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Jak Bowtell
Jak Bowtell,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 104
Experience:  Principal in Data Protection Law at Lambeth Council
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I have a query about council tax Assistant: What steps have

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I have a query about council tax
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I have not filed any paperwork as there is no legal proceedings taking place at the moment
Assistant: Where is the property located?
Customer: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No thank you
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I am renting a flat that is within a hotel. The landlord on my tenancy agreement is a limited company. The building operates as a hotel, it also rents out rooms as shared accomodation and they share a kitchen. I rent a flat on a different floor of the building. The Council say I can't pay council tax because the address isn't registered as residential, only commercial. Where do I stand in terms of liability for council tax? Thanks

Hi there, is your tenancy agreement a leasehold or a licence agreement?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
It is an assured shorthold tenancy, but it refers to a room in the hotel which I previously rented, where I was sharing a kitchen with other residents, 11 months ago I moved into the only flat in the building and started paying more rent, but have not been given a new agreement yet

Ok so the shorthold has ended and now you're living in a different part of the hotel, you've been there for 11 months and although you're paying a sum of money, there is no agreement of any kind in place and has not been for the past 11 months since the shorthold ended?

Generally, contracts in the UK can be completely verbal with some exceptions, one of the exceptions is where a contract is a contract of land (this includes leaseholds, licences etc). It seems to me that you're not actually a resident of any kind in law and the obligation to pay council tax is on the owner of the property and not you as you don't have a written contract.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
No there has been no new agreement, I was under the impression that the agreement would just carry on month by month unless something new was agreed, although like I said, I am now living in a different part of the building

As the initial agreement was a shorthold (which has limited security of tenure), there is usually a fixed term on the agreement. It seems that agreement has expired and you're now physically in a different part of the property with no agreement in law. This limits your rights in law over the property and you are essentially there as a guest and you're paying them in return for them letting you be a guest. This equally means that you could pack up and leave at any time without notice. I agree with the Council's advice, you simply can't pay council tax because you're not actually a resident, and the onus is on the commercial property owner.

Would you mind accepting my initial answer and providing a rating, this ensures I get paid for my time, but I will continue to help you with your subsequent questions on this if you need further assistance.

 

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
If I click on finish by rating can you still help me or will that end the chat?

Yes, I can absolutely continue it won't end our chat.

Jak Bowtell and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

I'm still on hand for your subsequent questions :)

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you, I am happy continuing with the current situation with the tenancy as I like living there etc. The council tax is my only concern, I haven't been paying it because the council say the flat isn't on their system, so I have tried to pay it but I don't want to be held liable in future (even after I've moved out) but from what you're saying I shouldn't be as the tenancy is effectively ended?

That is correct, yes, as the tenancy is effectively ended, you are not technically a resident in law and the commercial property owner is responsible, you can't be held liable for this as you're neither a resident in relation to the owners of the hotel nor a resident in the eyes of the council.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Ok, so the tenancy agreement situation should take precedent over the council's decision of who is responsible (if that situation arose) ?

It appears that that is the case from the information you have provided, yes.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I would attach a picture of the agreement but I don't think I can do that. I was told by the manager of the hotel that the council were coming to inspect the building and said he wasn't going to mention that the flat exists (which is why I am now worried that something is a miss) he also told me that another building he owns over the road just got a £12000 fine from the council for having professional people living there and not just students, which is I suspect what is going on here too!
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Apparently a AST will carry on as a periodic tenancy after the fixed term ends? Although if I am in a different part of the building to that which is on the tenancy agreement that will void this?