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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 823
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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I write on behalf of my brother. A charge has been put on his

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I write on behalf of my brother. A charge has been put on his buy-to-let property for non payment of council tax from the period of 2007 to 2009. During this time the property was let to a business, but that business has since gone into liquidation. The council got the charging order on 16th July 2013. Can they do this, even though the property was rented to this business, who then housed young people in the care system in the property? As my brother is the landlord the correspondence from the council was going to the rented address , so some of the letters were not received but he received the letter dated 22nd July 2013 and called the council to state that he had received the Charging Order. We need to know what he can legally do to remove this charge.

LondonlawyerJ :

Hello I am a lawyer with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this. Has your brother got a copy of his lease agreement and does it deal with who was responsible for council tax payments?


I am not sure if he has a copy of his lease agreement. But the company that he let it to, stated that they would pay for the council tax. But I believe that some of the young people that they housed were under the age of 18 years and were therefore exempt from paying the council tax.

LondonlawyerJ :

Thankyou I will answer you this afternoon. If that agreement to pay council tax was in writing your brother should try to find it.


Okay. I am sure he told me that the agreement was in writing. But I am not sure if he still has it. I will wait for your answer this afternoon, do you know what time you may be able to get back to me?

LondonlawyerJ :

It will be before 3.00.. I have a meeting starting in 10 minutes of uncertain length.


Thank you. I will be out, but I will be able to check my inbox.

LondonlawyerJ :

In terms of which is liable for paying council tax at a property there is descending list of those responsible for it.


  1. The person who lives there, who owns the freehold;

  2. The person who lives there, who owns the leasehold;

  3. The person who lives there, who is a tenant;

  4. The person who lives there, who has a contractual licence;

  5. The person who lives there, or;

  6. The owner

If there were tenants living in the place then they are responsible for the Council Tax not your brother as they appears at position 3 in the list and your brother at 6. If someone was living there with it a tenancy agreement they are still liable for the tax and not you brother. However, if the only people living there were under 18 your brother may have a problem as no one under the age of 18 can be liable for council tax. So, unless there was an adult living on site then your brother may in fact be responsible for the tax.

This is where the agreement with the people he let his flat to becomes important. If they accepted liability fro CT payments then obviously they should have made them.

Enforcement proceedings against those who default on their council tax payments are brought by way of an application by a local authority for a Liability Order in a Magistrates' Court. Demands would have been sent to the address for tax presumably these were in your brother’s name and were ignored by the occupiers and the people who put them there.

Proceedings would have been started in the magistrates court, an order obtained and eventually bailiffs would have attended the property looking to enforce the debt. This in the absence of your brother proved ineffective and they have now taken a charging order out against the property.

Do you know if the charging order was obtained in the magistrates or county court. If you need to attack the original order hen there are different procedures in each court. However for the reasons set out below this may not be necessary.

You will probably need to attack the original order rather than the charging order itself. When it comes to setting aside orders speed is often very important. Has anything been done since July last year? However, it is quite clear that the people responsible for this problem arising are those who were renting the property from your brother.

As a first step you might think that it is sensible for your brother to contact them to see what they propose to do about this. It seems to me that there is a god argument that they should reimburse your brother in full for the amount that he is said to owe the council. Maybe send a letter setting out the problems your brother faces that tells them they are responsible for the tax either as per the hierarchy set out above or under the agreement or both. Tell them how much is owed and require them to pay it to your brother.

If they refuse then he could start proceedings against them in the small claims court (assuming the debt is below £10,000) and at the same time negotiate with the council to not take any further steps (like forcing a sale of the property).

If those your brother let his place to do not respond then issue proceedings in the small claims court. This is very straight forward and can be done online. The procedure is very straight forward and designed to be used by non lawyers. It is (or was until very recently) possible to go through the entire process including have a claim form on screen before paying the fee to issue proceedings. It is possible to print off a copy at that point and you could attach that (non-issued) claim form to you letter for extra impact.

You will get the issue fee and your reasonable expenses back if you win but there are no orders for legal costs in the small claims court.

I hope this answer helps but if you need any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me again. I would also be grateful if you would please take the time to rate my service. This will not close the question and I will continue to answer you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


My brother let the flat to the Company that has now gone into liquidation, so he is unable to contact anyone from there. The company in turn then put tenants into the property. I am not sure what you mean by contact the 'people'? do you mean the company or the tenants? As far as I am aware to contact the individual tenants would be impossible.

I was talking about the company that had put the tenants in as they are the one's who had the contract with your brother. If there were tenants over the age of 18 they will be responsible for the CT and they are the people he should be threatening. Your brother also needs to find the evidence that the company or their tenants were to be responsible for the CT. If he can't do so then he, as owner, may be liable for the outstanding CT that has led to the charging order.
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