Property Ombudsman investigation - Council Tax?

Hello all, for almost a year now I’ve had an ongoing investigation through the Property Ombudsman - they have “severe delays” and are essentially investigating whether I’m truly on the hook for rent that an estate agent is claiming I owe, despite not being able to live at the property and having it in writing that I was released from the contract.

However, I’ve been in touch with the council where the property is located, and they went to the estate agent to get dates for when I was supposedly liable for council tax and the council deem that I’m liable for it.

The problem is, the TPOS investigation is still ongoing, if I were to pay council tax, how would I then go about getting it back if I were to win the TPOS dispute? I had a similar issue with the deposit, as the estate agent challenged the deposit scheme for the full amount within a month of starting the TPOS claim, but obviously had no choice in that regard but to let the money go.

TPOS are extremely unhelpful and any questions I’ve put to them over the past 9-10 months are essentially returned with “Sorry I can’t give any advice I’m just the XYZ, you’ll have to wait for the investigation to complete”.

Appreciate any advice

We’re you actually living there? If not where did you go and have you go evidence of that? What have you got releasing you from the contract and from when?

Moved in for a week in December, was filthy and hadn’t had even a basic wipe down of any surface (height of covid infections etc), had no heating due to faulty boiler which they took 2 weeks to fix, rainwater leaking through doors and windows considerably. They released me from the contract via email.

It’s upto TPOS to decide, the question is, what do I do about council tax in the meantime? TPOS revolves around the rent due, not the council tax, I’m not even sure if it covers the deposit that they’ve already taken. So if I win TPOS, and I’ve already paid the council tax, how would I get that back, and the deposit? I don’t think it’s feasible to wait until I get the result to pay the council tax as I’d likely already have a CCJ by then, and TPOS literally don’t answer any questions, just simply tell me to wait for the ruling and repeat again that they’re “severely delayed”

Isn’t the email good enough evidence?

Have you told the council tax department what is going on?

The council usually have Housing Officers who may be able to help you.

You’d think so, but the Council simply goes by the contract, they aren’t interested in any disputes about whether the contract stands.

So, looks like I have to pay council tax, but does anyone know how I’d get that back + deposit after the TPOS claim? I literally can’t stress enough how unhelpful TPOS are when asking about any questions related to the TPOS claim.

You pay the council tax in the meantime and then try to claim it back. Never delay paying CT. You could go to prison for that debt.

I repeat, where were you actually living? Do you have evidence of living elsewhere?

Definitely don’t stop paying council tax. Albeit it is unlikely you’ll go to prison if you have a valid excuse not to pay, I would not risk it.

You should provide copies of your agreement that the contract is void - this should be enough for the council to revert the council tax liability back to the owner.

Also, if you pay council tax at your new residence, provide copies of that and/or a possible lease to the council.