... to be outraged at this lack of information about 'granny flat' council tax?

(59 Posts)
marykat2004 Fri 07-Feb-14 12:43:19

I've posted this in property and DIY but want to post it here, too, as this thread gets more traffic. Here is the story:

When a house is not a house

Do people know that you can have a house that is one house on the deed, can not be sold or rented out as separate units, but is taxable as separate units?

With many people moving out of London, attracted by bigger, cheaper properties, and with more people working from home, this fact needs to be made public. It needs to be known to all estate agents, builders, building inspectors, conveyancing solicitors, surveyors and most of all the public.

My husband and I bought a house that had an extra kitchen on the top floor. The main kitchen of the 3 story, 4-bedroom terraced house was actually quite small. When the previous owner’s 95-year-old mother had a stroke and many carers were coming into the house, the previous owner installed for herself a kitchen on the top floor.

When we viewed the house we saw potential for work space, as I wanted to work from home myself. We also saw the potential long term benefits for our daughter, who is 9 now. With increasing property prices, it is unlikely she will be able to afford to move out for quite some time, and might like to have some space for herself when she is older. We also saw the potential that if we had health problems, we had the option of staying on the ground floor when recovering from surgery for example (I have had foot surgery and will likely need it again in the future).

The house was sold as a single dwelling. On the deed it is a single dwelling. Planning permission would be required to turn it into flats. Walls would need to be built, with locking doors to separate areas of the house.

When we had the survey done, the surveyor commented that 2 kitchens would be problematic if we were applying for a mortgage. But since we were cash buyers that was not an issue. He said nothing about double council tax.

We moved in in August 2013. We began paying council tax on one house, as the previous had done. We had a letter from the Valuation Office asking about work done by the previous owner. I saw no problem in reporting the work done, but mentioned that at present we were not using the second kitchen. We had decided it was more practical to have the work space on the top floor.

During the sale of the house the previous owner had had to get a building regulation certificate for the arch that was built when she knocked through the bedrooms on the top floor. The second kitchen is mentioned on the building regulation certificate. This is what generated the alert to the valuation office.

Houses with 2 kitchens are not uncommon. If you look on rightmore.co.uk you can find them quite easily. Many, like ours are not separated. They have no separate entrances, no separate utilities, and no locks on any doors. They are being sold as a single dwellings as ours was. I phoned up an estate agent to one of the houses currently on the market and asked if they were aware that these houses, upon sale, would generate two council tax bills. They said they were not aware.

Estate agents take no responsibility for this. Similarly, the conveyancing solicitors also take no responsibility: it states in their terms and conditions that they do not advise on tax, including council tax.

I spoke with the man who issued the building regulation certificate, who was baffled by the situation and said that he never said anything about separate flats, and that the certificate was for the opening of the arch.

After much research I found out that, dating back to 1995, so-called “granny flats” were taxable as separate properties even though they did not have separate entrances and could not be sold or rented out separately.

As a home buyer, buying my first house, after only having a flat in a block, I had no idea that any of this would happen. The previous owner of our house also received a back council tax bill dating to June 2011, when she got the building regulation certificate. She was told she had to pay £2000 immediately, on a house that she had not lived in in 6 months. She is living on a state pension.

We spoke to numerous solicitors, Citizens Advice Bureaux and, several times, the valuation office and the local council tax office. The local council tax office said they only deal with the bills and the valuation office would have to re-evaluate the house. The local council tax office extended our bill due date for 28 days. However, upon receiving our letters of appeal, the valuation office said it could take up to 4 months to re-evaulate the house. Thus meaning we had to pay these back-dated bills that were generated in error.

My husband suffers from mental illness and hearth failure. We bought this house because we thought it was disability-friendly. We bought this house so I could work from home, and look after my husband (I am his carer) and our daughter. Since this stress with the council tax I have been unable to work. I only started my business in October 2013. This is such a difficult time to be starting a business, and then having to deal with this council tax. We can not afford to pay 2 council tax bills.

