Couple’s fury at council tax double whammy

Kevin Daly hard at work in his uninhabitable house.
Kevin Daly hard at work in his uninhabitable house.
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A Mossend couple are furious they’re being ordered to pay double council tax for a house they’re renovating and can’t even live in.

Joiner Kevin Daly says he’s spent the last 16 months working on the Riverbank Drive property and he and partner Jaime Jack are ‘desperate’ to move in.

However, they have been landed with a near £2,500 council tax bill under rules designed to prevent homes being left unoccupied.

North Lanarkshire Council says it has no option but to impose the double charge, but the Scottish Government this week disputed that and said local authorities can use their discretion.

Mr Daly (33) said he had been given a 12-month council tax exemption which has expired and he is willing to pay the normal charge, but not double. He is also paying council tax on the flat in Bellshill where he is currently staying.

He said: “I’m working my fingers to the bone trying to get the work done here. When we bought the house it had lain empty for three years. There were burst pipes, the electrics were unsafe and the kitchen floor had collapsed.

“I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m here all of my spare time and I reckon I need another four to six months to finish the job.”

Mr Daly said he even offered to sleep on the floor to get out of the double tax penalty, but the council ruled the house is uninhabitable and he must pay the extra.

A council spokesman said: “As soon as Mr Daly’s property is occupied the levy will be removed and he will be due to pay the regular council tax amount due for the property.”

But a Scottish Government spokesman insisted: “Councils can use flexibility to avoid charging a council tax increase when it is clear the property is in the process of being brought back into use.”

More on this story in the Bellshill Speaker, out now.