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To not pay this council tax bill?

(53 Posts)
CherryChasingDotMuncher Thu 16-Mar-17 10:49:54

I'm an accidental landlord - we lived in a 1-bed flat and when I got pregnant with my first we obviously needed somewhere bigger. If I sold I'd be in negative equity so I rented the flat out and we rented elsewhere.

I've had a few tenants in over the 4 years and had a lady in before my current tenant. She was looking for a temporary home as she'd sold her house and hadn't found another house to live in yet. So we agreed to a 6 month contract with 1 month rolling thereafter.

I knew when she first moved in that she was overlapping on moving out her old home by about a week so she could clean, get things in storage etc. However there were delays on her chain so she didn't actually occupy the flat until 3 weeks after her tenancy start date.

She was an OK tenant. Only problems I had was she'd complain about non-issues or issues I could do nothing about (like slugs coming into the garden) and she also painted the kitchen without permission then tried to charge me £35 for the cost of paint (I refused).

She found a house to buy quicker than expected and because it was empty she was able to exchange and move in very quickly. As a result she asked if she could end the tenancy 3 months early with 5 days notice. TBH it wasn't ideal for me, I like to have 4 weeks notice stipulated in the contract to find a new tenant, get paperwork in order etc, but I didn't wanna be a dick about it so I agreed. I returned her full deposit in 2 weeks and had a new tenant in 4 weeks after she left. I didn't charge her rent for any days after she left, and of course covered the council tax and bills in the time between her moving out and new tenant moving in. When I was cleaning up in the flat one day an officer from TV licensing called round - she hadn't paid her TV license in the 3 months of being there. I explained she no longer lived here and they said they'd just write it off.

That was some months ago. I got a call from her this morning asking for my new address. When I asked why she said she was giving it to the council to send me a council tax bill. I said I had paid the council tax between her leaving and new tenant moving in, and she said "no it's for the first 3 weeks of my tenancy when I wasn't occupying the flat" confused. I said sorry but it's up to her to pay that. She got really upset and said she can't afford it (it's £90) as she's just had to pay for the rest of the tenancy upfront - she hadn't paid any of the 3 months council tax while she was there, and paid it all yesterday minus the first 3 weeks. She said if I didn't pay she wouldn't be able to pay a vets fee for her sick dog and he'll die. They're threatening her with the magistrates court. I said sorry no, and actually because I allowed her only 5 days notice she has already saved on a nearly month's council tax bill (which I covered) which I didn't have to agree to. I didn't mention the tv license issue. She thinks I should pay it as she wasn't physically living there in that time.

I rang the council to check what they know, and they said she is disputing living in the flat for the first 3 weeks, and if that's true that I'm responsible for the bill. I've emailed over a copy of the tenancy agreement she signed as proof and waiting to hear back.

Thing is, I am on maternity leave with no 2 so not exactly rolling in it. £90 is a lot and I could do really without paying it. Legally it's her bill to pay but I feel quite bad that I've said no, especially when her dog is unwell (if she's telling the truth). AIBU to stick to my guns and refuse to pay the £90?

CherryChasingDotMuncher Thu 16-Mar-17 10:52:03

Also want to make it clear i don't make a profit on my flat, tenants just cover the mortgage payments meaning the rent is well under the market value

ButDoYouAvocado Thu 16-Mar-17 10:58:30

Her bill, her problem. Don't give it another thought.

thecatneuterer Thu 16-Mar-17 11:00:07

Gosh, what a big effort you think you have to make to excuse yourself for being a LL - only on Mumsnet!

Anyway, to the point of the thread. Hell no - dispute it all the way. Five days notice! You're a saint.

The slugs in the garden tickled me. I had a tenant who wanted me to do something about mossies coming into the garden at night and biting him when he was sitting outside smoking smile

CherryChasingDotMuncher Thu 16-Mar-17 11:02:18

Gosh, what a big effort you think you have to make to excuse yourself for being a LL - only on Mumsnet

Quite. Just covering my bases before the lynch mob arrive wink

notcreative23 Thu 16-Mar-17 11:05:21

Definitely not being unreasonable! If her lease started before she moved in it doesn't matter if she is there or not, she's responsible.

CaptainHammer Thu 16-Mar-17 11:09:08

She's a chancer.
You've got proof of the date she had the flat from (not your fault she wasn't there the first 3 weeks) so definitely don't pay for her.

We had our tenancy start on the 10th Jan but for various reasons didn't actually move in properly until the 29th, I'd never expect my landlord to pay for the few weeks I wasn't there!

user1474371557 Thu 16-Mar-17 11:10:19

I'm a tenant and no way should you feel guilty about saying no. She is responsible for it the bill and that is that. The fact that you let her out of her lease early was kind and reasonable enough. She is playing you for a mug so please do not let her. And although £90 is a sizeable sum it is not hundreds and she should have thought about before she moved in and out.

Take care of yourself - she is being unreasonable.

Areyoufree Thu 16-Mar-17 11:11:01

Her bill. I had this exact same situation, although it was a shared house of students, and when I graduated i was stuck with the bill for the whole house for a couple of months. I had moved out, but was still under contract.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Thu 16-Mar-17 11:14:05

To be fair you should have hand painted a big 'keep out' sign for the slugs though. . . grin

araiwa Thu 16-Mar-17 11:15:12

she is responsible for when the tenancy was in place

not your problem if she didnt live there from day 1 of the tenancy agreement. is it also the LL to pay if the tenant goes on holiday for 2 weeks??

schoolofconfusion Thu 16-Mar-17 11:16:03

I'm a tenant. If the tenancy covered her from that date then it is her bill.

lougle Thu 16-Mar-17 11:20:11

"However there were delays on her chain so she didn't actually occupy the flat until 3 weeks after her tenancy start date."

"I rang the council to check what they know, and they said she is disputing living in the flat for the first 3 weeks, and if that's true that I'm responsible for the bill."

So she's saying she didn't live there for the first three weeks. You know that she didn't live there for the first three weeks. The council has told you that you will be liable. But you say:

"I've emailed over a copy of the tenancy agreement she signed as proof and waiting to hear back."

So you are emailing them proof that she agreed to live there, even though she didn't actually live there? Did she pay you rent for the first three weeks, or did you waive the rent for the first three weeks?

PeaFaceMcgee Thu 16-Mar-17 11:20:16

Yanbu. She had taken tenancy. You don't get a council tax rebate if you go away on holiday for weeks, do you? She's a chancer.

aaaaargghhhhelpme Thu 16-Mar-17 11:23:44

lougle I took it to mean that the tenant was liable from the minute the tenancy was taken up. Not whether she was physically in the building.

As someone else mentioned - you don't get council tax breaks when you go on holiday.

And it's not as though the op could rent it out in the meantime.

On paper - that property was hers to live in. Thems the breaks. We've had overlapping tenancies before so that's just what you have to do

AdamantEve Thu 16-Mar-17 11:23:59

I work in council tax - I know all local authorities have different rules but in mine, if you can prove the tenancy start date, as you have with the tenancy agreement, then the tenant will 100% be liable for those 3 weeks. Ignore her sob stories, it's her bill to pay!

AliceByTheMoon Thu 16-Mar-17 11:25:32

As others have said- her bill her problem.

Given her history of skipping out on bills I doubt her dog is sick. Ad if he is sick and she can't afford the bill if her vets are anything like ours they can point her in th direction of charities that help out with unexpected vet bills.

kormachameleon Thu 16-Mar-17 11:26:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ButDoYouAvocado Thu 16-Mar-17 11:28:11

I rent. I always have an overlap so i can clean the old place etc. I've never paid full whack for both properties. Councils give you a discount if you can prove you've got 2 tenancy agreements. For one I had to provide photos of one property having empty rooms! So she is liable but won't have to pay the full amount.

alltouchedout Thu 16-Mar-17 11:30:54

Her bill, her problem.

CherryChasingDotMuncher Thu 16-Mar-17 11:32:07

lougle she paid the rent for the first 3 weeks of tenancy, despite not occupying the property. There was no problems with this at the time and she never asked for tenancy to be delayed

SurlyValentine Thu 16-Mar-17 11:34:12

Definitely NBU. Her liability for Council Tax started the same date as her tenancy agreement started. The fact she might not have moved in for three weeks is not your problem. What she should have done was move into your property on the tenancy start date, and notify the council in the area she'd moved from that she'd moved out of her old address.

I know that many councils have abolished this since cuts from central government have taken hold, but there used to be a 50% discount on Council Tax for properties that were unoccupied and unfurnished. If she contacts you again, tell her to ask the council about this. If your council has abolished this too, then it's tough nuggies and it's her bill to pay.

CherryChasingDotMuncher Thu 16-Mar-17 11:34:41

Yes But I've done the same, overlapped a few days and got a 10% discount on one property. It's not a lot but better than a snack in the teeth.

Wish I think she expected me to hand pick the slugs out her plants grin i didn't dare tell her that because the flat is near a river the occasional frog also visits the garden!

Sobeyondthehills Thu 16-Mar-17 11:34:54

The only thing I would double check, is to see if she was paying council tax on a different property, I do agree with PP that its her bill and as long as the tenancy agreement is from those 3 weeks, you shouldn't have a problem.

GallivantingWildebeest Thu 16-Mar-17 11:35:02

Her bill, her problem! (And please don't apologise for being a landlord or - heaven forbid - wanting to make some money on the rent you charge!!)

Sounds like you've been a saint over this - 5 days' notice??

I'd give the TV licensing people her address as well.

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