I want to make the property buying public aware that if someone is attracted to a house with 2 kitchens that they will have to pay double council tax even if the current owner is not paying double. Basically, when someone puts in a kitchen, they don't need planning permission. But when they sell the house, it becomes two flats in the eyes of the Council Tax people, no matter what the deed says. People need to know this.

The previous owner had no idea about “granny flats” or taxes on “granny flats” and never even considered any part of her house a “granny flat”. She merely adapted a space on the top floor for herself, to give her mother and her mother's carers some space.

This has caused extreme stress to all involved: a pensioner with no family who has a new house to look after; a mentally and physically disabled man and his carer, and a child who is being affected by the stress that her parents are under.

Had we known about this “law” where a house is house on the deed but not in the eyes of the Council tax, we would have chosen another house.

Estate agents need to tell people about this. Conveyancing solicitors need to know this. And builders who put in kitchens without needing planning permission also need to be aware of this.

ComposHat Fri 07-Feb-14 13:00:45

Meh...you bought a property with a separate annexe and are being charged as such. The fact you want to do something else with the living unit is neither here nor there. Should have looked into it before buying the house.

The annexe will be band A or B plus they attract a 50% council tax discount so (going by my council tax) no more than 400quid a year.

Rosa Fri 07-Feb-14 13:04:16

Surely it would cost less to 'remove the kitchen units' therefore eliminating the second kitchen and look at re installing it as and when you need it.

I agree that if the people moving I to the property or buying it, are one family, that includes disabled adults (not pensioners) or teenagers 16-21, then the Council Tax should be set as one property.

On a side note, teens taking training courses that cause the Child Benefit to stop, or staying with a non claiming carer, shouldn't be hit, either.

It makes a mockery of Disability Benefits and Widowed Parents Allowance being set higher, because you lose out anyway on CT and HB.

ComposHat Fri 07-Feb-14 13:09:23

And really? The stress has made you unable to work for four months? Pull thr other one?

rallytog1 Fri 07-Feb-14 13:09:30

I think this has got to be about more than the presence of a kitchen. I have a utility room in which the fridge, slow cooker, and bread maker live, as well as a sink. I could make all meals in there, as well as wash up afterwards. Does that make it a second kitchen? Who decides what counts as a kitchen?

Have you seen the planning permission in full from the work the previous owner did? I just wonder if she got permission for a slightly more separate entity than what she actually ended up doing, or that she has carried out work that was not permitted. The fact that the council saw fit to contact you about work done by the previous owner suggests to me that they suspected she had done something different to what they have permission for.

Either way, something seems not quite right. Could you get someone from the planning department round to assess what has been done?

Finola1step Fri 07-Feb-14 13:09:50

In the politest possible way, it does sound like that you are making a bigger deal about this than needs be.

If you remove the kitchen, will it solve the problem?

Are you financially able to pay the two council tax bills?

It would appear that this situation is over taking your thoughts more than it deserves.

Mintyy Fri 07-Feb-14 13:10:20

Sorry, too long for me.

Thanks - we are thinking of converting the basement into a flat for our eldest disabled son to use with carers, will keep an eye on what it means for him. Wonder how they define 'a kitchen'

vickibee Fri 07-Feb-14 13:15:42

Make ths kitchen into a bathroom for the top flooe instead, assuning plumbing/sewerage is there.
Under new c tax rules in our area if a property is unoocupied for more than one year you have to pay a 150% charge, would this apply if it is not being used?

WooWooOwl Fri 07-Feb-14 13:15:44

I sympathise with you, but I find it hard to believe that you can honestly blame this for you not working.

We came across a similar issue when we applied to the valuation people for a reduction in our council tax after we found out that the people in the other side of our semi were paying less than us. We had put in a downstairs toilet when we moved in, and the guy that came to do the valuation said that we could go down a band and pay less on the council tax because the property didn't have the extra room when we bought it, but that because of the extra toilet, the people we sell the house to in future will have to pay the next band up.

It makes no sense at all.

ProfPlumSpeaking Fri 07-Feb-14 13:21:31

1. If this has only just happened then you can appeal the valuation officers' decision.
2. The same happened to us. I informed the council that the reality was that we used the house as a single dwelling and wanted to pay council tax on that basis, but if they insisted that we had two properties by virtue of having a second kitchen (there was a cooker point in the basement, but no cooker) then I wanted to claim second home exemption on the main part of the house. This reduced our total bill considerably below what it would be for a large single dwelling. Amazingly, they then decided that we were one house after all.

cakebar Fri 07-Feb-14 13:21:43

Would taking the kitchen out be an option?

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 07-Feb-14 13:23:10

You need to appeal. I looked into this a few years ago when I was thinking about buying a house with an annexe - a relative of mine was on a valuation tribunal, and there is no way it is as clear cut as this.

Or, as other people have suggested, just take out the kitchen!

DamnBamboo Fri 07-Feb-14 13:31:12

Buyer beware.
Go back to your solicitors if you feel you have a real case, but this is not news at all.
I agree with Compos post.

Why on earth can't you work because of this? I don't get it.

ProfPlumSpeaking Fri 07-Feb-14 13:32:27

Incidentally, lots of orthodox Jewish families have 2 kitchens for religious reasons - to separate dairy from meat. I can't believe that they all have to pay 2 lots of council tax for that reason. That would be discriminatory. So kitchens can;t be the be all and end all - they are just evidence of 2 dwellings but can be countered with evidence showing that there really is only the one.

Also meant to say that if, when she is older, your DD does use the annexe as a separate living space as you anticipate then you will need to pay the 2 lots of council tax a it really will be two dwellings.

3littlefrogs Fri 07-Feb-14 13:32:33

IME this is pretty well publicised by social services, planning departments and charities for the elderly.

Any "granny extension" must be very clearly part of the main house, (i.e. be accessible via internal doors)and must not have a separate kitchen if it is not to be considered a separate dwelling and subject to council tax.

However, your situation does sound as if this is a mistake on the part of the council, as the top floor of your home is not an extension with a separate entrance.

I would take out the kitchen and get the planning officer round to inspect.

Waspie Fri 07-Feb-14 13:46:09

OP, where do you get 1995 from? The LGFA 1992 provides for this and is simply an extension of the 1967 rating act. Had the District Valuer known of the creation of a separate rateable unit (the "granny annex") they would have banded it when it occurred.

As others have said, remove the kitchen and get the DV round to revalue the property as one hereditament (rateable unit).

If you want to read the legislation, the LGFA 1992 and also Statutory Instrument 549 "The Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1992" are online.

Not sure why you've had to take 4 months off work to cope with this though. Either the DV and the CT office could have told you what you needed to do to get the property revalued as a single unit. The CTax office can suspend your granny annex bill for you however the bills haven't been "generated in error" as you put it. the CT office is obliged to bill in accordance with the valuation list. Presumably the original property band reduced when the revaluation occurred? So you need to expect that if, for example, you currently have a house with a Band E and an annex with a band A when the revaluation is done you could end up with one property in Band G.

If the valuation office refuse to revalue, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal (but there are time limits so check this out). I must say that most DV's I've ever worked with would want to see demonstrable evidence of the separation of the annex dwelling - such as separate entrance, locks on doors etc... before valuing separately.

Your OP is very sensationalist and short on actual facts.

Waspie Fri 07-Feb-14 13:52:35

Also, you may wish to look into whether you qualify for disabled band reduction (DBR). The provision is that if you have a room (or more than one) for the exclusive use of a disabled person - such as a downstairs bathroom which has been adapted for use by someone using a wheelchair, you can get a band reduction of one band. So if your house is banded as E then you will be charged at band D.

The regs. on how to qualify are very tight but your council tax office can give you more info. if you feel that it may be relevant to you. Gov Linky

Bowlersarm Fri 07-Feb-14 13:58:36

the surveyor commented that 2 kitchens would be problematic if we were applying for a mortgage

OP - why didn't this ring alarm bells? Why didn't you follow this up at the time? The surveyor actually bought it to your attention.

ComposHat Fri 07-Feb-14 14:01:29

Looking at the figures a band E house with a band A flat( with 50% ddiscount) is cheaper than if the whole structure was redesignated as a single large band g family home.

This really is a stupid fuss over nothing.

marykat2004 Fri 07-Feb-14 14:11:27

It is only the last 3 weeks that I have been unable to work because this has taken up all my time. 3 weeks is a lot of time when you are just trying to start out self-employed. 4 months is the time we might have to wait for the revaluation.

There is no 'annex.' what was added was a kitchen on the top floor. It is open plan with another room (wall knocked through) so no chance to become a bathroom.

I think some of you are confirming that I am actually mentally ill and need help. Thank you

ComposHat Fri 07-Feb-14 14:23:14

No we aren't making any comment about your mental health, just you've blown this out of all proportion. Even if youve 'only' spent three weeks on thia that is 120 hours worth of unnecessary fretting and faffing.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 07-Feb-14 14:28:02

OP, I read your sentence 'Since this stress with the council tax I have been unable to work' as meaning that the stress had stopped you from working, which does sound like an extreme reaction. If anyone is making assumptions about your mental health I'd guess that they're just reading it the same way as I did - it's just unfortunate the sentence came out that way, rather than anyone meaning to be unkind.

horsetowater Fri 07-Feb-14 14:28:04

Of course you pay council tax for two households.

A separate kitchen generally means a separate household. Stop ranting and get over this!

marykat2004 Fri 07-Feb-14 14:30:34

Exactly. I am having mental health problems. I can't tell what is real and what isn't. Spending all my time trying to figure this out when I should be putting my energy into my business is wrong. I have failed at life.

Chippednailvarnish Fri 07-Feb-14 14:32:24

I'm guessing if you had a huge mortgage to pay there is no way in hell that you would let this stop you working.
As compos said you have blown this out of proportion.

horsetowater Fri 07-Feb-14 14:36:24

Why is it such a problem anyway. I don't get it.

Finola1step Fri 07-Feb-14 14:43:43

MaryKat things must be really tough what with caring for your husband, looking after your dd, big house move plus trying to get things off the ground with a new business. It must feel like that this council tax business is the last straw.

It's ok to be struggling with everything you have got on your plate right now. Will you please talk to your GP. You are not a failure. But you do need to get some advice and support.

Posting in AIBU will not get you the support you need. See your GP ASAP and in the meantime, there is a lovely group of people who post on the Mental Health board. They will get you through this weekend until you can see your GP.

wobbleinprogress Fri 07-Feb-14 14:48:08

We are in the process of buying a house with a granny flat. Sellers had told us they checked with the council and and it would be charged as one property as we were occupying the whole as a family home. Your post scared me so I phoned the accessors office, they have confirmed it will be charged as one property. So it clearly varies from council to council. But I feel better for checking so thank you!

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 07-Feb-14 14:49:28

OP, please do what Finola says, and also, try not to worry - it will be fine. x

Paintyfingers Fri 07-Feb-14 14:54:02

I didn't know this op, so thank you for the warning. Sending you hugs - sounds like you have a heck of a lot on your plate.

Plumpcious Fri 07-Feb-14 14:57:03

I don't think having a second kitchen is actually a problem in itself - the problem is the valuation office have made a mistake in thinking your house consists of two dwellings, which it doesn't. And that is going to take time to rectify.

