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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My husband and I have lived on a holiday site in a log cabin

Resolved Question:

My husband and I have lived on a holiday site in a log cabin near Pocklington which is in the East Riding of Yorkshire since 2006. We were one of the first people to live on the site. The owner of the site stated that if we could give one of my son's addresses, as a permanent address then I would not pay council tax. He also stated that the site had to close for a period of 6 weeks, and we agreed to this. We moved in in January 2006 and went to Florida for a 2 weeks holiday. When we got back he told us the good news that the site was only to be closed for a 2 week period in January in future, and that is what has happened for a number of years where people have gone on holiday and the site has closed down. Last year he sent everyone a letter saying for a one-off payment (not sure of the amount.....hundreds of pounds, I have the receipt at home, but I am at the office) we would be able to use the site over a 12 month period. so that is what I did, but not everybody on the site were as foolish as me. But this is not why I am writing, I am just trying to put you in the picture. Last year we received a letter from the council saying were were in breach of the planning consent, and that we were using it as a permanent site and not a holiday one. The council had a meeting with some residents and told them not to worry something could be sorted out, but we have now received another letter reconfirming their intention to take action i.e remove us from the site if we are in breach. Which of course I am together with 40 or more families who live on the site. My husband and I are in our 60's and some are much older, and some pay council tax and others do not. I would pay it if I were allowed to stay, that has never been an issue, I did not know I was doing any wrong as the owner told us to do it this way. No doubt he will now dispute that but there are a lot of people who feel the same way. So my question really is:- "as I have lived there since 2006 can I be removed from the site, and if so why has it taken so long for this issue to come about"? I also need to know if I would have to pay council tax for the past years or is that 'statute of limitation'? Looking forward to your response

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

Am I correct when all you want to know is your Council Tax position beyond 6 years and whether they can remove you?

Customer:

Yes I love where I live but because I feel they can throw us off the site as we would need to get a permanent address it is very worrying, and my husband is not sleeping very well. It is the uncertainty of not knowing. I am seriously looking at either renting somewhere to live and then renting my property out to pay for it, or buying somewhere else to live permanently, but I am unsure how much I would get for my property, especially as a lot more people may want to leave the site now?

Alex Watts :

If the owner or you are in breach of planning then sadly they can get an injunction to have you removed during the closed period.

Alex Watts :

This is because there would be a breach of planning law and they can get an enforcement notice. Further they can seek an injunction from the county court.

Alex Watts :

If the County Court is satisfied and grants an injunction, if you disobey it, that is contempt of Court which you can be warned, fined or sent to prison

Alex Watts :

As for the arrears then yes, any demand is limited to 6 years as per the Limitation Act 1980

Alex Watts :

So they couldn't go back beyond 6 years

Customer:

It is not the 'closed period' I am worried about, it is permanently

Alex Watts :

Well they can't make you leave permanently - it can ONLY be for the closed period, ie the breached period

Alex Watts :

You can defend the whole period. You may just have to live in a B&B for some weeks.

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

So although it is a holiday site, I can still live on it 50 weeks of the year?

Alex Watts :

Yes or whatever the planning permission is

Alex Watts :

I thought it was usually 11 months of the year

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

Sorry Alex I may sound a bit thick, but how can the council send us an injunction to stay off the site, as it is not a residential site and only a holiday home if the owner has planning permission for a holiday site, and he says its open 12 months of the year. Sorry if this sounds unclear, but if we do not need to leave our home by law, then I will cancel selling up and stop trying to find somewhere permanent?

Alex Watts :

But you are in breach of planning permission. Therefore they can take enforcement action

Alex Watts :

You have no right to stay for 12 months a year because there is no permission for that

Alex Watts :

If there was you would be fine

Alex Watts :

Therefore the Council can seek a County Court injunction to prevent you from remaining there for the closed period

Alex Watts :

You have breached planning permission or exceeded its permission and therefore can be stoped

Alex Watts :

Otherwise there would be no need for planning permission, people could simply do as they pleased

Customer:

So even though the owner misled people into thinking it was open for 12 months, he is not responsible and we have no 'come-back' on him?

Alex Watts :

Well that is a different question. You would be able to sue him for breach of contract. But that does not mean you can simply stay for 12 months a year.

Alex Watts :

You would be able to sue him for the 2 weeks you had to stay in a B&B

Alex Watts :

And losses flowing from that.

Alex Watts :

But as it stands you have exceeded planning permission

Customer:

Is there no time restriction on how long I have lived there i.e why has the council waited for so long before pursuing me?

Alex Watts :

In terms of the breach no

Alex Watts :

Its when they find out, it can be weeks, months, years

Alex Watts :

But the fact remains there is a breach

Alex Watts :

I am sorry

Customer:

Well thanks you have been very helpful and honest and I'm grateful for your time!

Alex Watts :

Thank you. Can I help with anything else today?

Customer:

We normally pay our Ground rent on 1st February each year in advance, but if I have not moved out by then whilst looking elsewhere am I obliged to pay for the next 12 months rent.

Alex Watts :

Yes you are. But that does not stop you suing for breach of contract. You can't withhold payments

Alex Watts :

Does this answer the question for you today?

Customer:

If I have moved out will I still have to pay?

Alex Watts :

If you no longer own the plot then no

Alex Watts :

If its just for the 2 weeks then yes

Customer:

We never owned the plot, just the cabin, and If I move out permanently into other accommodation whilst trying to sell it will I still have to pay in advance?

Alex Watts :

Only if your agreement says you have to. It would still be a contract between you and him

Alex Watts :

But you could stop paying and say sue us because of what has happened

Alex Watts :

Then you can counter claim for breach of contract if he does

Customer:

As this applied to a large number of people on the site do you think we should seek legal advise or even write to our MP's or even Planning Government Ministers for their views?

Alex Watts :

MP's wont help

Alex Watts :

Planning Government may

Customer:

Thanks for your help, you have answered all my questions!

Alex Watts :

Great. If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go -the button should be at the bottom of the screen

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

Customer:

How do I print our conversation for future reference?

Alex Watts :

Indeed I understand the frustration. This is why you still should be able to sue the owner for breach of contract and any losses suffered

Alex Watts :

Once you rate the format changes.

Alex Watts :

You can then copy and paste our chat or come back to it at any time

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry I pressed the wrong button I meant to rate you as excellent, full marks, how do I go back and change it?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Try now.
Thanks
Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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