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When did the law come in for payment of Council Tax on an empty property?

(20 Posts)
Readabook1 Tue 03-May-16 17:53:50

A friend has just been billed for 6 years tax on an empty property She advised them etc and just got an annual bill for nil Suddenly a demand arrived for £10000
this year She is gobsmacked Totally innocent She knew nothing about this law

anyoldname76 Tue 03-May-16 17:57:08

we had this too, only for a few months though, bizarre thing was if one of us had been living there we would have qualified for the single person discount, but because neither of us lived there we had to pay the full amount angry

PenelopePitstops Tue 03-May-16 17:58:02

It's to discourage empty houses.

Why doesn't your friend sell it?

Boleh Tue 03-May-16 17:59:22

I was advise a few weeks ago that if its unfurnished it's free for a certain length of time (can't remember how long - but way less than 8 years). If it's furnished then it's only a 10% discount.

IceMaiden73 Tue 03-May-16 17:59:49

I thought you only used to be allowed for 6 months empty anyway

Andbabymakesthree Tue 03-May-16 17:59:49

About 4 years ago. They can charge premium on top if empty over 2 years aswell. Unfair they've no presented her with a bill though backdated.

Why has it been empty so long?

anyoldname76 Tue 03-May-16 18:01:50

ours was only empty for 4 months and we still had to pay, it all depends on your local council rules

Dilemmawithfil12 Tue 03-May-16 18:09:33

It's actually 50% premium on the amount due if it's been empty for 2 years. In my LA it's been around atlesst 5 years, you get a 2 month exemption and you are then charged full price

NewLife4Me Tue 03-May-16 18:11:24

You get a 25% discount for up to 6 months, I know as we have one.
The first month is classed as empty, after this there's a 255 discount.
It's been like this for a few years now that I know of.

MrsSteptoe Tue 03-May-16 18:24:33

Depends on the local council. Are you quite sure that your friend got annual bills reading a nil balance for six years? That sounds terribly odd and very misleading?

dilys4trevor Tue 03-May-16 18:32:59

Newlife, this was the case for me too.

You only get one free month and then 25% off.

Mine was empty whilst I got it sold.

Hope I don't get flamed but even tho it's annoying (clearly nobody is using the local amenities) it is a good thing to do when here is a housing crisis. I guess it discourages people with no mortgage who can't be bothered to let it.

specialsubject Tue 03-May-16 18:33:11

depends on the area but less than six years ago.

an empty house must be in a hell of a state after that much time.

anyway, she needs to call the council.

Readabook1 Tue 03-May-16 22:16:19

Mrs Steptoe
She got nil bills with exemption F- when someone dies . The thing is the probate period is max 6 months so that was wrong (she only found out about the probate thing later on.) Other decisions may have been made if she had known which would have meant that this would not have arisen. I think she queried the nil bills but got nowhere. How do you know these things if the council does not question you? If this is the law then they have every right to question you
dilys4 trevor you do have a valid point. But what if for example you inherit a property i in a bad state of repair so cannot be let or only sold for peanuts.?Leasehold properties can have lazy/irresponsible landlords.
Perhaps the Council should help more in these cases ?They don't
This law is being used to punish people poor ones The people with multiple properties will have accountants etc to advise them.
Special SubjectThe Council people dealing with it were the most ignorant (sorry) i have ever metThey accused her of ripping out things to avoid C tax ? Who would do this? It would only lower the value So she pulled out the windows, the balcony and the roof then> I was disgusted . You can't get through on their phone and they do not have appointments. They have no one to go and make an inspection. The flat is not in a bad state -well-kept.
Advice: if you go to the Council take a witness .Ask for a receipt for every single
letter sent. do not email as you will not get a reply
Further responses?

Lighteningirll Tue 03-May-16 22:19:27

Six weeks here then they bill you the full amount, it changed five years ago you used to get six months, it's never been years.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 03-May-16 22:23:07

It's three months here but only once a year - if it's empty again within the same year, there's no discount.

Did she make attempts to find out what she should be paying? If she was given incorrect information that might be a defence, but the government tend to see ignorance of what needs to be paid as no defence. (That's how they phrase it, not me!)

She should be able to agree a payment plan at least.

TaIkinPeace Tue 03-May-16 22:31:39

The ability for local councils to set their own rules came in about 5 years ago

FishWithABicycle Tue 03-May-16 22:45:27

When we bought a house that was uninhabitable in 2003 we still had to pay 75% of standard council tax while it was empty and being refurbished.

TheLesserSpottedBee Thu 05-May-16 06:46:38

Having worked in council tax the charges came in because less revenue was being collected from empty houses (50%) than a single person living in it (75%)

An "A" class exemption was for unoccupied and uninhabitable but that was for a 12 month period. Then it went into the 50% charge. A "C" charge was empty and unfurnished usually between tenants and was for up to 6 months.

Councils were given authority to charge what they wanted for empty properties and could charge up to 90% but this would lead to people lying and saying 1 person lived there to get the charge down to 75% so the council I worked for went with 75%.

This may all seem money grabbing but consider the local amenities the money supports you may reconsider your view, especially places where there are lots of second homes for people who visit at the weekend to come to the seaside.

I think it is poor of the council to back bill 6 years but unfortunately the computer system doesn't allow you to fudge stuff through. There has to be a charge raised but I think it is appalling that it took them this long so sort it out.

Your friend can sell the property for peanuts or pay someone to make it habitable or do it herself. The issue here is your friend is seeing £££ signs where she realises the potential of what the property could fetch rather than what it is worth now. Hard decisions. Owning a property comes with responsibilities.

And yes, the A class exemption meant people ripped out kitchens and bathrooms to make it fit the uninhabitable charge when they lived in another property so that wasn't their sole and main.

magratsflyawayhair Thu 05-May-16 07:01:24

If you have an inherited, uninhabitable property that's our cant afford to restore yourself you sell cheap for someone else to do the work. It sounds derelict, I bet the neighbours can't stand it.

I'd be talking to the council to see about a reduction, sticking the house in auction, and paying the debt from the sale proceeds.

MissWimpyDimple Thu 05-May-16 07:06:02

It depends on your council. Usually if there is no kitchen/bathroom it is deemed uninhabitable and therefore exempt. Otherwise you have to pay. Here there is no free period at all. Between tenancies the landlord has to pay.

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