Disgruntled Property-owner Pays Council Tax In Pennies

A tax dispute has arisen between a property-owner and local authorities concerning two houses in the Eastwood area of Nottingham. Russell Skellett, a local business man, had purchased the two properties for a sum of £135,000 with the intention of demolishing the houses which he considered to be derelict. No council tax would have been owed on the properties if the houses were ruled uninhabitable although the Broxtowe Borough Council, upon inspecting the properties, decided that they were habitable and therefore taxable. Compelled by court order to pay the tax Mr Skellett, angered by the court's decision, paid the entire £1,851.94 worth of council tax in pennies.

Were the properties derelict or not?

Mr Skellett, aged forty, bought what he had considered to be the derelict houses in March 2015 with the intention of pulling the uninhabitable buildings down and building new habitable ones in their place.
The two terraced houses, located on Three Tuns Road and uninhabited for over two years, were adjacent to the property-owner's own home and were without gas, electricity or water supply. Despite the lack of amenities, rising damp and missing roof sections the council's inspectors disagreed with the businessman's verdict the the two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses were derelict and when council tax payment was not forthcoming took the matter to court.

The court case.

A property, by law, can only be considered derelict if it requires major structural remodelling to make it waterproof and windproof or if it has has sustained extensive damage either by human hands or through natural causes. Mr Skellett, having observed the extent to which his buildings had fallen into disrepair, disagreed with the council's assertion that the houses were suitable to live in and claims that he requested several meetings about the matter which were all refused. When Mr Skellett learned that the court had ruled in the council's favour he claimed that he had not been notified of the court appointments and had therefore been unable to defend himself during the proceedings.
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