Who pays business rates after a liquidator has disclaimed a lease?

What was thought to be the situation has recently been confirmed in the High Court, when a landlord was told to pay up £0.6m to Birmingham Council for business rates accruing after a tenant went into liquidation and disclaimed the lease – click here to read the judgement.

Thus any uncertainty there was that payment of business rates post disclaimer was the landlord’s problem has now evaporated.

This is a mixture of good and bad news…

Good for local authorities …

Bad for landlords who now know that unless they have the benefit of a strong covenant or strong Authorised Guarantee Agreement could end up with a big rates bill at a time when a property is earning no income …

Good for prospective tenants of empty properties as they could be in a better negotiating position when it comes to rent free periods or other ‘perks’…

Good for tenants of tertiary properties who could go to the wall unless they can renegotiate leases and rent payment dates with the landlord.

In fact it’s good news for everyone but landlords and people who’ve signed an authorised guarantee agreement!

If you’re a tenant who has massive problems because of their rent bill, and you’d like some help renegotiating it, call me on 01902 672323.

Walk of shame! – Councils who have had people jailed for not paying their rates!

It’s hard to believe, but even in a sophisticated country like ours, today in the 21st Century, it’s possible to be jailed for the non payment of debts, or I should say, rates owed to local authorities.

 It’s archaic, almost Monty Python like, as the lord of the manor first takes the peasants’ chickens then throws them into gaol, hung upside down.

Here’s a list of shame of some of the councils who have had their residents jailed:

http://bit.ly/1ix9vQ7 – the New Forest District Council – they even brag about it on their own website!

 http://bit.ly/1l13vA1 – Wychavon District Council – an 81 year old woman

http://bit.ly/1gmup4U – Nottingham City Council – There’s a theme developing – another pensioner, this time a 71 year old man.

 http://bit.ly/ORo5I8 – Derby City Council – it’s definitely developing now – a 69 year old woman.  Let’s not worry too much about kids on ASBOs, aren’t these old ones troublemakers!

 http://bit.ly/1ljEQcI – North East Lincolnshire Council (who admit in the article to having jailed several people recently – I suppose congratulations are in order?)

 http://bit.ly/1pwxlwk – Doncaster Council – getting younger, this time a 46 year old.  These young whipper snappers!

http://bit.ly/1dsCjKR – East Northamptonshire Council – crikey, don’t hack them off, they got 4 jailed in a matter of days!

http://bit.ly/1ruN8zw – East Hampshire Council – another council who presumably got a BOGOF offer on jailing!

 http://bit.ly/ORreHO – and right on my doorstep – Dudley Council!

 http://bit.ly/1dnaWBC – Castle Point Council – Southend to you and me.

The list goes on and on….

 You know, in some ways I can understand why councils think it’s ok to jail people, as ‘they’re only protecting the public purse’.  Read the councillors’ comments on any of the articles above and they all say they are trying to ‘send out a message to people to get them to pay’.  No apologies there then!  Monty Python comes to mind…(no, not the Knights of Ni)

There are 3 points here. 

Firstly how much better is it to make your point by taking someone’s freedom away from them than seeking the solution other creditors have under the law, of, say, bankruptcy?

Secondly, it’s almost an accident of law that councils are given this privileged position.  Why in our enlightened, over-indebted society, should they have it?

Thirdly, isn’t it a shame we don’t attack councillors with similar vigour when they abuse the public purse? Or indeed when they lead our councils over the abyss into bankruptcy?

But do you know what?

The thing I find most amazing is that Citizens Advice Bureaux, those champions of the small indebted man and woman, have made no effort to get the law changed, even though they have railed against other areas where there’s debt injustice.

But then again the reason for that could be they have a vested interest in not biting the hand that feeds them – after all local authorities are by far the biggest provider of money to CABs!

I’ll leave it to you to judge who’s more immoral…

But to lighten things up, here’s a link to Monty Python and the Holy Grail on Youtube.  Classic!