Monday Morning And The Court Papers Have Arrived: The Joys Of Property Ownership

29 Jul

Boy, do I love Monday mornings.

Especially when they start with a court summons.

Which is how my Monday has started.

Always a great start to the week: be in court at 09.45 on Wednesday 7th August for unpaid council tax of £915.10.

And it’s got a “lovingly” sketched swirly signature of some Clerk of the Court.  I can’t make out the name – “A Sweden” or something – but anyway, whoever the swirly signature is from, it is: BY ORDER OF THE COURT.

And I have to confess it looks pretty serious.  It’s not like one of those fake parking tickets you can buy on eBay to wind up your friends.  Nope, this summons looks pretty kosha.

So I look at the address to which the unpaid council tax is due and why I am now being summoned to court to pay this.  And immediately I clock it’s for a property which became vacant and then was tenanted again about three months ago.

I’m pretty sure I told the council about the new tenant as I know how rigorous they can be in extracting council tax – especially in these stretched economic times.

So I do a search through my emails and I find the email which I had duly sent to the council tax department some three months previous.

So I call the council and ask: WTF is going on???

To which the nice sounding lady in the debt recovery team asks if I mind being held on “hold”

Of course, I did mind, however I murmured my assent and let them get on with “holding me”.

Three minutes later and the nice debt recovery lady is back on the phone and I can hear her blushing down the phone to me.

“Miss Collett, may I offer you our unreserved apology for this oversight and the upset this must have caused you.  We do have your email informing us of the new tenant details.  I have no idea how this got missed and I can only apologise.  I will cancel the court action with immediate effect and ensure this file is updated at once”

And so fellow landlords and property investors let this be a lesson to you: email the council tax department as soon as a new tenant moves in – and keep a copy of that email for your files…you never know when you may need it!

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