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Students and council tax liability. Help!

(25 Posts)
Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 17:46:09

Just had a tearful phonecall from dd1 to say that she is apparently the only one in her student let who is liable for council tax (she is doing a masters so considered a part-time student). It seems that the entire council tax bill needs to be paid solely by her and not divided between the entire household. Is this true?

Dd1 earns about £10k doing part-time jobs to pay her rent etc and the bill for council tax is £600 to cover 6 months from September to March which is basically shelling out another £100 a month. Neither of us gave it a thought when she signed the rental agreement as I assumed the landlord was liable for the council tax and just lumped it on the rent to cover it. Can anyone tell me if she can claim any rebate? Apparently the total council tax bill is c. £1500 and she will only be expected to pay £1200 over the year but can she claim anything else back based on income? She is seeing Exeter University housing team tomorrow for some advice.
Is there anybody here who knows about these things? Thanks.

booksandchoc Mon 03-Nov-14 17:50:47

If the rest of her flatmates are full time students they will be exempt from paying council tax. She can claim a single person discount so save 25% on the bill but she will be liable for the rest as far as I am aware. If she was also full time then the household would be exempt from paying any council tax.

PotteringAlong Mon 03-Nov-14 17:51:11

If she's the only one liable she can claim a single person discount of 25%

theposterformallyknownas Mon 03-Nov-14 17:53:55

I think there would be further deductions if she was living by herself.
It seems unfair for her to have to pay the lot by herself.
LL don't have to pay council tax it is the responsibility of the tenant.
Sorry I can't help anymore, but will bump for you. x

LightastheBreeze Mon 03-Nov-14 18:06:13

Is she definitely only part time, I would probably check this out.

DS is not a student but house shares with students, so he has to pay council tax with 25% deduction, he hasn't had his bill yet but is expecting it to be about the same as your DD's.

The thing is student houses are quite big so DS's is band C which I think was a shock to him, whereas if he lived alone in a small flat it would be band A, He earns about £10-12000 a year as he is still doing his student job only more hours as he hasn't got a proper job yet, though its a lot better than nothing.

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 18:18:45

Thank you all for your replies. I think the 25% has already been deducted leaving her with the bill for £1200pa. It seems so unfair! The landlord has contacted the university and they confirmed she is part-time. I have just looked at a government calculator and she earns too much and is entitled to zero benefits. What a horrible trap to be in, I feel so sorry for her. I think she will try and get out of her rent agreement now and come home and finish her masters from here.

LightastheBreeze Mon 03-Nov-14 18:19:00

I had a quick look and it does look like some councils will give reduction for low income, but it wasn't exactly very clear, so might be worth looking into but it did look like you had to be quite low waged to get anything.

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 18:21:38

Lightasthebreeze, they are both in the same situation, and as you say, as a single person you wouldn't be in that banding, you would have a small flat! Oh well, I've learnt something tonight.

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 18:23:02

Cross posts. From what I can see, £10k isn't low incomeshock but it will have another look at the specific LA.

TsukuruTazaki Mon 03-Nov-14 18:25:40

It's her responsibility and not the landlord's and full time students are exempt. So strictly speaking she is liable for the lot, with 25% discount. However if she was living on her own she would not be in such a big property and her council tax would be a bit cheaper so it is a little harsh for her to have to pay the lot.

When I was a student and completely exempt I still paid half the council tax as I was living with someone who worked and she kicked up a fuss about paying it.

How many people are in the flat? I think it would be fair to get a small contribution from the others, though they aren't obligated to do so, so might not be willing.

However how did you dd not realise this until now?!

LightastheBreeze Mon 03-Nov-14 18:27:17

Its worse for your DD as she is still studying, I didn't realise Masters were part time because DS did think of doing one. At least DS not being a student knew he would have to pay it, though it is more than he thought.

LightastheBreeze Mon 03-Nov-14 18:31:27

OP's DD probably didn't realise because she was a student albeit part time and they only send the letters out about now, DS is still awaiting his, but he is not a student anyway so is expecting it.

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 18:33:08

Last year she started her masters as a year course so was full-time. Part way through the year she decided to split it over two years as her tutor had left. So I suppose that's why it's classed as part-time.

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 18:34:35

Unless you are aware of the rules of exemption/liability then you wouldn't realise until you got the first bill!

ContentedSidewinder Mon 03-Nov-14 18:36:17

Sadly this is correct, I used to work in council tax.

It is awful for anyone wishing to continue their studies to be hit with a massive council tax bill for sharing a student house. Are there any grants or bursaries she can apply for before she moves out?

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 18:37:47

I'll get her to ask the housing team tomorrow, thanks sidewinder.

ContentedSidewinder Mon 03-Nov-14 18:41:37

x post

Camolips student exemption certificates are issued by the university to be passed on to council tax to exempt them. Usually the university notifies council tax when someone drops out of a course so it is picked up pretty swiftly.

I am sure it was hammered home to us when I was at uni and I had to pay some money because it was the whole rates/poll tax/council tax era. So even as a full time student we had to pay something in a house share.

It is crap for your daughter, there is no doubt about it.

Snapespotions Mon 03-Nov-14 18:46:58

Yes, if she is part time, she'll have to pay. Could she increase her hours at work to cover the difference? Or get a 2nd job?

Viviennemary Mon 03-Nov-14 18:55:46

It's a raw deal for her but as others have said it looks as if she is liable for the 75% of the council tax. If you're absolutely sure she is classified as a part-time student.

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 18:57:22

Already working two jobs, I think it's time to come home. Through the sobbing she said it would be cheaper for her to travel down for her lectures on mon and tue, staying overnight at a friend's house and get her Waitrose and Sainsbury's jobs transferred up here. £550 a month seems a lot of outlay for a room in a crappy house with one toilet between six people!

Happypogostick Mon 03-Nov-14 19:01:19

Universities have often generous grants for 'unforeseen' circumstances such as this- May be worth a go?

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 19:05:00

I've messaged her to ask about that tomorrow.

tobeabat Mon 03-Nov-14 19:11:45

Universities have Access funds which come directly from government and many cover unexpected financial hardship. Her institution may give her some of the money from this. It's at their discretion. Worth speaking to student services...

It is pretty unfair, the way CT works in situations like this...

orangefusion Mon 03-Nov-14 19:13:24

This is just awful- so bloody unfair and yet another product of unforseen consequences of what must seem like simple policies to policy makers. I would suggest she goes to her to her MP's surgery and tell her/him what the implications are for her. It cannot be fair or right that she foots the bill for the whole household even if it is the law.

In fact, I may even write to my own MP about this - I can feel a campaign coming on! The more I look at the stupidity of our rules for students and housing and funding the crosser I get.

Camolips Mon 03-Nov-14 19:21:03

I can usually see a logical reason for things, but I can't see
it here! Maybe administratively it is complicated.

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