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Jeremy Aldermartin
Jeremy Aldermartin, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 9584
Experience:  Dual qualified Solicitor and Attorney
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Are converting an office into 22 residential units. It’s not

Customer Question

Hi. im We are converting an office into 22 residential units. It’s not currently finished and the local council are asking for council tax back dated to feb. we appealed and they said we lost our appeal
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Only spoke to the council via email
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: pe30
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: my phone number***********
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 13 days ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I still need the answer plsEven if it’s just to tell me what the law states on it
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 12 days ago.

Hi thank you for your message, please note that I will look to provide an accurate but nevertheless speedy reply to your inquiry. I am sorry to hear about your situation but I will endeavour to help you today.

Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 12 days ago.

An empty property can still be charged council tax therefore, if the period the council is charging you is during your period of ownership council tax is due. I trust this assists

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi yes that makes sense that an empty property can be taxed.
But can a property that doesn’t exist yet be taxed?
You must understand that these units were not completed, not signed off by the fire department or building control, so they are uninhabitable?Have you taken that element into account?
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 12 days ago.
Well how have they taxed you exactly? Have they taxed you based on the old building that was there? Have they taxed you for 22 apartments? Have they taxed you in accordance with the land area and pre-existing structure?
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
They have taxed 22 units individually and now want to take me yo court.
I’m happy to go and argue the point that they are uninhabitable and so no service is being provided either, I just would like your opinion on that and where the law says A developer has to pay before a property is complete
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 11 days ago.
I see, so a property can be exempt from council tax if it is undergoing major repair work to make it habitable, or is undergoing structural alterations. This exemption lasts for 12 months only. Therefore if the work has lasted more than 12 months the council tax would be due. Meanwhile, properties that remain empty and unfurnished for more than six months are entitled to a discount of up to 50% on the applicable council tax bill so you could argue that point. I trust this assists
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
That’s for existing properties.
This was a listed building with an office in it. So there was no business rates to finish in order to start the clock ticking for 12 months.
The council inspector turned up one day, looked at the site, saw some kitchens and bathrooms and some new walls on the 1st and 2nd floors and declared that 22 new flats now exists and we pay £100 pcm for each of them.
On the 3rd floor it was still an open plan Buikding site (not 8 units that say)
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Your point is valid, if it was an existing building…
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I need the law on new builds and when they become taxable
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 11 days ago.
This is an existing building you are converting the existing office building to apartments. Therefore the 12 months applies, you get 12 months then council tax kicks in, as the council inspector clearly understood. I trust this assists
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 11 days ago.
That said for new builds the council tax is due on the completion date specified in a completion notice. A completion notice is a document that specifies the 'completion date' for newly built properties. It is the date on which the property becomes a dwelling for Council Tax purposes, and is the date it is entered into the valuation list. The completion notice is issued in accordance with Schedule 4A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and Section 17 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Where work on a property is not yet completed, the completion notice can be served specifying the final completion day of up to three months from the date of service, for the remaining works for completion of the property to be carried out. I trust this assists
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Ok, so given the fact the builder has walked off the job, and it’s not complete, and we can’t get the materials to complete because of Covid, where would that leave us?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
They have charged us for 22 units, one of which actually cannot be built because of an unforeseen structural issue.I hoping you can ‘throw me a bone’ on this… it’s clearly not in the spirit of encouraging the entrepreneurial members of the public to help solve the housing crisis is it?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Although it was an existing building, it was an existing office with no rates. We were hoping to turn it into residential. That has hasn’t quite happened.
Apart from anything else, we can’t afford to pay it
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 10 days ago.
You need to negotiate with the council for example discuss the points you have raised. I trust this assists
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Yep. Apart from my moral stance, is there any other angle you have seen before in this instance I might try?
Expert:  Jeremy Aldermartin replied 10 days ago.
No I am afraid not. I think you can argue around the one or two that Cannot be finished as opposed to aren’t finished. I trust this assists