Under government guidelines, local councils will reduce the tax banding if the resident is a qualifying disabled person. The key word being 'qualifying'.
Many disabled people have need for
extra room. Maybe a wheelchair, medical equipment, recreation or for a carer to
sleep. While the first two normally qualify for council tax banding relief (depending
on the local councils view towards disability). Recreational needs are quite a
fight and until recently, a room for your carer was a definite NO NO... But
On the 3rd February 1999 Dr E C-Vanci successfully challenged a London tax billing authority setting a new precedence at a Council Tax appeal hearing. The house had an extra bedroom for the use of a night carer. The council were forced to grant a disability reduction from band 'F' down to band 'E', reducing the yearly bill by £200, setting a new test case on how local councils interpretate the guidelines laid down by central government.
Until now councils have refused an extra room for carers as not falling into the category laid down by government. Basing most refusals upon a previous test case law in 1981 won by Wirral Council to support the councils interpretation of the 1992 Council Tax Regulations.
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The tribunal criticised the local councils 'strict interpretation' of a single paragraph in a much wider implicated law. Lord Justice Fox had previously stated "the real question is - why is the room needed? It seems to me that the user of the room must be related to the disability" though this had obviously been ignored by the council who had insisted - as most do, that the regulations mean direct use of the room by the disabled person and not used by someone else - i.e. a carer.
The appeal court found though that the interpretation of the 1992 act clearly allowed carers to be included as they are a necessary feature needed by the disabled person, without which they would suffer physical difficulty and / or their health jeopardised.
Contrary to directives laid down in Department of Environment practise note 2.
This will be good news to the hundreds with disabilities who are refused this facility. Additionally, this appeal finding could equally be used in other housing issues where the local authority are not permitting an extra room for a carer.
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