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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 24527
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hi VOA think our large home needs 2 council tax bandings. It

Customer Question

Hi VOA think our large home needs 2 council tax bandings. It has a rear staircase a 2nd kitchen. We had a tenant for a short time who used the back door as the entrance so i guess a 2nd bill is probably liable for then. but what do we do to change it back to one house (was never built as 2 houses)i guess taking out the kitchen won't work, can't take out the rear staircase. Would bricking up back door be enough? many thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.

Joshua : Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied
Joshua : I note you mention that the property has a second kitchen. Would I be correct to assume that it has its own bathroom too please?
Customer : Hi well yes but its just a bathroom and old utility room of the main house. When the house became a bit large for my parents, they closed off a few doors and had a tenant. Very minimal construction was needed simply by the fact its a large house. But its not separate staff quarters nor ever was. W already have that and that is separately rated already.
Customer : The entrance the tenant used was simply our back door and my parents used a door off a conservatory to get to their garden.
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your response. I cannot seem to post in the chat window so I have switched to the question and answer format which I hope does not cause any inconvenience.

The starting point for this is the council acting via its council tax officer has discretion in these circumstances as to whether to class the (can we call it an annex for expediency here) annex for a separate council tax band. He must have regard to the level of modification the property has undergone when considering whether to charge separately or not. Your main Achilles heel is likely to be the kitchen as case law has repeatedly affirmed that the presence of a separate kitchen can be prima facie evidence of a separate dwelling as discussed below.

The below are relevant decisions by the courts which have been the result of challenges to council and valuation office decisions.

Clement –v- Brian – High Court

Bedsit units with a wc and a wash hand basis in a separate cloakroom. Bedsitting area with a fully equipped kitchen in a separate room. No shower or bath. There were communal bathing facilities. The absence of a bath or shower did not take the property (which was otherwise self contained) outside the definition of self contained so the unit was separately banded.

 

James V Williams

Four units, each unit had a living room, kitchen (one of the units instead had a kitchen/living room) and bedroom. All units shared a combined bathroom/wc and a separate wc compartment. However, one did have its own wc as well. It was assessed as four separate units.

 

Neale ex parte Moore – Court of Appeal

Consideration of status of a bed sitting room and kitchen of which the tenant had the sole use. Shared use of bathroom and wc by 13 tenants. Separate banding upheld.


You will likely need to give consideration to removing the second kitchen and then appealing the decision.To appeal initially you can write to your council, saying why you think your decision is wrong. If you appeal is rejected following a further inspection you can appeal the Valuation Tribunal using the below link. If you appeal with the kitchen still in situ case law is against you though each situation does turn on its own circumstance.

http://www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk/A1Form.aspx

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Is there anything else I can help you with in respect of the above. Please do revert to me if I can clarify anything above whatsoever.

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