Council tax liability if tenant leaves without informing you
A few months ago I served a S8 on tenant. She didn't leave at time. I have been chasing up on it. Court case in May.
I found out in February that she had left the property. I went to look through windows and all furniture was gone, just general tat had been left.
I contacted council (and utilities) to get some confirmation, and they all said she'd declared to them that she'd moved out a couple of weeks earlier.
I emailed her, to confirm, and she emailed and said she'd be visiting to take the rest of her stuff and leave me the key that weekend (2/3/18). She never turned up, but as I had that email declaring a date to hand back the keys, and after calling the advice team here, I immediately relet the property and am storing all the remaining stuff left in the house for 3 months.
At the time, the council tax people said in a phone call they'd accept my account and charge her until the date she gave as handing back the key.
I've recently recieved a bill from the date she gave them until the new tenants moved in. I queried this and they are saying that they have listened to the call, but as she declared herself as living elsewhere, She isn't liable from that date. She is only liable in one property. I explained that as she gave no notice, and didn't hand the keys back, she was still liable for the property and its bills, so they should be chasing her for it.
Its Leeds council, if that makes a difference (I know councils have different policies).
They say if a property is empty and unfurnished for more than 7 days, then full council tax is due from day 1.
How can this be right? If any tenant self-declares they pay council tax elsewhere, that the landlord becomes responsible, even if the tenancy isn't ended. I'm not allowed to enter the property, tenant is entitled to peaceful enjoyment, I wasn't even aware of her being in process of moving out, can't get any "proof" she lived there in the intervening time, and yet I'm chased seemingly by default?
Anyone know what I can quote or do?
They've asked for a copy of tenancy, but that was signed in 2014, and I'm not sure what that would show them. She was on benefits so they will have a copy somewhere.
They asked for proof she lived there after her declaring she didn't, but won't accept the email saying she will hand the keys back a few weeks after she declared she left. Besides, even if she wasn't actively living there, she was still responsible wasn't she?
Cheers for any help
Want to read more?
This is a members only forum, if you want to read more you need to login to your membership, if you are not a member, click here to join.