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Thread: Council Tax Email

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  1. #1
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    Default Council Tax Email

    Hello

    I have received an email from Bristow and Sutor that looks like spam but it caught my attention purely because it is addressed to myself and my ex. The email says I owe them £1,300

    At the time we we’re living together, sharing with another flatmate. We called the local council, we wrote to the council and I even sent a bankers draft in the post with a letter explaining that we would like to start payments etc and we received an acknowledgement. But after months of trying to pay we got nowhere, even the landlord tried to help and wrote to them until the point we were moving out and we eventually gave up.

    I haven't spoke to our flat mate since as we never got on anyway, we moved to a new place before we later broke up in 2015. She now lives at the other end of the country and we are not on speaking to terms. She was never good financially so I doubt I would get much joy from contacting her myself.

    I'm very concerned by all this as I have always paid my way and never been any negative debt and after reading things online about Bristow and Sutor. All of this has occurred as a direct result of the local council's error and I have never had any communication from them whilst we were at the address or since.

    Where do I go from here? I really don't want to deal with Bristow and Sutor paying their fees and dealing with them. I don't see how that will help me.

    Do I contact the council? Explain and Pay them what I owe directly?

    At the moment I've not received any post, just an email.

    Any help or knowledge would be hugely appreciated Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    tagging @lgfa92 xx
    Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.

    It doesn't matter where your journey begins, so long as you begin it...

    recte agens confido

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    It would be unusual for a Local Authority to receive multiple contacts from someone saying 'bill me' and not respond (they've clearly issued documents at some point) - in my experience (10 yrs in council tax collection) the most common cause of this issue in shared flats was that notices (pre summons) were sent out in a 'lead name' and that person wasn't passing on the information and was ignoring it. You need to contact the Local Authority and find out where they set the documents to.

    In order to use Bristow and Suter (enforcement agents) the Local Authority has to have issued a demand notice, at least one reminder and a court summons. The documents just have to be sent to the last known address so some could have been issued after you left if they didn't have an alternative address for you.

    One other considerations is to check you are actually liable for the charge - was it a joint tenancy on the whole property or did you just rent a room ?

    LGFA92

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    Quote Originally Posted by lgfa92 View Post
    It would be unusual for a Local Authority to receive multiple contacts from someone saying 'bill me' and not respond (they've clearly issued documents at some point) - in my experience (10 yrs in council tax collection) the most common cause of this issue in shared flats was that notices (pre summons) were sent out in a 'lead name' and that person wasn't passing on the information and was ignoring it. You need to contact the Local Authority and find out where they set the documents to.

    In order to use Bristow and Suter (enforcement agents) the Local Authority has to have issued a demand notice, at least one reminder and a court summons. The documents just have to be sent to the last known address so some could have been issued after you left if they didn't have an alternative address for you.

    One other considerations is to check you are actually liable for the charge - was it a joint tenancy on the whole property or did you just rent a room ?

    LGFA92
    At the time we were desperate to move out of the property, we tried very hard to leave the tenancy but it was a fixed term contract and the landlord made things difficult for us and did everything he could to stop us. It didn't exactly end well and as a result we dismissed all contact with him and the other tenant, they did the same, we haven't spoken since, but this was nothing to do with the council tax, that was a separate issue.

    I have a receipt as well as copies of letters and emails to prove that I at least paid attempted to start paying them. Do you think that would help?

    Your advice is hugely appreciate, Thanks

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    Quote Originally Posted by 0161 View Post
    At the time we were desperate to move out of the property, we tried very hard to leave the tenancy but it was a fixed term contract and the landlord made things difficult for us and did everything he could to stop us. It didn't exactly end well and as a result we dismissed all contact with him and the other tenant, they did the same, we haven't spoken since, but this was nothing to do with the council tax, that was a separate issue.

    I have a receipt as well as copies of letters and emails to prove that I at least paid attempted to start paying them. Do you think that would help?

    Your advice is hugely appreciate, Thanks
    Did you have a joint tenancy on the whole property ?

    Craig

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    Quote Originally Posted by lgfa92 View Post
    Did you have a joint tenancy on the whole property ?

    Craig
    I'm not 100% sure about the actual tenancy agreement to be honest honest, but I know that we must have rented the room because that's how we ended up with the flatmate. The landlord told us if we didn't get one we would have to pay for the extra room. It was a very popular student area you see. Sorry I can't be more precise It was a long time ago now.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    I'm not 100% sure about the actual tenancy agreement to be honest honest, but I know that we must have rented the room because that's how we ended up with the flatmate. The landlord told us if we didn't get one we would have to pay for the extra room. It was a very popular student area you see. Sorry I can't be more precise It was a long time ago now.
    If you only rented part of the property then you're not liable for the council tax charge due on the property - liability then falls on to the landlord (as per legislation).

    Craig

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    Check with the council and check to see if the house is registered as a House of Multiple Occupation. If not and it is then the landlord could be in trouble. If it is then you are not liable for the council tax.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Council Tax Email

    Quote Originally Posted by ostell View Post
    Check with the council and check to see if the house is registered as a House of Multiple Occupation. If not and it is then the landlord could be in trouble. If it is then you are not liable for the council tax.
    It can be a HMO for council tax purposes without having to be a HMO for licensing purposes - Council Tax has it's own defined definition of a HMO.

    Craig

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