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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Since May 2010 I rent a full property in London. When I first

Customer Question

Since May 2010 I rent a full property in London. When I first moved in I was the only person living in the property so I claimed the single occupancy benefit of 25% on the Council tax. After a while a second person moved into the property. Both that person and myself thought the other person had contacted the Council for cancellation of the 25% benefit which was not the case. We are intending to leave the country in the next months. I have gone through all the receipts and have just found out that we had failed to disclose the fact that there were more than one person living in the property. I am incline to openly contact the council, tell them the truth and pay the undue amount. I am very afraid that they may bring charges against me for fraud, so I do not really what to do.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

How long is it before you go away please?

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

I do not know yet, actually. It could well be that I will stay in the country for 2 years still. Regardless of whether I am leaving the country or not, I want to pay.

Alex Watts :

Ok - then you should just inform them of the change now.

Alex Watts :

Just say there has been a change in circumstance.

Alex Watts :

Usually they do not ask when they moved in

Alex Watts :

But if they do you need to be honest and say

Alex Watts :

They may just backdate the liability bill to April which is when the new bills came out

Alex Watts :

But if you just declare it now all should be fine

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

Would they bring charges against me, or just backdate the liability?

Alex Watts :

It is not as if you had been claiming benefit or anything

Alex Watts :

Unlikely

Alex Watts :

More likely backdate

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

Are there any chances of them suing me for fraud? As I am coming forward myself without waiting for them to get to me...is there any fraud at all?

Alex Watts :

It is possible but very unlikely.

Alex Watts :

There is only fraud if you disclose or fail to disclose something dishonestly

Alex Watts :

That has not happened here.

Alex Watts :

You thought that the other did it and they thought you did

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

I realized back 3 weeks ago that we had missed telling them the fact that my friend had moved in so I called them and told them that someone had moved in in June. I was scared and did not know what to do. I was unsure about what to do.

Alex Watts :

Yes that is fine.

Alex Watts :

If you told them June leave it at that

Alex Watts :

They do not normally check

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

Should I now disclose the missed fact in written or calling them? Are there any penalties?

Alex Watts :

If you had told them June leave it at that at the moment.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

But from May 2010-May 2014 we have paid as only one person was living here. I am more inclined to call them and tell them the truth. What is better: not to call them (they will start to charge the full amount from June 2014 onwards), or call them and tell them that we have failed to pay the full amount for the time May 2010-May 2014?

Alex Watts :

They are unlikely to check, so I would not concern yourself too much. If you are paying full rate now then the Council are unlikely to do anything and investigate.

Alex Watts :

There are many people who change status like this, but unless benefit is being claimed, the Council do not look into it

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

I understand. By paying May 2010-May 2014 I am covering against any future claims...or am I am opening a new front of questions asked by the Council?

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

...as I had alreay told them "June 2014"?

Alex Watts :

You are opening a can of worms

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

"You are opening a can of worms" Ok, I now understand

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

Thanks!

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

JACUSTOMER-rfiatn9m- :

No, thanks. I will not contact them then; just leave it as it is.

Alex Watts :

Ok

Alex Watts :

If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go today

Alex Watts :

If the system wont let you please say

Alex Watts :

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Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

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