SMI liability

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    We’ve got a case where the tenant is SMI and has always been liable. The partner moved in (he is not a joint tenant as far as we know), and he is not SMI.

    The query has arisen because our recovery section have asked for the account to be put in the non- SMI partners sole name as they cannot recover from the person who is SMI.

    I don’t think we can make them jointly liable, as one party is SMI and the other is not, & I think it should therefore remain in the tenants sole name based on the hierachy of liability.

    However to confuse matters, when I posted the question to IRRV they said that we should hold them jointly liable.

    If anyone has any thoughts or opinions on the matter I would be grateful for your help.


    OK Krissy – get prepared for a long but thorough answer.

    The J&S provisions of S6 of the LGFA92 do not apply as they are not in the same level in the heirarchy (as far as you are aware).

    The other provisions for J&S are in S9 which says:

    [quote:8b73af8632]9.—(1) Where—
    (a) a person who is liable to pay council tax in respect of any chargeable dwelling of which he is a resident and any day is married to another person; and
    (b) that other person is also a resident of the dwelling on that day but would not, apart from this section, be so liable,
    those persons shall each be jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day.

    (2) Subsection (1) above shall not apply as respects any day on which the other person there mentioned falls to be disregarded for the purposes of discount by virtue of paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to this Act (the severely mentally impaired).

    (3) For the purposes of this section two persons are married to each other if they are a man and a woman—
    (a) who are married to each other; or
    (b) who are not married to each other but are living together as husband and wife.[/quote:8b73af8632]

    (the quote has now been amended to take into account students and civil partnerships as well but that doesn’t matter right now)

    The wording is that if “the other person” (i.e. partner of the liable person) is SMI they cannot be held J&S.

    In this case the liable person is SMI but “the other person” is not. So the provision of 9(1) applies but 9(2) does not.

    In my opinion that means that they should be J&S liable – but only from the date the partner occupied. Any recovery action could be taken against either or both of them.

    Prior to that the property should have been exempt anyway.

    Hope that helps


    Thanks for your help!

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