6 months rule on council tax | Discuss

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6 months rule on council tax
18/07/2018
5:32 pm
juliew
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Hi everyone.

I didn’t know this.  I do now to my cost.

I sometimes take tenants, reference them, etc and give them a short AST if they are waiting to move, or for legal stuff to complete etc.  Usual AST which says they are responsible for council tax

Council have just given me a bill for £800 which is four years old.  I don’t have paperwork as I had an agent who managed it and the agent disappeared.  Its four years old for goodness sake !!!  If they told me at the time I could maybe have done something.

The tenant disappeared without paying C Tax so I referred them to the AST which clearly states he’s signed to say he  will pay.  HOWEVER.  Because the AST  is under 6 months, I am responsible if he does a runner or can’t be traced.  If the AST is over 6 months and he does a runner he is responsible.

I’m outraged.  A legal agreement is binding surely?  I didn’t know about the council’s 6 month rule and I bet not too many people do either, so just warning you all so that you don’t get caught.

I thought there wasn’t much more that ‘they’ could do to landlords.  clearly I was wrong.

Cry

19/07/2018
11:55 pm
David Price
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Tenancy agreements are binding on both parties but only ever enforced against landlords.

For future reference make sure all your tenancies are for six months or longer and continue as a contractual periodic tenancy and then you will never be responsible for the council tax.

13/12/2018
2:53 pm
Patricia
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David Price said
Tenancy agreements are binding on both parties but only ever enforced against landlords.

For future reference make sure all your tenancies are for six months or longer and continue as a contractual periodic tenancy and then you will never be responsible for the council tax.  

Unless. ….As happened to me. 

The tenant does the six months. Then leaves afterwards at some point and tells the council or utility company that they left a month early .

You get the difference in the bills then. 

I am going to make sure that every time a tenant leaves they sign a deed of surrender with the date on . The council and the utility company told me that they do not ask for proof of vacating from a tenant but will ask for it from a landlord. 

If you phone the utility and say a tenant has vacated and give new readings. They quote data protection at you and the tenant has to send the readings in. 

So there you have it . Landlords are all regarded as liars by the utility and council people . 

06/02/2019
4:03 pm
beauvallon
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It seems that the council are trying another new tactic to recover unpaid council tax.  We have been caught by this twice now and fighting our corner.

The scenario is this.  The tenant has the usual AST which is continuous after the initial 6 month period. The tenant pays rent and council tax as they should for a period of time, they then inform the council that they are no longer in the property – so they stop paying the council tax.  

However, the tenant continues to pay the rent for a few more months.  The tenant then stops paying the rent but does not hand back keys, simply does not pay any further rent.  The tenant eventually leaves the property without notice, no doubt having secured another property ripe for the same scheme.

The agents involved start to prepare the property to be let again to another tenant and out of the blue the landlord (me) is hit with a huge council tax bill from the date the tenant TOLD the council that they had left the property.  Beating in mind the council are continuing to pay housing benefit during this whole process!

Although we have proof of full rent payments etc and that the rent was paid up to a certain date which was in fact several months after the council are trying to collect unpaid council tax from me,  the council insist that they only take the date the tenant gives them as being the date that they, the tenant, are no longer liable to pay the council tax.

As this is the second time this has happened in one year I am convinced this action was well thought through with absolute knowledge of what actions the council would and therefore wouldn’t take.  The council are not interested in proof of rent even though it is clearly illogical that a tenant would still be paying rent if they were no longer living at the property.  By the time the keys eventually got back to the agents some 8 months had elapsed.  The additional problem here is that the council does not inform either the agent or myself that the council tax is not being paid and are obviously so far behind sending out new council tax bills that the council are ready to take action for non-payment of the council tax unless I pay almost £1000 in unpaid council tax dated from April 2018.  My actual responsibility would be from November 2018 to the end of March unless another tenant takes on the property in the meantime.

The simple phrase from the council is that, they take the date the tenant gives them, without proof, that they are no longer living at the property and therefore the landlord is responsible for the unpaid council tax.

This is so obviously the way the council are abusing their position to collect unpaid council tax from the only people they think they are likely to be able to claim from.  Cynically, I can’t think of another reason for this appalling behaviour.

Has anyone else encountered this yet and if so, how did you deal with it.Yell

12/02/2019
7:15 pm
Patricia
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Because this has happened to me x 2 . I get the tenant to: 

A .(if possible) sign a deed of surrender. 

B. Keep a copy of any email which they send with their leaving date or discussions on vacating. 

C. When i return the deposit i get a signature and date . 

I try to do all 3. 

After a period of time. I also check with the council,  the name on the council tax bill. The council will never tell you if the name has been changed. 

If a tenant left a few days early after there fixed term – i have in the past refunded the rent on a day basis. 

I will not do that any more. I am afraid the governments money pinching has soured my Landlord good nature . 

18/02/2019
7:55 pm
Patricia
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David Price said
Tenancy agreements are binding on both parties but only ever enforced against landlords.

For future reference make sure all your tenancies are for six months or longer and continue as a contractual periodic tenancy and then you will never be responsible for the council tax.  

Apologies. My comment is off topic. 

If i remember right , you mentioned an old law that gives the landlord the right to ask the judge for 2 or 3 x the rent when a court case on rent owed  is settled in the landlords  favour.  Is it possible to expand/ allow us to know the case history on that law please? 

28/03/2019
12:53 pm
David Price
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“If i remember right , you mentioned an old law that gives the landlord the right to ask the judge for 2 or 3 x the rent when a court case on rent owed is settled in the landlords favour. Is it possible to expand/ allow us to know the case history on that law please? “

Sorry for the long delay in replying, I am spending more and more of my time firefighting – Council tax, demands for benefit repayments etc, all of which take a great deal of time and mental effort.

The act to which you refer is the Distress for Rent Act 1737 section 18, the only part of the act that has not been repealed.

28/03/2019
6:37 pm
Patricia
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Thank you David .

We are also find it increasingly difficult to be a landlord.

All our time is taken up with paperwork mountains of administration.

30/03/2019
12:17 pm
David Price
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Patricia said
Thank you David .

We are also find it increasingly difficult to be a landlord.

All our time is taken up with paperwork mountains of administration.  

And disproportionate fines for making an administrative error.  I get the distinct impression that the government does not like the PRS.

It is interesting that there is increasing homelessness but the governmnet does not associate this with increasing legislation against the PRS.  They will learn eventually but by the time they learn it will be too late, the last landlord will have switched off the light.

25/06/2019
7:14 am
cambridgehomeloan
4830 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609
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