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Thread: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

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    tbfte's Avatar

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    Default Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Good afternoon,

    Yesterday I was visited at my current address by a man claiming to be a high court sheriff, acting on behalf of LB Camden to recover a council tax debt on a property I left around 9 months ago.

    The property I was renting was a one bed flat, from a friend of a friend, who rented it to me via a verbal agreement, for an all-inclusive rent (Council Tax included), with the exception of Gas which was on a key meter. The Bailiff/Sheriff said that this bill was in both mine and my landlords name, firstly, I have never received any communication from LB Camden in respect of this bill, secondly I never signed nor put my name on any bill and my landlord wasn't living at the property at the time of my residence. I have since found out after a bit of digging that my landlord was in fact subletting his council/housing assoc property, something I was unaware of at the time. The bailiff company hadnt informed me of their impending visit yesterday, the bailiff/sheriff couldn't even tell me which court had ruled that I was liable for this bill and has told me I have until his next visit (Weds 22/3/17) to pay in full, or they will remove goods to the total of the debt. I am unsure as to why they aren't chasing the "landlord" as my name definitely wouldn't have been on any tenancy agreement he has/had with LB Camden or whichever Housing Assoc he's with? Any ideas as to how I can get this turned over? Thanks in advance

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    tbfte's Avatar

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Bailiff/Sheriff was acting on behalf of Rundles on behalf of LB Camden

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    The enforcement agent will be given an amount and basic details of the liability order - the local authority do not provide them with full details so it's likely correct that he has no more information. The Liability Order will have been granted by the Magistrates Court local to the council.

    Any documentation just needs to be issued to the 'last known address' to be valid - if they later locate another address then documents don't need to be re-issued.

    The property I was renting was a one bed flat, from a friend of a friend, who rented it to me via a verbal agreement, for an all-inclusive rent (Council Tax included),
    If you rented the whole property then you are liable for the council tax charge on it - arrangements with the landlord cannot alter this . If the action is being taken in both names then the 'landlords' name needs removed, it's likely on the bill as the council have done the best they can with the information they had come up with.

    Even if you didn't have a tenancy agreement then by being resident in the property you would fall liable for the council tax charge in this situation.

    I've seen and dealt with far too many cases of the years of 'inclusive rents' that have caused nothing but trouble for everyone involved.

    Craig

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Thanks for the reply Craig, that's what I'd feared, I'm not in a position to be able to pay this at the moment, far from it, what concerns me is that the "landlord" wasn't the landlord, he was illegally subletting the property to me without my knowledge, had I known I wouldn't have taken the place and doubtless he will claim he was living there at the same time I was (one bed flat, so wasn't the case), so my name wouldn't be on any of the council/housing assocs tenancy agreements, so why aren't they chasing him and not me?

    - - - Updated - - -

    had i of been renting the property legally, naturally i'd have paid CT and would've applied for the single occupancy reduction, so if I am liable and I can prove he wasn't living at the address during my time there, could I at least get the reduction and the court order suspended whilst I make arrangements with the council to make payment(s)

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    lgfa92's Avatar

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Thanks for the reply Craig, that's what I'd feared, I'm not in a position to be able to pay this at the moment, far from it, what concerns me is that the "landlord" wasn't the landlord, he was illegally subletting the property to me without my knowledge, had I known I wouldn't have taken the place and doubtless he will claim he was living there at the same time I was (one bed flat, so wasn't the case), so my name wouldn't be on any of the council/housing assocs tenancy agreements, so why aren't they chasing him and not me?
    Legality of occupation makes no difference for council tax purposes - there's a list of criteria they have to work down to determine who is liable but the 2nd off last is the 'resident' of the property - pretty much a catch all if the other criteria are not met (squatters etc would fall liable under this provision - collecting the monies though...)

    What I'd imagine is that whatever information the have come up with just shows the two names, and in the absence of anything else, they've gone with the most likely case of it being a joint occupation. It sounds like they are unaware that he was your 'landlord'.

    If he did claim to be resident then you'd have him on that one if you could show that he was the person who held the tenancy as he would be the resident with a higher legal interest in the property than you and thus solely liable for the Council Tax charge.

    had i of been renting the property legally, naturally i'd have paid CT and would've applied for the single occupancy reduction, so if I am liable and I can prove he wasn't living at the address during my time there, could I at least get the reduction and the court order suspended whilst I make arrangements with the council to make payment(s)
    You would be entitled to a single person discount if you can show you were the sole occupier - the council may reject that though based on what they have (it depends how sure they are in their in minds that it's not applicable). If the council refused a discount or you want to dispute liability then the valuation tribunal is an option.

    There's no requirement for them to suspend action however it would certainly be good practice for them to do so.

    Craig

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Cheers Craig, I've got proof of his living elsewhere, as I used to have to forward all of his post to him in pre-paid envelopes and he was working a distance it would have been impossible to have commuted from LB Camden to that job everyday, also have receipts of the cash paid to his account each month. So might be bale to prove that he wasn't living there, although if I can't what do you think the likelihood is that they'd only seek to take half of the "joint" debt from me and chase him for the remainder...actually i already know what that answer is likely to be, zero chance...haha

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Actually, it should be possible to prove he was the tenant and the landlord as the tenancy was in his name and it was a council property he was subletting, the same council which is billing me

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Quote Originally Posted by tbfte View Post
    Actually, it should be possible to prove he was the tenant and the landlord as the tenancy was in his name and it was a council property he was subletting, the same council which is billing me
    In which case (assuming they don't try and claim you were a resident partner - which complicates the matter) then, unless the council can show he was resident elsewhere, the ball is in your court in that respect.

    If he was 'working away' the onus would then be on him to show the property was not his 'sole or main residence' to get out of liability - either he's resident and liable for council tax or he's admitting housing tenancy fraud, he can't have it both ways.

    Craig

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    I remember having similar conversations over the years - "I'm not liable as I wasn't living there" etc . Reply was usually along the lines of "Thank you for your admission of potential benefit fraud and council tenancy fraud. I'll be required to pass the information over to our fraud teams who may want to investigate further..." usually replied to by "Oh, actually I was living there afterall." followed by "How would you now like to pay your outstanding council tax sir..."

    Craig

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    tbfte's Avatar

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    Default Re: Falsely named on Council Tax Bill,am I liable?

    Haha exactly. I@m certain LB Camden take a dim view on subletting, like you said he can't have it both ways and he could try and claim I was there as his partner, haha, now that'd actually bring some humour into the situation. Let's see how I get on tomorrow with the council, going to head up there in person in the hope of finding someone useful. Thanks for your time this afternoon Craig, much appreciated.

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