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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69265
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recieved a council tax bill for a property i own that is

Customer Question

I recieved a council tax bill for a property i own that is empty due to the fact i have been fighting for planninig permision for the last 2 years. I now have planning permision this was won on appeal.

i recieved a council tax bill for 100% this was paid in full at the time, now they are trying to say i should pay 150% council tax and that I owe more money.

Surely this can not be legal!

thanks Jonathan Neesam
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Whats their explanation for this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Because the property has been vacant for over a certain period of time. property was only vacant due to planning application taking the so long and been refused twice then won on appeal for the same scheme.


Surely you can not go back on a previously paid bill and state you are increasing it by 50%

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
So the issue is not that they are charging 150% but back charging for a previous period?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes this is correct, after they have recieved full payment for that year at 100%

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, this makes no sense.

Was a reduction applied at any time?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No i payed the full council tax as the bill stated at the time but now the council want to back charge me as they say the bill should be 50% more due to the fact the propery has been empty for more than 2 years.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Ok. But were you paying council tax over the whole of those two years?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yes in full for each year as soon as the bills came.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
So what is their justification for this?

Are they saying you've extended the house so are liable for a greater amount?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

no! the increase is because the property is not occupied. This is a new thing implimented this year to charge 150% of rateable value for any property empty for longer than a certain period.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I see.

They are trying to charge you extra basically because the property is sitting unoccupied and usually unfurnished.

Of course, it shouldn't be legal but it is. Councils are free to charge up to 50% extra for properties empty for more than 2 years.

It must be said that they are being very draconian with you though. They are effectively charging the maximum as soon as the option becomes available. It might be worth asking them to review that decision. They can charge up to 50% extra. Its not a duty to charge that amount.

You can always complain to the Councillors and the Ombudsman.

Failing that your only option is judicial review which is an expensive route and a high test. Its not to be undertaken lightly.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.


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