Middlesbrough CouncilPRIVATE housing landlords have paid off major Council Tax debts – to stave off the threat of bankruptcy.

Two property owners have made recent payments totalling £35,000 against their arrears to Middlesbrough Council after previous failures to make payments saw the cases heading for legal action and the courts.

They faced the real risk of imminent bankruptcy and in one instance, chose to sell property to make good some of their debts.

Monthly payment arrangements have now been reached with senior finance officers at Middlesbrough Council to recoup any arrears and ongoing council tax liability to avoid further legal action.

Councillor Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said: “Council Tax is one of the cornerstones of the town’s finances, so it’s vital that we are able to collect as much as possible of that which is due to us, to protect services for residents and ensure the town is able to plan effectively for the future.

“Landlords have a binding legal obligation to make due Council Tax payments from the rent they receive.

“We will always work with them to find a way forward and legal action is a last resort – but one we will use when all other avenues have been exhausted.

“This case should send a clear message to all those who default on their Council Tax that effective recovery action will take place – and they could end up bankrupt.