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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Housing costs  →  Thread

Supported housing and council tax

Cinimod
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Newham Housing First Worker

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Total Posts: 17

Joined: 5 October 2015

I have a client aged 28 who has been living in supported accommodation for over 5 years and has just received a Council Tax demand for each year he has been in the accommodation,; nearly £10,000. He is also a former care leaver. I can’t seem to find anything on exemptions for people in supported housing. The supported accommodation provider would surely be a fault here anyway. Suggestions welcomed.

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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There is no exemption for supported accommodation per se, although landlords are always liable for council tax on a care home or hostel, not the people living there.

Even if the accommodation does not meet the definitions of care home and hostel, in many supported housing settings CT liability falls to the landlord because it will be, for Council Tax purposes, an HMO (more than one residents with individual tenancies).

If one tenant has an exclusive tenancy over the whole dwelling, CT exemption would depend on his/her personal status with “Severe Mental Impairment” being the most common.  This requires the tax payer to be receiving certain benefits such as the DLA/PIP family, or UC with LCW/LCWRA etc, and a doctor needs to certify that the person is SMI.  If the taxpayer, or those assisting/representing him, has never said anything that would put the Council on notice that an exemption might apply, there is probably a six-month limit on the backdating of any exemption.  As the period in this case is only five years, it should be possible to get the exemption for the whole period if he receives the right benefits and can get the doctor’s certificate.

If he doesn’t qualify for SMI exemption, there are two further possibilities:
- means tested Council Tax Reduction will almost certainly have a limited backdating provision in the Council’s scheme, but he could ask for a discretionary reduction equal to the regular CTR that he would have qualified for had backdating been possible
- it looks as if the Council might have changed its mind about who should be liable for Council Tax, and there is no guarantee that the latest decision is the correct one

There is a right of appeal to a Valuation Tribunal about either of the above matters (as well as SMI eligibiity)

Cinimod
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Newham Housing First Worker

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Joined: 5 October 2015

That’s really helpful thank you.
As it happens it seems that he was never informed by his supported accommodation providers he should apply for CT and no letters from CT were ever received…which is odd. Although he is LCWRA he isn’t SMI. Probably, his best route now would be asking Lambeth to waive, based on a number of issues around vulnerability low in income etc.

NeverSayNo
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Welfare rights department - Northumberland County Council

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Joined: 21 December 2011

You mention he is a former care leaver. Have you checked with the CT dept or the local authority looked-after children dept about their policies on care leaver exemption from council tax. I know of one or two local councils who apply an exemption or discount to care leavers, even up to age 25. If applicable this may reduce some of the burden.