GALLERY: Chatteris arson victim told he must continue to pay rates on his property by Fenland District Council

House fire, New road, Chatteris. Kitchen,Picture: Steve Williams.

House fire, New road, Chatteris. Kitchen,Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

An arson victim has been told he must keeping paying rates on his house because it still has a roof.

On January 6, Tony Gautrey’s property, at New Road in Chatteris, was set on fire. Two crews battled for more than three hours to put out the blaze, which caused extensive damage to the inside of the house. The floorboards were destroyed and the electrics were wiped out.

Four weeks later, a pungent smoke smell still overpowers when you enter the home.

But, because the roof remained intact in the fire, Mr Gautrey, who lives in Littleport, says he has been told by Fenland District Council he must continue to pay council tax on it.

Mr Gautrey said: “My house got burned down and I’ve been to FDC but they say they will not take it out of rates.

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“They say it’s still livable because it has still got a roof.

“This is even though the electrics are out, the floorboards are burnt and you can’t stay in there because of the smell of the smoke.

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“The rates system has gone mad.”

An FDC spokesman said whether or not council tax should be charged was up to the valuation office.

He said: “Mr Gautrey has been in touch with us twice – once in December and again last month - about having to pay council tax on this property.

“On both occasions he was advised to contact the valuation office to see if they would remove the property from the council tax list.

“It is the valuation office that decides whether a property is in the council tax list and if it is we have to charge. While a property remains on the council tax list, a full charge is payable as there is no exemption available.

“We have contacted the valuation office today. They have advised that they would need to visit the property to establish the amount of work required to repair the fire damage, so we will be putting in a report asking them to visit.

“If they subsequently take the property out of the list, there won’t be a charge until the repairs are completed and the property is brought back in to the list again.”

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