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Council tax evasion?

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mistapoole | 19:55 Wed 29th Nov 2006 | Law
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We rent a house from someone who has the building registered as a business, preumably so he doesn't have to pay council tax. He doesn't use the house at all, except to let us live there. Is this illegal or just the exploitation of a loophole?

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You should be paying council tax, not your landlord
He might not be paying Council Tax but he should be paying business rates instead.

If not be wary - the Council is entitled to come after you, the occupier, for the unpaid tax. In fact you are their first point of call - they will only go after the owner if they fail to get the tax from you.
As Ethel says, in a rented property, the tenants are responsible for paying Council Tax, not the landlord.

The landlord will only have to pay business rates if he is operating a business from the premises. (Leasing the building to someone doesn't count as 'operating a business).

What I suspect has happened is that the landlord has simply given the address of the house as the registered office of his business. This is perfectly lawful as long as any documents served on the company will be received by the company secretary (which is probably your landlord anyway). Many major companies have their registered office at an address well away from where they do their business. (A single room can be the registered office of many thousands of companies). It is simply an address where , for example, somebody can send documents to the company. When they arrive at the address, they are legally deemed to have been delivered and 'served' on the company.

When I ran a limited company, the registerd office was my father's house. This didn't affect his Council Tax and it didn't render me liable to pay business rates for his address.

Your landlord's arrangement might be a little unusual but, based on what you've written, I can't see that there's anything illegal going on.

Chris
The only illegal act is the fact you have not notified the Council Tax you are living there. I agree you can register a company there but its unlikely the Council would accept that the house as a whole is a business. You should be paying Ctax regardless of what your LL is doing.
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I failed to mention that we are students, and so are exempt from paying council tax. Is the landlord doing anything wrong for having the house listed as a business?

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