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  • Buy-to-Let

    Durham CC Do Not Know Council Tax Law!

    Hello

    I have a property in County Durham which is let under an AST which specifically states that after the end of the fixed term it continues on a monthly period basis. The previous tenant left the property before the end of her notice period which was after the fixed term had expired and so was in the periodic term.

    Durham CC are saying that I am responsible for council tax from the date she vacated rather than the end of her notice period. My understanding of the Broadley case is that I am only responsible from the end of the notice period. Is that right? I have made the point several times to them but they do not even respond to that and just quote the Macattram case which I understand does not apply where the AST includes a clause stating that the term continues on a periodic basis after the fixed term has ended.

    Instead of engaging the council has issued a summons and slapped several fees on top. In theory I could attend the hearing and put my case however the cost of taking the time of work and travelling up to Durham would outweigh the amount of tax at issue.

    I could of course just pay but I am reluctant to do so out of principle. Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to proceed?

    Thanks

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    If the tenancy continues on a contractual basis after the fixed term* then the tenant is liable until the end of the tenancy**. If the tenant left after the fixed term period and the tenancy had already passed to a periodic tenancy then they ceased to be liable for council tax from their last full day in the property. This was confirmed in Leeds v Broadley.

    Craig

    * fixed term of 6 months or more
    ** in these cases they are regarded as the 'owner' for council tax purposes and as such can be liable whilst not resident

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    Specialist Council Tax advisor (A.Inst.Pa) based in Gateshead, but working nationally for landlords and council tax payers.
    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 !

    Instead of engaging the council has issued a summons and slapped several fees on top. In theory I could attend the hearing and put my case however the cost of taking the time of work and travelling up to Durham would outweigh the amount of tax at issue.

    You're out of luck in that respect as Magistrates cannot hear anything would be appealable under S16 of the LGFA1992 - this covers Council Tax liability. The reason behind this that S16 covers appeals to the Valuation Tribunal and these are specifically written out of the Magistrate's jurisdiction.

    Craig

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    Specialist Council Tax advisor (A.Inst.Pa) based in Gateshead, but working nationally for landlords and council tax payers.
    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 !

    Hard to be certain without seeing the exact term of the tenancy agreement, but sounds like it falls under Leeds CC v Broadley. If the council are unmoveable, than an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal is the only route of challenge.

    Leeds have sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and have put prosecutions on such cases on hold. They should have dropped them, as just applying to the Supreme Court does not put a stay on the Court of Appeal's decision.

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    Giles Peaker

    Anthony Gold Solicitors