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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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This question regards ***** ***** Council tax. Buy to let

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This question regards ***** ***** Council tax.

Buy to let property. Tenant on AST.

Tenant hands back keys on, say, 4th Feb. (This is when Landlord has access to Property)

Council issues summons to Landlord for unpaid Council tax.

Landlord provides Council with new occupancy date (say 4th April) on a new AST.

Landlord disputes dates of liability, and gives evidence to Council.

Council does not reply.

In a phone conversation, Council disputes when the property became empty "as they have other evidence, which they wont supply, because of Data Protection".

Landlord claims 28 day empty property relief from 4th Feb, when tenant returned keys.

Council refuses as 28 day empty property relief was given to the tenant!

So, here with have a situation whereby a tenant can sign an AST, live there for a month, tell the Council he has left, claim empty property relief, not pay rent and not return keys for a further 4 months, but landlord is liable, supposedly for Council Tax, even when not even having access to the property and the property is still under a tenancy via an AST?

Could someone please clarify?

Of course, when you make a complaint to the Council, they hide behind Data Protection and won't reveal the name of the person handling the case - just "Paul in billing"!

Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** 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 : Its not a HMO at all?

No Alex, a single family home

Alex Watts :

The day the keys are handed back is when you become liable

Alex Watts :

If they try and issue a summons for a period which you are not liable you can turn up at Court and contest it

Alex Watts :

You clearly would need evidence to take with you to convince the Magistrates not to allow a liablity

Alex Watts :


Alex Watts :

But as Landlord you are only responsible for the actual days the keys were handed back

Alex Watts :

If there are arrears for when the tenants occupied that is between the Council and tenants

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?


Thank you Alex.

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