AN ELMDON couple have been baffled by a ruling that they will have to pay more council tax than their next-door-neighbours - even though they say the homes are identical.
Tim and Debbie Kelly moved into their semi-detached bungalow, in Ebrington Avenue, last September.
A few months later, their neighbours told them that they had successfully appealed to have their house downgraded from a Class E to a Class D. Since the homes were identical, the Kellys also lodged an appeal with the Valuation Office - who are responsible for setting council tax bands. But they were left fuming when their appeal was thrown out - leaving them paying £400 a year more than their neighbours.
Mr Kelly, aged 54, admitted that he’d thought the result would be a “foregone conclusion”.
“My argument is how can two, identical properties, side-by-side, pay a different amount of council tax. Obviously we can’t afford to take this to the High Court, but we definitely think there’s something wrong and are looking to get the rest of the road involved.”
A letter which arrived last week outlined the Valuation Office’s reasons for rejecting the appeal. It said that the appeals’ panel had sympathy with Mr Kelly’s argument that the couple had been treated unfairly in comparison with their neighbours. But it went on to say that it was not that panel’s responsibility to decide whether the banding of the neighbouring house was correct.
The Kellys had decided to contact the Solihull News, after we revealed that 17 homeowners in Woodrow Close, Knowle, had received council-tax rebates. Having done research online, Mr Kelly thinks that Ebrington Avenue might be another street which was wrongly classified.
Solihull Council has advised anyone who thinks they might be in the wrong council tax band to contact the Valuation Office.