Author Topic: Non motoring CCJ  (Read 387 times)

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Colin_S

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Non motoring CCJ
« on: June 12, 2024, 02:44:55 pm »
I rent a flat and a previous tenant appears to have advised the council they had vacated the property more than 12 months ago and that I was responsible for the council tax when, in fact, they stayed until evicted earlier this year. The council has subsequently billed me at the property and then started court proceedings for non payment resulting in a judgement against me. I only became aware of this when I found letters addressed to me at the property very recently.

I know the obvious solution is to make a statutory declaration but the letters have an incorrect spelling of my name. The surname is correct but my christian name has two errors in it.

So, what does the collective wisdom suggest? Ignore it as it is not linked to my home address nor name or crack on with a stat dec? Can I even make a stat dec when the name is incorrect?

I have contacted the council to advise of the void period for which I am responsible and they have requested proof of the previous actual tenancy dates but, thus far, have made no mention of any Court proceedings.

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peodude

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2024, 03:05:12 pm »
I don't believe unpaid council tax goes to a CCJ. It goes through Magistatrates.

As presumably you have proof of eviction date then i'd just comply with the councils requests and let them deal with it.

Colin_S

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2024, 04:52:44 pm »
Thanks for that. It seems you are correct. From my LA's website:

"Will a summons for non-payment of council tax affect my credit rating:
No. Non payment of council tax is dealt with at Magistrates' Court, not County Court and will not result in a CCJ."

I shall sit back and let them get on with it at their usual snail like pace.

andy_foster

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2024, 05:26:09 pm »
As it stands, the mags have lawfully issued a liability order. The flaw in the process was not that the tenant lied, or any other purported fact regarding liability, but that you were unaware of the proceedings.

You can either trust the council to do the right thing, or you can make a statutory declaration within 21 days of becoming aware of the decision (N.B. contacting the court to arrange to make the stat dec in good time generally seems to satisfy the 21 day rule, regardless of when they actually manage to fit you in).
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Southpaw82

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2024, 07:10:09 pm »
As it stands, the mags have lawfully issued a liability order. The flaw in the process was not that the tenant lied, or any other purported fact regarding liability, but that you were unaware of the proceedings.

You can either trust the council to do the right thing, or you can make a statutory declaration within 21 days of becoming aware of the decision (N.B. contacting the court to arrange to make the stat dec in good time generally seems to satisfy the 21 day rule, regardless of when they actually manage to fit you in).

Can you do a statutory declaration in respect of civil proceedings under Part II of the Magistratesí Courts Act 1980? Assuming thatís what council tax proceedings are.

slapdash

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2024, 07:36:11 pm »
I shall sit back and let them get on with it at their usual snail like pace.

The minor misspelling is unlikely to help.

They have a variety of enforcement powers, the top end of which see you locked up and a charging order. The lower starts with enforcement agents at a fairly modest cost and then garnishing salary (if employed).

andy_foster

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2024, 08:10:32 pm »
@Southpaw - good point. S. 14 concerns summonses issued under s. 1 MCA for criminal offences, as opposed to summonses issued under s. 51 in respect of complaints.

However, to hold the OP liable when he was denied the opportunity to defend himself, without an appropriate remedy would seem to run contrary to the right to a fair trial.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2024, 08:15:27 pm by andy_foster »
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Southpaw82

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2024, 09:21:43 pm »
@Southpaw - good point. S. 14 concerns summonses issued under s. 1 MCA for criminal offences, as opposed to summonses issued under s. 51 in respect of complaints.

However, to hold the OP liable when he was denied the opportunity to defend himself, without an appropriate remedy would seem to run contrary to the right to a fair trial.

I agree, might have to apply under s 142.

cp8759

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2024, 10:12:08 pm »
I know the obvious solution is to make a statutory declaration but the letters have an incorrect spelling of my name. The surname is correct but my christian name has two errors in it.
As a general rule if you know it's your name, then any typos are immaterial (though of course you can ask for them to be fixed). Name issues only really help if you could honestly say that you have no idea whether the documents are addressed to you at all.

