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I've done an appeal at Valuation Service Tribunal over council tax reduction. Who can I speak to?

Jophy65Jophy65 Member Posts: 7 Listener
Hi everybody, my is Jo I am a 65 years old woman who suffers from a painful medical condition called Sickle Cell Disease. As a disabled vulnerable tenant with my council for over thirty years they are saying I'm not eligible for a council tax band reduction they have not communicated with me for 2 years even with their final decision so I have registered an appeal at the Valuation Service Tribunal for a council tax band reduction no hearing date set as yet. I'm now looking for a caseworker to represent my case Has any body else been in a similar situation who did you speak to how did it go and what was your outcome Thanks for reading this and look forward to hearing from you.   
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Replies

  • Sandy_123Sandy_123 Member Posts: 1,148 Pioneering
    Hi @Jophy65 welcome to the forum, I wish you well, in applying for your council tax reduction.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,238 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome 

    Is it the banding you are trying to get reduced 

    You may be eligible for council tax reduction as in reduced payments if you get benefits this is through local council 
  • Jophy65Jophy65 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi janer1967, 
    Thanks for getting back to me, yes it is the council tax banding I'm trying to get reduced mainly because I'm disabled which the council has been aware of for many years
     I am on PIP on both enhanced rates ESA contributory benefit and have had my flat adapted to my particular needs.
    The council do not communicate with me even by phone or email so a support worker from the Valuation Service Tribunal had to get involved from the start emailed the council to get a final decision letter after 2 months of waiting they have not responded so they went ahead and registered my appeal for me I'm now just waiting for a hearing date. 
    I think the council are saying that I'm not disabled enough ie not in a wheelchair ,no have walk in shower, and don't meet their requirements to qualify yet I have blue badge and a garage from the same council so my argument is too that I'm being discriminated against.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,238 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi again 

    I understand this bur what will you gain from the banding being reduced sorry I'm not knowledgeable about this 

    You would get council tax reduction I would have thought 

    The trouble with banking 7s that it is applied to the property rather than person and next person in the property may not be disabled 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,044 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Jophy65 - I've just paid some Council Tax, so had a look at their letter. It says:
    Reductions for disabled people - We can reduce your Council Tax if a disabled person lives in your home & the property has at least one of the following:
    - A room that is not a bathroom, kitchen or toilet that is mainly used by the disabled person and is essential for their needs
    - An extra bathroom or kitchen that is essential for the disabled person's needs
    - Extra space inside the property so that the disabled person can use their wheelchair indoors
    I'm sure other council's may vary slightly, but from what you have mentioned it sounds like your council's criteria are very similar.
    If you live on your own you should be getting a 25% reduction, however.
  • Jophy65Jophy65 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi chiarieds,
    Thanks for getting back to me yes I do get 25% reduction on my council tax bill, My council's criteria is the same on those points you but I have had my flat adapted to my needs in the kitchen ,bedroom and bathroom but not to the extent of a walk in shower there is space in my property for wheelchair use too.
    As the council have ignored me I never received a final decision letter from them so a support worker from the Valuation Service Tribunal who was following my case got involved he emailed the council twice giving them within 2 months to send me a final decision letter but the never responded so he went a head with registering my appeal.
    I am waiting for a hearing date and hopefully it will go my way to a reduction in my council tax bill .
  • Jophy65Jophy65 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Jophy65 said:
    Hi janer1967, 
    Thanks for getting back to me, yes it is the council tax banding I'm trying to get reduced mainly because I'm disabled which the council has been aware of for many years
     I am on PIP on both enhanced rates ESA contributory benefit and have had my flat adapted to my particular needs.
    The council do not communicate with me even by phone or email so a support worker from the Valuation Service Tribunal had to get involved from the start emailed the council to get a final decision letter after 2 months of waiting they have not responded so they went ahead and registered my appeal for me I'm now just waiting for a hearing date. 
    I think the council are saying that I'm not disabled enough ie not in a wheelchair ,no have walk in shower, and don't meet their requirements to qualify yet I have blue badge and a garage from the same council so my argument is too that I'm being discriminated against.

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,404

    Scope community team

    edited April 16
    Hi @Jophy65 and a warm welcome to our online community.  Getting a representative from the Valuation Tribunal Service to help you challenge this decision was a wise move and I'm sure they'll be a good support.

    The Citizens Advice webpage on Council tax covers this and echos much of what @chiarieds has mentioned in that:
    To claim a reduction you must show that a disabled person lives in the property, and also that the property has at least one of the following:
    • an extra kitchen or bathroom to meet the needs of a disabled person
    • any other room (except a toilet) which is mainly used by a disabled person to meet their needs
    • enough indoor space for a disabled person to use their wheelchair
    You can check if you can get a reduction by using the ‘Apply for a Council Tax discount’ tool on GOV.UK.
    Some local councils ask for supporting evidence, for example, a doctor’s letter.
    I wonder, have you submitted a doctors letter as supporting evidence to back up your case?  

    While, if you visit the Valuation Tribunal Service website, they have an interactive flowchart about council tax hearings that advises:
    Please try to provide as much evidence as possible to support your case. You will be allowed to:
    • give oral and written evidence;
    • present anything that you believe will help your case, such as photographs or plans; and
    • call witnesses.
    The VOA’s evidence can appear fairly formal but we do not expect you to present your evidence in the same way as them.
    You and the VOA listing officer should have discussed beforehand any evidence that each of you will present at the hearing. It is best for everyone if there are no surprises at the hearing, otherwise your case may need to be adjourned to a later date.
    It is very important that you read the Practice Statement directions and guidance notes as they explain the exchange of evidence between you and the VOA listing officer.
    I'd highly recommend looking at the above flowchart for more on what to expect throughout the process as it proceeds too :)

    Good luck and please let us know how you get on.  
    Online Community Co-ordinator

    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.
  • Jophy65Jophy65 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi janer1967
    What I hope to gain is to pay less council tax as I only get the 25%reduction now as I live on my own. Up to four years when I was working I did get a discount on my council tax as I was getting housing benefits but once I retired from work and they looked into my finances discounts all stopped.
    Anyway the Valuation Service Tribunal support worker has registered my appeal with good reasons 
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,238 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for that it's just normally you get a council tax reduction for being on certain benefits or disability rather than the banding being reduced 

    But you have your support so I am sure they know what they are doing 

    I get council tax reduction and it was very simple applicatio  through my council website 
  • Jophy65Jophy65 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Cher,
    Thanks you for all the helpful information I will certainly look at the Valuation Service Tribunal website particularly the interactive flow chart on council tax hearings.
     To be honest I hadn't thought of getting supporting evidence from my doctor so next week I will speak to my doctor to get a letter of support to help my case.
    I will let you know how I get on
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