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Council Tax Summons for property I don't own

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  • Council Tax Summons for property I don't own

    Hi, looking for some advice here,

    I received a council tax summons for a property I used to own, but sold in July 2021. The bills were sent to my previous address and I didn't receive them. Finally I got a summons at the start of December. On phoning the council, they said the bills related to the period November 2021 to March 2022. I didn't own the property and didn't live there, so as far as I can see I have no liability. I phoned the council and told them this, they took down the details and suggested I emailed them too, which I did.

    The court date is 12 January. What I'm worried about is what to do if I don't get a response or the council don't cancel the summons. I had initially thought, worst case I show up to court with evidence I don't own the property and that would be it. But reading useful threads in this forum like this one:


    suggests to me that this defence won't be accepted. According to replies on that thread, the only defence is either I already paid (I haven't) or there was something wrong with the procedures of the council (who knows?). Seems bizarre to me but apparently there is no defence that I don't actually owe the tax.

    So what are my options?

    Best case is council withdraws prior to court hearing but whether they do this is out of my hands. So assuming the worst, and they refuse to withdraw / ignore:

    * If I pay them to prevent to court judgement do I have any chance of recovering the money once they accept I did not owe the tax in the first place? It is 700 so not a small amount.

    * If I ignore the summons and get a judgement against me what are the implications of that - will I have Bailiffs coming round?

    Any help really appreciated. The property is in England. The letter I have states "SUMMONS FOR NON-PAYMENT OF COUNCIL TAX". I still don't have copies of the actual bills which were sent to my previous address.
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  • #2
    The information you have been given seems, as someone who sits on these cases, inaccurate. If you can prove you were not liable you should not be made to pay. Best courses of action
    Contact council again and insist they remove the summons and liability order. Arrange to meet with someone in person if you can
    Get your councillor involved if they refuse - they work for you
    If they do not do anything turn up at court - you will have a chance to speak to the council. it is most likely they will withdraw the demand
    Liability orders are issued in bulk - details are not considered by the mags unless someone turns up. The bench has refused to order payment to the council in cases I have heard.
    You must however be absolutely sure of the dates payment is needed for and bring lots of written proof of the sale contracts and dates etc.


    • #3
      Many thanks for the reply! OK good to know that it might be possible to argue this.

      And yes the advice to go back to the council I will certainly be taking up!

      Further research online seems to agree with you - this website from Tunbridge wells council has more detail on possible defences


      I will paste them below in case the link breaks in future and it is useful to anyone else

      "A liability order will normally be granted except where there is a valid defence against the issue of the liability order. The valid defences are:
      • The Council Tax has not been properly set
      • The property is not entered in the Valuation List
      • The total amount of the summons has been paid in full and a receipt is available and shown
      • Bills and reminders have not been sent (this is not the same as not being received)
      • You are exempt from payment of Council Tax
      • You are not the person who is liable to pay the Council Tax that you have been summonsed for (this does not include minor mistakes of spelling of name or title)
      • Bankruptcy, winding up proceedings have commenced or an Administration Order/Debt Relief Order has been made and the Council Tax debt is included
      • The application for a liability order was made more than six years after the first demand was issued"


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