I remember the rule used to be that if there was more than one household in a single property (and 'household' was defined in a specific way - I think including something about not sharing household expenditure) then council tax was due from both households. However I can't find anything about this on my local council's website nor on the central Government website, so perhaps it no longer applies. There are rules about houses in multiple occupation (eg bedsits) but again that has specific definitions that don't apply to your situation.

Your house obviously hasn't been split into separate dwellings (self-contained units with own entrance etc) so that's not an issue either.

As the house is a single dwelling and you are occupying it as a single household, you should be paying only one Council tax.

I'm sure it will work out in the end but unfortunately you have to keep overpaying until the appeal is successful.

marykat2004 Fri 07-Feb-14 15:01:30

Wobbleinprogress, you should get that in writing. Ours was sold as a single family home, no mention of the term 'granny flat' even. It is one property on the deed. Had we asked before buying, the previous owner would have told us the same. It is in the sale itself that the Valuation Office (part of HMRC) generates new council tax bills. It is national, not to do with the local council. Make sure and get all the documentation that under no circumstance are you going to get 2 council tax bills.

wobbleinprogress Fri 07-Feb-14 15:13:16

Marycat, I have spoken to the valuation office. The granny flat is currently let as a holiday let, and the valuation office is doing a revaluation, from band f plus business rates (for 2 properties, one a business) to band g (as one property), this if from the valuation office, confirmed by email. Not sure what else I can do. Clearly rules can change and they could look at it as 2 properties but as it stands they are definitely saying it is one bill as it will be occupied by us a family. You have my sympathies thought, absolute nightmare.

bigbluebus Fri 07-Feb-14 15:15:00

I would be interested to know what actually constitutes a kitchen.
I was thinking that at some point in the future, we may have a downstairs extension for our disabled DD. She would need a bedroom and bathroom together with cupboards and worktops to prepare all her medication and feeds . Preparation of these would also require access to a sink (other than the bathroom sink) kettle & small fridge (as some meds need to be in fridge). Would this be classed as a separate kitchen and/or dwelling? It may have French doors onto our garden for ease of access and fire safety but would be very much incorporated into our house as DD will never be independent. We already get CT reduction as we have a specially adapted bathroom upstairs for DD - although she wouldn't be using that if we build on the ground floor - so specialist bath would come out and be replaced by standard one.

3littlefrogs Fri 07-Feb-14 15:24:47

bigbluebus
From everything I have read you must not have an area that can be used to prepare meals, as this would be considered to be a kitchen. It is the kitchen that seems to be the main factor in classifying the area as a separate dwelling for council tax purposes. So probably stay away from work tops, sinks or anything that could even remotely resemble a food prep area.
Also, there must be an internal door/access between your dd's room and the rest of the house and no separate access from outside.

Again, from what I have read, the second council tax only kicks in when you sell the property to a third party, not when you and your dd are living in it. I don't get the logic of that personally.

HamletsSister Fri 07-Feb-14 15:29:16

And we lived in a flat with NO kitchen - we had the owner's flat in our pub for which we paid business rates PLUS council tax for the flat - even though it was uninhabitable by anyone else.

It could be worse - you also pay it for caravans or any dweliing. You are paying for services you use.

bigbluebus Fri 07-Feb-14 16:09:53

3littlefrogs - Thank you for that info. I know of at least 2 families that have downstairs extensions for their disabled children which have doors opening straight out onto the garden (so could be construed as a separate entrance) - but they do have internal access to the rest of the house and no kitchens, just bathrooms. I just thought the meds/feed prep area would be good as visiting carers could then prepare her things whilst still being able to keep an eye on DD - instead of coming through to our kitchen and leaving her unsupervised. But if what you say is correct, we wouldn't have to pay any more CT but may have difficulty if we ever came to sell up.

3littlefrogs Fri 07-Feb-14 16:15:08

I think you might have to get round it by having an area where you could have a table, and carry everything from your own kitchen on a tray.
It does seem ridiculous IMO.

ProfPlumSpeaking Fri 07-Feb-14 16:16:49

bigbluebus I was told it was whether or not you had an electric point for a cooker (those big red switches).

Tulip26 Fri 07-Feb-14 16:26:02

Unable to work? Then how are you paying? Just take the spare kitchen out!

zeeboo Fri 07-Feb-14 16:36:35

What Waspie said basically!

whois Fri 07-Feb-14 16:47:29

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Notawordfromtheladybird Fri 07-Feb-14 16:49:08

You should be outraged your solicitor didn't flag this up. Pretty standard. Just like if sellers did a conversion, you as buyer will get slapped with new council evaluation and normally go into a higher band/ pay more council tax.

bigbluebus Fri 07-Feb-14 17:06:25

profplum we definitely wouldn't need a cooker socket in there. These regulations seem so vague. Its the same with VAT exemption. WHen we had our current alterations done for DD, one lot of builders said they weren't interested in quoting for the job, as the VAT exemption was such a grey area, they didn't want the responsibility as they were afraid of getting it wrong. It seems to me these things are open to the interpretation by an individual. So you might end up having something described as a granny flat in one CT area that wouldn't be in another.

Based upon your description of your house and second kitchen I don't think you should be having to pay separate council tax for it. Do contact the Council and appeal their descision.
Please try to put it into perspective as well, band A is not the end of the world, you've said you bought the house outright.

Plumpcious Fri 07-Feb-14 18:26:15

I've done some Googling on this and think I need to back-track a bit from my opinion in my previous post. (But I still think a second kitchen is not necessarily proof of a separate unit.)

Anyway:

The Valuation Office Agency have an informative pdf about Council Tax banding in England. On self-contained units it says:

The law requires that each self-contained unit must be separately banded. A self-contained unit is a building or part of a building constructed or adapted to make it capable of forming a separate unit of living accommodation.

It makes no difference whether one or more than one household occupies the units. If a unit is constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation, then it will have a separate council tax banding regardless of how it is used.

The fact that a unit shares common services and cannot be sold on its own does not prevent it from being classed as a self-contained unit and having a separate council tax banding.

So I was wrong about one household per dwelling = one Council tax bill. If a single dwelling contains an additional self-contained unit then both are banded for Council Tax, even if the household uses the the whole dwelling as one unit.

However it's not entirely clear what a 'self-contained unit' is, as a lot of the definition is shaped by legal case law. This page of the VAO's manual (which I think applies to both England and Wales) gives more information, including case summaries of relevant legal cases. This page shows some diagrams of examples of what does and doesn't constitute a separate unit.

If anyone can be bothered to read further, here are some extracts:

A ‘self-contained unit’ is defined as:

“a building or part of a building which has been constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation”

2.1 The Unit must have been constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation. This is purely an objective physical test, and it must disregard intention.

2.4 The unit must be physically capable of use as separate living accommodation

2.5 Provision of standard facilities:

A self-contained unit should usually have facilities for living, sleeping, preparation and cooking of food, and bathing facilities such as a bath/shower, whb and lavatory. However, in exceptional circumstances the lack of a facility does not prevent a unit from being self contained

So I still stand by my argument that a second kitchen alone is not necessarily evidence of a separate living unit - it would have to form part of a unit with other facilities (living/sleeping/bathing) that could be physically self-contained within the building.

For those of you who are concerned about self-contained units for disabled family members I suggest you look at your local council's information about reductions and exemptions from Council Tax for disabled residents. I don't know if these are the same nationwide or if they vary from council to council. Also be aware that if you create a unit within your home that is physically capable of being used as a separate living unit (even if you don't intend to use it that way) if you sell your house there may be an issue for the new owners needing two Council Tax bands, unless either you or they remove some of the facilities so it's no longer a self-contained unit.

