Can this be right?

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  • #20510
    Anonymous
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    Apologies for my ignorance but this seems very unfair and I appreciate it is part benefit/part liabilty but can anyone help?

    Clt lived in House in Multiple Occ with 3 others for a period of time about 3 yrs ago, she claimed and received HB on her room and a quarter share of council tax bill as CTB.

    The LA are now looking at a liability order for all outstanding CT for the clt as the other 3 skipped off without paying their shares.

    It doesn’t seem right that the clt was only eligible for 1/4 of council tax, all of her share was paid through CTB and she is now the one who owes money.

    We accept that CTB was properly awarded at the time of her claim, however,if she was only “liable” for a quarter share then, how can she now be “liable” for the lot???

    It seems the LA are looking to this clt as the only one traceable. What would other authorities do in these circumstances and is there any form of challenge to the liability order.

    Apologies again if you end up reading this in two forums.

    Many thanks!

    #3115
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I think we need to clear up the term “house in multiple occupation”. If the property was a HMO, then the liability for the Council Tax would fall upon the owner (Council Tax (Liability for Owners) Regulations 1992) and your client would have to appeal against the decision of the LA to hold her liable.

    http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1992/Uksi_19920551_en_1.htm

    However, if she is was a joint tenant with the other three residents then they would each have what is termed “joint and several liability” which in effect means that as they all had the same interest in the property, they can all individually be held liable for the Council Tax due on the property.

    #3116
    Anonymous
    Guest

    This is a case where the Council can exercise its discretion under S76 of the LGA 2003 to reduce the persons liability.

    “13A Billing authority’s power to reduce amount of tax payable

    (1) Where a person is liable to pay council tax in respect of any chargeable dwelling and any day, the billing authority for the area in which the dwelling is situated may reduce the amount which he is liable to pay as respects the dwelling and the day to such extent as it thinks fit.

    #3117
    Anonymous
    Guest

    That is one of the major problems with joint tenancies for Council Tax purposes, particularly when there is no real bond between the tenants. It usually ends up with the honest person who has given a forwarding address being chased for the full amount.

    Landlords are keen for tenants to sign joint agreements as it removes their liability under HMO regulations as Phil stated.

    As for the 13A discounts, certainly in London, Authorities are choosing not to exercise this discount at present (with the exception of one borough who have delegated powers to their Borough Treasurer but only for cases with exceptional hardship – no cases have yet been granted). The danger of setting a precedent is worrying as these reductions must be met by other taxpayers and certainly I would be very wary of using the 13A powers without a full procedure and guidelines to justify any decision made.

    #3118
    Anonymous
    Guest

    This is very interesting, because refusing to use the power is a fettering of discretion open to JR. I suggest it might make also make magistrates more sympathetic to the council tax payer if a means court has to be held

    #3119
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The magistrate has always had the power to remit a debt at Means Enquiry stage and I would suggest that in the unlikely event Erika’s case progressed to a committal hearing then the court would look favourably on her anyway (unless she has just won the lottery etc.)

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