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  • Tax

    Council Tax on empty property

    I've just sold a property.  It was empty for a while (from end of May when tenants moved out until when the sale completed, last Friday).  The local authority (Daventry Council) have sent me a bill for that period of £150.57.  I did notice on their form that there is a 25% discount if the property only has one occupant.  When I queried this with them they said that discount only applies if it's someone main residency (I was thinking of making out I had gone to live there for a while but, of course, I would have fallen foul of the main residency rule).

    I also said that noone had been making use of council services to which I was told that I might have needed the police if there was a break-in or the fire service if there was a fire. In this case it's more like an insurance policy.

    What's other people's experience of this sort of thing?

    thanks, Brian

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    The 25% discount requires residency (as per s11 of the local government finance act 1992), it's not something the council have any say over as it's not a delegated power.

    Council Tax itself does not pay for usage of a service, it pays towards the running of organisations (who provide services where needed) and so it's paid whether the services are used or not.

    Unoccupied properties are entitled to a discount however these discounts are, in the most part, delegated powers and a local authority can them at 0% in many cases (which appears to be the case in Daventry).

    Craig

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    http://www.LGFA92.co.uk council tax consultants.
    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 !


    My local authority, apply a 6 month exemption when a tenanted property becomes empty.

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    My council has removed all exptions  so I pay Council Tax as soon as my tenant moves out

    I used to get 6 months free

    another nail in the coffin of BTL in my opinion

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    Learn Change and Adapt ?????


    I'm seeing different regulations in different counties....in one area, an empty property attracts a 100% surcharge on the standard council tax (unless it's absolutely uninhabitable, and can be proven to be so).  In another area, council tax isn't charged for a 6 month period on an empty property (providing unfurnished AND unoccupied), but that's for the life of the property, not in relation to specific owners.  Councils are hard-pressed for funds, and I suspect they're taking the rules as far as they can, to bring in revenue.

    All the best

    Helen

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    Northumbria Police this year need to save 120m  so you can see why NE Councils are charging as much as they can on Council Tax

    I don't blame Councils its central funding that is being cut and we all have to pay more for empty property

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    Learn Change and Adapt ?????


    I agree dl....these services have to be paid for somehow!


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    Yep. Having worked through massive cuts with a local authority before I jumped ship it's becoming more and more apparent the cuts are biting when I speak to my ex-colleagues.

    By varying the discounts the council are using it to do exactly what the government wanted, and the reason why the delegated powers were given. It allows the government a convenient argument as they can blame the council for using the powers to raise extra monies by pointing out that they have the powers to lower or raise the amount of discount (whilst ignoring the real elephant in the room).

    A lot of people can't get past the councils raising council tax but what exactly are they meant to do ? If you have £100 million of statutory services and get that paid by £70 million in central grants + £30 million in council tax then you can manage. If the central grant is cut to £60 million but you still have to provide £100 million of statutory services, what option do you have but to raise council tax to £40 million ? People do complain about council tax going up yet they're not seeing more services for the money. They don't seem to comprehend that the it's going up to retain the same level of service, not to provide more services.

    Craig

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    http://www.LGFA92.co.uk council tax consultants.
    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 !


    I couldn't have said it better myself Craig....though you're better qualified to do so ;-)

    Do you know if the universities contribute to the council tax pot, in areas where there are high levels of student accommodation (as students don't have to pay council tax themselves)?  Interesting to know, because students use the services without a doubt!

    All the best

    Helen

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    They don't contribute directly, some local areas may have something in place where the university contributes towards a service etc but there's no direct requirement.

    I've always thought that, if council tax isn't going to be changed, then a fee for each student should be levied on the university - say £50 per student per year or similar. Either that or a levy a charge on each student registered for council tax purposes of a similar amount that they need to contribute.

    The two unis in Newcastle have circa 40k students (although not all full time). At £50 each that's nearly £2 million back in to pay for the services they use and don't contribute to at the moment.

    £ for £ students are by far the most expensive to deal with for council tax billing purposes due to all the difficulties they cause (how hard is it to tell the council you're a student before you get a summons ?)

    Craig

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    http://www.LGFA92.co.uk council tax consultants.
    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 !


    Very interesting topic Craig...the students' council tax discount!  It really needs addressing, though whoever does so will be unpopular with one group or another of the electorate!!

    All the best

    Helen

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