I would also question whether there is any point in applying to set the liability order aside. Is the council likely to be able to recover the outstanding council tax from the former tenants, assuming they can even be found? As I understand it if the council tax cannot be recovered from a tenant, the council can go after the landlord instead, so if you're going to end up having to foot the bill anyway then it might end up being an awful lot of hassle for no real benefit.

If cash flow is an issue it might be more beneficial to see if you can negotiate a payment plan.
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Colin_S

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2024, 09:27:36 am »
Thank you for your comments.

As the Council have requested evidence of the continued tenancy, I would hope they will correct the matter eventually.

In response to cp8759's comment, I let the property through a major letting agency and the tenancy agreement stipulates the tenant is to pay the tax so I have no concerns over the Council expecting me to pay any unpaid sums whilst the flat was let.

Apologies for posting in wrong forum, I just noticed the non-motoring legal advice one. I'm still working on pepipoo time....
« Last Edit: June 13, 2024, 09:29:23 am by Colin_S »

peodude

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2024, 12:53:07 pm »
I would also question whether there is any point in applying to set the liability order aside. Is the council likely to be able to recover the outstanding council tax from the former tenants, assuming they can even be found? As I understand it if the council tax cannot be recovered from a tenant, the council can go after the landlord instead, so if you're going to end up having to foot the bill anyway then it might end up being an awful lot of hassle for no real benefit.

It depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement.

If, upon expiration of the fixed-term of the contract, the tenancy continues as a contractual periodic tenancy, then the tenant will be liable to pay the council tax until the end of their notice period (even if they leave the property before the end of the notice period). This is because they are still in that original contract which is at least 6 months long.

For a statutory periodic tenancy, the council can pursue the Landlord directly for unpaid council tax.

Colin_S

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2024, 09:48:24 am »
Just received an email from the council confirming they have accepted my evidence and have adjusted liability. Hopefully the enforcement agents get the same....

cp8759

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2024, 07:52:53 pm »
@Colin_S I've moved this thread to the non-motoring forum.
I practice law in the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, London Tribunals, the First-tier tribunal for Scotland, and the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for Northern Ireland, but I am not a solicitor nor a barrister. Notwithstanding this, I voluntarily apply the cab rank rule. I am a member of the Society of Professional McKenzie Friends, my membership number is FM193.

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H C Andersen

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2024, 03:45:25 pm »
I rent a flat and a previous tenant appears to have advised the council they had vacated the property more than 12 months ago and that I was responsible for the council tax when, in fact, they stayed until evicted earlier this year. The council has subsequently billed me at the property and then started court proceedings for non payment resulting in a judgement against me. I only became aware of this when I found letters addressed to me at the property very recently.

Can we unpick this pl.

As I understand it..

You are the landlord/owner?
Are you also a resident?
The simple default position is that CT is payable by the owner/landlord unless the property is occupied by another person under a tenancy.
Have there been periods during your ownership when the property has not been occupied and therefore you were liable for CT?
Was the tenant paying CT prior to ceasing to occupy the property? If so, how e.g. by instalments etc?
Were these payments current until the date the tenant claims they vacated the property?
Have you SAR'd the council to obtain copies of their correspondence to you?

I don't know how detailed advice could be given until the issue of who is actually liable for any unpaid CT and its quantum have been established and the sequence of council correspondence to whom, where and when examined.

Colin_S

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Re: Non motoring CCJ
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2024, 09:50:58 am »
I am the owner but not occupier.

The tenant was paying council tax for some years but 'appears to have' advised the council that they no longer occupied the property and that I was liable despite their continued occupancy for the last 12 months +.

I have managed to sort this out now with the council and the only tax I am liable for is for the current void period whilst the property is being refurbished and re-let, so we're all pretty much sorted now. I'm just waiting for them to agree figures as they may offer a discount for the property being empty and, if not, I would expect to at least receive single person's discount.

A SAR may be interesting if only to see exactly how the council were notified of me supposedly being liable for the tax. This flat falls under a Selective Licensing Scheme so the council have my name and address on file but the nomination has my name spelt incorrectly suggesting it came via a third party.