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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I moved in to my property as a private tenant in July 2014.

Resolved Question:

I moved in to my property as a private tenant in July 2014. Prior to me moving in, my girlfriend (who was already a tenant at the address) informed the council that I would be moving in, and asked for a council tax bill.
(My girlfriend and her flat mate are full time mature students, thus owed no council tax.)
Neither of us received a bill from the council to reflect my having moved in, so we wrote again to them, on two occasions, in July and August 2014, without reply. On all occasions, we received a note to acknowledge receipt of our messages.
On 4th November 2014, I finally received a letter from the council, with a council tax bill that covers a period from July 2014 - March 2015. It asks me to pay instalments of £192, on 1st December 2014, 1st Jan 2015 and 1st Feb 2015. As I am the only person who is due to pay tax in the flat, and given the band of the property (A), the website suggested my usual monthly bill should be around £75.
On 10th November 2014, I emailed the council (and received acknowledgement of receipt), saying I thought it was unreasonable of them to ask for instalments of this size, given the length of notice we had given them. I argued that I had not been given sufficient time to budget to pay instalments of this size. Within the email, I requested that they consider reducing the size of the instalments, and spreading any amount due over a longer period. I also requested that they reply to my email within 14 days.
I have still had no reply, to date.
Would I be in trouble if I waited until I received a new message from the council, which either confirmed that I need to pay the instalments now, or something different? Or am I within my rights to wait for correspondence from them, even if I next receive a message from them after 1st December?
Thanks
Sam
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

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

Alex Watts :

Have you received a breakdown of how it was calculated please?

Customer:

Yes - total bill for period of 1st July 2014 - 31st March 2015 (minus discount of £192.32) for being only working occupant) = £576.95.

Customer:

Made up of 3 payments of £192.95 on 01/12/14, then £192.00 on 01/01/15 and £192.00 on 01/02/15

Customer:

Full Size Image

Alex Watts : This doesn't show the council tax exemption, for student just a disregard?
Customer:

There's a 25% reduction if there is only one working member of the household and the rest are full time students. That's what the 'disregard' must represent.

Alex Watts : But have you checked?
Customer:

Checked with the council? No. Can't get hold of them to check anyway, by email or phone.

Alex Watts :

Indeed.

Alex Watts :

I would check with the Council. You are first entitled to a 25% discount as a single person and then 100% exemption on those remaining occupants.

Alex Watts :

I would certainly ask for a breakdown

Alex Watts :

Really it should be that any changes reported within 30 days to make sure you have an accurate bill

Alex Watts :

But you can contest it, if they do not provide a breakdown

Alex Watts :

But in short if you are single you are entitled to 25%

Alex Watts :

If there are students you are entitled to 100% for those students.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

OK thanks. Going back to my original question - will I be in trouble if I haven't paid the fee requested by the date they specified?

Alex Watts :

In trouble no

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

OK - to clarify - if I wait for a response from the council, following my query, and that response in writing comes after the date that they requested the first payment, I'm unlikely to face any penalty (that may affect my credit rating)?

Alex Watts : Correct
Customer:

OK, thanks. That's all clear now - thanks for your help.

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