The winter floods brought misery to thousands of people across the southern United Kingdom and left many with no choice but to vacate their saturated homes.
For many, this was compounded by the fact that families were having to pay council tax on the temporary accommodation they had been forced to move into, as well as on their permanent homes made uninhabitable by the record levels of floodwater.
This was the reality for a West Sussex couple until last week, when they won their battle with Horsham District Council to reclaim four months of council tax payments.
Their Pulborough home has been vacant since it was flooded on Christmas Eve 2013, but this did not stop them having to pay council tax on both their temporary residence and their permanent home.
Despite being advised by their insurance company to leave their home due to health and safety fears after suffering three feet of flooding, they had only been granted a 25 per cent tax reduction for 30 days in January.
This signalled the start of more than four months in temporary accommodation and with no suggestion as to when they can move back to their stricken property, the couple have been in a dispute with the council over their entitlement to a 100 per cent reduction on their council tax until the issue is resolved.
Encouragingly for other flood victims, Minister Brandon Lewis recently announced that that the government will extend the council tax discount to anyone who is unable to return to their homes because of flood damage.
In reference to this specific case, Horsham District Council defended their stance with a spokesperson insisting that the 25 per cent discount was given “before guidance on the 100 per cent flood relief scheme had been passed to the council,” before adding that overpayment of council tax had now been repaid.
Anyone involved in a dispute over council tax should remember that Council Tax Advisors (CTA) is on hand to provide independent help and advice. Contact them today for more information.