PS: I don't have any expert knowledge on this, I've just read the stuff on the VOA's website.

ajandjjmum Fri 07-Feb-14 18:47:33

Wow - we built on to our house so that Mum could live with us - but she was insistent that she had her own front door. And she has, together with kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room etc. We share a utility, and that is the link between the properties. I had no idea that this should be receiving separate council tax bills - I assumed that as we had signed a Section 106 agreement, and the gas/electricity covers all, it would be one unit.

I hope no-one comes knocking on our door for 10 years of back council tax!

Zacemdan Fri 07-Feb-14 19:24:11

There's an exemption you can apply for if you u occupy the 'annex'.
Council Tax exemption Class T

An exemption may apply to a dwelling that is an annexe to, or within the grounds of, the main dwelling.
The annexe must be unoccupied and may not be let separately from the main property without contravening planning consent.
An example of such a dwelling would be a 'granny annexe'.

3littlefrogs Fri 07-Feb-14 19:36:57

ajandjjmum
It is when you sell the house that the second council tax is applied. AFAIK.

MiscellaneousAssortment Fri 07-Feb-14 23:03:55

Oh OP flowers, you have NOT failed at life. You are stressed and anxious and everything is falling on your shoulders. It's alot for one person to be responsible for and it's really easy to feel overwhelmed and crushed, and then it becomes very hard to prioritise and see clearly.

Like another poster, I'd suggest going to your gp and sharing how stressed and miserable you are. They may be able to help. You need to take care of yourself as well as your dp and dc. It's easy to forget that.

And on a very practical note, how disabled is your dp? Have you/ he asked adult social services for an assessment to see if they will give you any help caring? It sounds so tough, starting a business, being a mum and being a carer.

sashh Sat 08-Feb-14 06:20:28

saintlyjimjams

Because you are converting for a disabled person your council tax (if you have to pay it on the flat) will be a band lower than it should be.

However if/when you sell, even if you sell to someone in the same situation the council tax will rise because the next person didn't do the conversion.

Is there anyone else who would like to go back to rates?

Thanks sassh - but if I didn't have a kitchen down there it wouldn't count as an annexe? Maybe I could put in an easy to remove kitchen hmm

And council tax seems full of these loopholes. I was stung years ago living as a student with someone on benefits. Made me liable for council tax despite being a student.

marykat2004 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:03:34

Plumpilicious. Excellent summary of what I have read most of already. The VO language is so vague and contradictory that they seem to always win. Hence no solicitor will take them on.

It's good people with disabled family members are being made aware of these issues. You can get exemptions for the disabled person but if they pass away you immediately have to start paying council tax on 2 properties.

Finally, installing kitchen facilities does not require planning permission but when you go to sell it the buyer will likely have to pay.

marykat2004 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:09:58

As for how we are living, it is a rapidly dwindling savings from the sale of the flat. Moving was a chance to set up working from home and going self employed. We are living way beyond our means and will run out of savings at some point. I have gone from being a carer and doing a bit of voluntary work to trying to be self employed working at home. Clearly have bitten off more than I can chew sad

ToBeSure Sat 08-Feb-14 09:20:15

OP this is an interesting thread. (Hope you ignore the confused posters]
). I hope it's just a matter that the council have been over officious. If not, then I guess you will have to remove the kitchen.
Good luck.

Yv0nne Mon 04-Aug-14 20:56:05

Hi MaryKat. I TOTALLY understand what you say and what you have suffered. Almost exactly the same happened to me and my disabled parents. You have to have experienced it to know how it can affect your health, and it MOST CERTAINLY CAN. I have taken my case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman as I am certain the situation contributed to my parents health conditions worsening. and contributed to me losing my parents at an early age (70 and 71). So easy to say " we should have looked into it before purchase", but if the solicitor and estate agent are not aware it wouldn't cross your mind to question it. Our case (too involved to put here), was a little more complicated, and even our solicitor that we hired that specialised in planning/VOA/Council matters, said it was just plain harassment and he charged us less due to sympathising. Best wishes to you.

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