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Council Tax Question

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socket2008 | 08:48 Fri 13th Nov 2009 | Law
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Here is a puzzler. My brother who is unfortunately unemployed since March (he is trying hard to get a job) lives with my sister since May. He pays no rent and lives off of the JSA.

When he first moved in he filled in the council tax form for a rebate. He was told my sister has to claim on my brothers behalf. Despite many letters and calls going back and forth my sister now has a Court Summons for the shortfall that a 2nd person would pay plus the remainder of her normal council tax bill. My brother has less than 16k savings.

Does anyone know the position? Surely if my bro is unemployed and sister gets nothing from him then why should she have to pay extra council tax for him being there? CBA said we are right. Council are now saying they have lost all of their records relating to this. Also each time anyone phones we are given a different answer.



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I am assuming that your sister was living alone until he moved in. This means she was getting a discounted rate for her council tax as she will not create as much rubbish etc. Once your brother moved in, she then loses her discount and needs to pay the full amount of her council tax. The fact that he is living off JSA and pays no rent is irrelevant.
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Thanks Bagpuss.

She is a single parent part time job and has paid the full council tax amount because her income exceeds the level allowed for a discount. So in effect the only discount that would come into play would be my brothers as the 2nd occupent albeit unemployed..
No you are getting muddled between two schemes.

If two or more adults live in a property, the full Council Tax charge is payable on that property. If one adult lives in a property, the Council Tax charge is reduced by 25% (there are various rules about who counts as a adult - full-time students don't for example - but that's the gist of it). So the full charge will be chargeable on the PROPERTY because there are two adults living there - this is nothing to do with household income or the rent paid to anyone.

If the income of the household is less than certain thresholds, there may be a discount off the assessed CT charge. This is a means-tested benefit and is where the bit about having savings comes into it.
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I'm going to reword this - it just muddles the situation again (IMHO)

If your brother is unemployed and his only income is his JSA this should not effect your sisters's opportunity to claim a mean-tested rebate off the CT. However the single occupant discount of 25% will no longer apply.
Are you sure it is correct that no rebate is due? You say your sister is a parent and only works part time, she must be on a very high wage to get no means-tested rebate if she is claiming for her child/children with only a part time job.
Get the local CAB to check whether a means-tested rebate is due.
How much savings does he have? I would be inclined to ask him to pay only what you would not have incured had he not been there.

So for arguments sake if your council tax went up by £10 a month and you find you are paying £15 a month more for utilities then that could be how much you ask him to pay. That way you aren't out of pocket and he only pays a fraction of what he would have to pay if he were elsewhere.
The single person discount can't apply if 2 people live there (except where one person is in an exempt category such as student).
The household income is what matters for income based council tax rebate. His income plus hers are added together. It's unlikely therer will be an income -based rebate unless her income is low and they have little joint savings
Which is precisely why I keep trying to separate the issue of 'How much is the normal assessment for CT due in this situation' from the issue 'Am I entitled to a rebate off that sum because the household income is low'.
In spite of the best efforts of others.
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