Dear Editor, I have in mind a letter from Suzanne in Edgbaston (Post, July 5) claiming unfair payment of council tax. I am fairly sure she has no hope of recovery.
However, she may reflect on a case of an elderly couple whom, having lost a parent, were asked to pay council tax and the management fee on the retirement flat they inherited until the flat was sold. This couple had a serious problem.
I found myself in a similar position when faced with the law on second homes. The property I inherited was for sale but remained unsold for more than six months, a period of grace, due to housing market conditions created by the government.
After six months I was liable for 90 per cent of council tax. I was incensed and tried to reason with the council but I was told the money cannot be recovered.
To cap it all, having informed the council revenue department some three months later that the house was sold, awaiting exchange of contracts, all council tax paid, I received a letter from another council department which in the small print suggested that if the property remained empty then they have the power to take possession to ensure that it is occupied. This department was totally unforgiving when asked the reason for using these tactics especially when if they had asked the revenue department they would have learnt the current position.
Whilst agreeing with the law on second homes, I took an interest in this topic because I know that there are others that pass through the same trauma, seriously trying to sell their inheritance, not intending to leave it empty, and getting caught up in this law, a law I feel that was not intended to seriously penalise bereaved persons. However, bland responses mean that persons like Suzanne and myself feel that money is being unfairly taken from public.
I am sorry that I failed them.
Name and address supplied