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Council tax handholding please

(24 Posts)
SugarMouse1 Sat 25-Jan-14 11:51:55


I was a student two years ago, although I dropped out in what should have been my final year. I had health/anxiety issues flare up. I was in no state to sort out anything at the time.

I still stayed in my student accommodation and paid the rent, because I had to, legally, having signed the contract.

However, I began receiving letters saying I owed all the council tax for the whole house, a big 6 bed house. It ended up being 1500 or so.

I've been silly and naive I know, but at the time I was I'll and suicidal even.

So I ignored it.

Now, 2 years later I received a letter at my parents house demanding all the money. I don't have it.

What should I do?

SugarMouse1 Sat 25-Jan-14 12:13:25

Oh and I don't have stuff worth anything really, just a laptop, not even worth that much, nothing else, don't own any furniture etc.

I work for minimum wage so it'd take ages to repay it, but the letter says it can't be repaid in stages at this point.

RedHelenB Sat 25-Jan-14 12:21:07

You need to ring the council, explain the situation and see what they say. You can't be liable for the time you were a student.

LIZS Sat 25-Jan-14 12:21:24

I think the first thing to establish is whether you actually owe the full amount . Did you house share (in which case were you all liable for a share) or get the single discount if on your own ? Who has sent you the letter , has it gone to court already (in which case have you ignored a summons ) , is it the council chasing or a bailiff/recovery company ? They may yet accept payment terms rather than go to the costs of pursuing it but you need to respond. Can you go to CAB for advice ?

noisytoys Sat 25-Jan-14 12:31:10

If you were the only non student you are charged as if you are a sole adult so have to pay 75% of the full charge. Students aren't liable by law so you would get the whole bill. Contact them and make an arrangement they can't take what you don't have.

SugarMouse1 Sun 26-Jan-14 02:35:22

No, it's the council chasing ATM

It was a house share but I was the only person liable to pay it

However a lot of that time I wasn't working

However, they do have the dates wrong, so I have no idea where they got their information from

tinyturtletim Sun 26-Jan-14 10:23:12

You need to collect all the facts, exact dates you lived there, how long you lived there alone, how long you lived as a student.

Also the names of people who moved out leaving you in the shit. Presumably they moved out mid contract?

afromom Sun 26-Jan-14 10:31:02

You need to get evidence from the uni of the dates that you were a student, so either an official document stating when you ended the course or call them and ask them to provide a letter stating the course you were on and your start and end date. You should only be liable to pay for the part that you were not a student.

Call the council with this information explain that you were the only person liable, therefore they need to apply the 25% reduction (if they haven't already.

Offer to repay in instalments, explain that you don't have any assets, but work out what you can realistically afford. It hasn't gone to court yet, so you are still able to suggest a payment schedule. They could refuse it and proceeded anyway if you do t offer enough, but normally they want to know you are commuting to pay something. But you need to know how much you actually owe first.

Good luck

SugarMouse1 Sun 26-Jan-14 11:02:43

No, no one left me in the shit- they were students and didn't have to pay.

Does anyone know if I could go bankrupt over it?


specialsubject Sun 26-Jan-14 11:18:12

stop creating trouble by all this fruitless worrying. Tomorrow, Monday, get on the phone to the council and get all the facts they have. Then see if they are right. Then get the wrong things corrected and go from there.

TinyDiamond Sun 26-Jan-14 22:22:14

The fact that it is still with the council is a good thing as it hasn't been passed on yet.

Sorry you are so stressed about it but I was in a similar situation myself in 2007 over the same thing. unfortunately ALL the correspondence over a very long period had gone to my old address in London when I was living up north. Useful huh. Even though council, agent, LL had my forwarding address nobody thought to let me know.

As others have said. Get your evidence together. Letters etc. Contact the uni and get them to write a statement saying the exact date you left. This will be the date you were liable from.

The council will take a payment plan they will have to as you have nothing else. It will be ok.

Notfastmainlyfurious Sun 26-Jan-14 23:16:52

You can go bankrupt with ctax debt but honestly don't, there's no need. The council will take an arrangement. As others said get your evidence together and phone them. They make ask you to complete an income & expenditure form to confirm your ability to pay but that's it. I work in ctax arrears and this kind of thing happens a lot. Seriously don't stress yourself.

tinyturtletim Mon 27-Jan-14 10:00:55

There is no point going bankrupt and ruining your credit rating because of something that can be easily sorted

SugarMouse1 Tue 28-Jan-14 14:23:03

It's a lot of money though- over 1500

And I have no chance really of owning a house or anything anyway

tinyturtletim Tue 28-Jan-14 15:02:49

What about credit checks for a mobile / bank account / rental. Honestly just set up £10 a month to pay it back.

SoonToBeSix Tue 28-Jan-14 15:11:12

Bankruptcy is a silly idea it would cost you over half of what you owe in fees anyway.

SugarMouse1 Tue 28-Jan-14 15:42:44

Would they let me pay only £10 a month?

LIZS Tue 28-Jan-14 16:02:16

They'd rather have something than the cost of retrieving nothing. But you need to be clear that the amount they say is owed is correct.

SugarMouse1 Sat 01-Mar-14 11:22:12


I have received a letter from them. Totally different, not demanding money but saying NOTICE OF EXEMPTION, saying that the property didn't have to have CT paid on it, because it was a student house.

This completely contradicts everything they've sent me before, and in any case why have they sent this to me?

Does anyone know if I'm off the hook?

Katkins1 Sat 01-Mar-14 11:29:25

You will only be liable for the times that you weren't a student, and even then, a tiny share.

Phone them, find out how much they are saying you need to pay, if anything.

SugarMouse1 Sat 01-Mar-14 12:01:09

This is it, they've now sent a letter saying the property was exempt!!!!

Very confused

pearlbutter Sat 01-Mar-14 13:09:14

I suspect that if you dropped out in your final year, you probably got proof of exemption at the start of the year and then the council treated it as applying to the whole of the year? So they have decided to exempt the whole property as if you'd remained a student, not knowing that you left the course. I think if you left your course then you became liable (although would probably have been eligible for council tax benefit if you weren't earning enough, but it's too late if you didn't apply at the time).

Can you get to the student advice centre of your old uni? Don't know if they will still advise you as you left, but they are usually helpful and know all the ins and outs of student exemptions etc.

SugarMouse1 Sun 02-Mar-14 11:58:57

Thanks PearlBUtter,

It's just weird that I've been sent this 2 years later

I really don't understand it

I suppose from now on, as nothing was sent by registered post, I'll just claim that I never received anything other than this notice.

specialsubject Sun 02-Mar-14 13:37:31

why won't you speak to the council and clear this up for good, instead of assuming/claiming/ignoring?

it doesn't sound like you owe anything, but why don't you get it confirmed?

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