Money Matters: 'I can't afford to pay my council tax bill. Will I get evicted?'

Debt advice from the Kevin Boon of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service

The fIfth in our 'ask the expert' series, which sees Kevin Boon of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) explore council tax management.

Q. Hello Kevin, I recently moved to a bedsit in North London - a single person accommodation I had been led to believe was immune to council tax charges. Last week, much to my surprise, a council tax bill for nearly £500 arrived. I am from Belgium and have no savings so simply have no way of paying the charge. I have looked into council tax benefit but it doesn’t come close to covering the charge and I don’t even have the money to cover the difference. I rely on my bedsit for work so worry that, if I am evicted, I will have to leave England. Is there anywhere I can turn for extra help with my council tax payments? Please help! – Katia, Muswell Hill



A. Hi Katia, thanks for getting in touch. Although you stated your bedsit was needed for work, I'm unsure to whether you were working during the time that the council have issued a bill for. If you were working you would be liable for paying the council tax directly to the council. The only exception to this would be if your tenancy agreement states that your rent also includes payment towards your council tax rather than you having to pay it directly. If this is the case you need to contact your landlord and point out the fact you've been billed from the council and request that they settle the debt. Alternatively, you could ask your landlord to refund you the difference so you can settle the debt yourself.

If your tenancy agreement does not state that council tax is included, then I'm afraid you would be responsible for coming to an arrangement with the council to clear the debt. If you are living by yourself, you would be entitled to a 25% sole occupancy discount so make sure this has been applied to the bill you've had. If not, request the council amend the amount to reflect this and try to come to a payment arrangement. Generally, a council will want full repayment of a council tax bill within the same financial year. Given the fact we're close to the end of the financial year this will be difficult so you may need to see whether the council can spread the arrears over the next financial year.

Failure to pay a council tax bill would not result in you being evicted. The council would normally issue a Liability Order due to non payment and pass the debt to bailiffs to contact you to make an arrangement to pay. If the bailiffs were unsuccessful in retrieving the money, it's likely that the council would obtain an attachment of earnings to deduct what is owed straight from your wages.

If you are not working at the moment, you should be entitled to council tax benefit which will remove any future liability of council tax until you find employment. If you can prove that you were not working during the time when you have been billed from the council, you can backdate your claim for up to 6 months. This should then remove your liability from the last 6 months you've been billed for. Any arrears prior to the last 6 months would still need to be paid, so again you would need to come to an arrangement with the council to pay what's left.







Having problems with debt?

Every Friday, Kevin Boon of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service will answer your questions and provide expert advice on the best way to deal with debt. Send your questions to j.hall@independent.co.uk with 'Money Matters' in the email subject line.

CCCS is a national charity giving independent advice to anyone worried about debt, delivered free of charge by expert counsellors. Based in Leeds, CCCS is able to help people with debt problems wherever they live in the UK, through its free national telephone service (0800 138 1111), ten regional centres and online debt remedy service ( cccs.co.uk/debtremedy).

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Sport
Heskey's aim has improved since the end of his English football career

Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.

News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Market Risk & Control Manager

    Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam