stopped 22 Dec and the agent went through the abandoned property protocol

    Placed notice on door etc etc

    I have just received a Council Tax bill for the period from 22 Dec 18 to March 19

    But I have not got the property back yet

    Can I ask am I liable for the Council Tax from when the property was abandoned until I have lawful procession?

    It seems unfair for me to pay council tax if I don't have control of the Property

    The Council know where the Tenant is but of course will not tell me where

    I am happy to pay Council Tax when I have control so what can I do

    DL

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    Learn Change and Adapt ?????

    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.

    If you are the legal owner of the property you are liable for council tax

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    Surely abandoning the property does not constitute cessation of the legal tenancy?

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    It doesn't. Until the landlord has possession of the property returned to them, either by a court order/bailiffs etc or by following the abandonment procedure laid out in Housing and Planning Act 2016 the tenant is liable for the Council Tax. The Council are trying it on as they know they won't be able to get the money from the tenant.

    I am assuming that the house has been let to the tenant(s) as a whole (i.e. there aren't several tenants renting individual rooms). If the whole house is let to joint tenants then they are liable for the council tax, not the landlord.

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    Hi DL

    I have been there, done that.

    At one time you could apply for a reduction in the owed CT if the property was voids and repairs were needed to prepare. For me in Liverpool this changed, so that charge me from day one.

    I would contact your local authority BY EMAIL and ask if there are any reductions in the charge.

    As for taking possession of the property, I appreciate notice to quit, etc etc. But does your AST allow you to gain access if you suspect the property is void and there is a risk to H&S. For example, is there a gas supply to the property which will need to be capped for the safety of the neighbours and property!

    Finally, hopefully you will have the property occupied in no time at all, so you will only be liable for the void period.

    Council are run by process and IT processes at that, so this will just be an automated charge triggered by the HB being cancelled.

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    "But does your AST allow you to gain access if you suspect the property is void and there is a risk to H&S. "   Interesting phrase as my AST does not include this.  Are you able to share the paragraph from your AST covering this?

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    Had this a few times .

    Its a bonus as I see it.

    As it evidences and supports abandonment and therefore a surrender of tenancy in my eyes

    If they were still paying council tax and getting HB but clearly not there that would worry me more

    If the tenant tells them they left then its down to LL to pay it

    We get a months grace for any voids but many councils dont allow this

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com


    If its in a fixed term AST you dont have to pay

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    Or if agreement has a clause about rolling on to a periodic tenancy after the fixed term expires. Councils should know better but I have had so many issues that I think they just try it on. Even Leeds council who were involved in a court case about this tried it on a couple of months ago!

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    I was asked on a similar point around the middle of last year where Leeds seemed to be ignoring the exact issue they lost the Broadley case on - took a letter to them to point out their error.

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    Specialist Council Tax paralegal advisor & consultant (A. NALP)
    http://www.lgfa92.co.uk
    Posting as @CouncilTaxGuy on Twitter
    Why not look at our blog at http://www.lgfa92.co.uk/blog

    Any posts are my own opinion on legislation and may vary from your local authorities !

    Bit late to the party as I didn't notice the tweet from Vanessa and have been busy so not been looking on the site.

    S6(2)(f) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 is clear that the owner of a property is liable where it has no resident.

    The owner is the individual with the material interest, an interest of 6 month or more * - if a tenancy meets that requirement then the non-resident tenant becomes the owner for the purposes of council tax until the tenancy ends or it becomes a statutory periodic. Once it becomes a statutory periodic then Leeds CC v Broadley clarified the situation that the tenant is not the owner for council tax purposes..

    If it's Newcastle, they have often struggled with this concept and continue to do so (for disclosure they are a former employer of mine).

    * Assuming its not a case under s8 of the LGFA 1992 where the owner remains liable anyway (which would be the freeholder/leaseholder unless there's some sort of sub-letting going on.)

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    Specialist Council Tax paralegal advisor & consultant (A. NALP)
    http://www.lgfa92.co.uk
    Posting as @CouncilTaxGuy on Twitter
    Why not look at our blog at http://www.lgfa92.co.uk/blog

    Any posts are my own opinion on legislation and may vary from your local authorities !