Westwater Advocates’ David Anderson acted as junior counsel in a successful appeal against a local authority’s decision to double the amount of council tax it sought to recover from the owners of properties in Port Glasgow’s Clune Park Area which it had decided should be demolished.
Senior Counsel was Stephen O’Rourke QC and the instructing agents were Kingsley Wood and Co, Solicitors.
The successful appellants argued that the power to increase the tax, under the Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Regulations 2013, was designed to encourage property owners to bring properties back to the rental market, while the local authority had a policy that the supply of rental properties should be stopped in Clune Park.
The Renfrewshire Valuation Appeal Committee issued a written decision finding that the local authority’s increase of the council tax under this power was unreasonable and unjust and was not in keeping with the intention of Parliament, and stating:
“The Committee accepts the Appellants’ submissions that it is not the Appellants fault that the properties are in their current condition and that the Appellants wish the properties to be well maintained and tenanted. The Committee finds that the Respondents are actively frustrating the Appellants’ efforts to re-let their Properties, through the Home Loss and Disturbance payments and their policy of rehousing tenants within the Clune Park Estate. The Committee agree with the Appellants that the levy should not be used to punish an owner or to force an owner to give up their property so that it can be demolished.”
The decision of the Renfrewshire Valuation Appeal Committee has been reported in the local press: