A family have asked Wirral Council to stop sending them council tax bills more than a year after their Mum passed away.
Richard Sefton-Durrant said his mum, Jane Durrant, kept being sent letters before she died saying she was behind on her council tax bill despite moving out of her Wirral house after being diagnosed with cancer.
Jane, a mum of two and nan to five grandkids, used to live on Leasowe Road in Moreton and died at the age of 63 in February 2022, almost a year after she was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2021.
Before she passed away, she moved out of her house in Moreton into supported living in Ellesmere Port. Despite an exemption on empty homes for people receiving care, Richard said Jane still got letters from Wirral Council that she was behind on her council bill.
After she died, the family sold the house in December 2022 but have continued to receive letters including six in one day in April. He’s also received several emails from the council since Jane’s death too.
Richard said, “It’s just we were really close. It sounds pathetic but even receiving a letter and seeing my Mum’s name, you think ‘oh it’s for Mum’ and it takes you back into your grief. I’ve said to them, ‘Please stop sending them because it’s just reminding me that my Mum is dead.”
Jane worked as a counsellor and would have recently celebrated her 65th birthday on 8 May. Richard said, “Everything was for other people. Mum was just such a lovely caring person. She was such a loving woman, she was just amazing.”
He said he’s been in communication with the council both over the phone and email but the letters still keep coming with some just saying no council tax was owed.
A Wirral Council spokesperson said, “We are extremely sorry if the family feel upset by our attempts to get in touch. The council has a legal responsibility to establish who owns and lives in a property and in this case, we would encourage the family to contact us so we can confirm the correct council tax exemptions were applied, and check if any refunds are due.”
One email sent from the council in March said Jane was still listed as an owner of the house, alongside Richard’s stepfather and that family members could be charged council tax from December 2021 unless the names of new owners were provided.
Richard said he’d checked with his solicitors and everything had been completed. He added he was advised it’s the new occupants who should be contacted by Wirral Council as this falls under their solicitor’s remit to update the land registry about who owns the house in the case of a backlog.
He also said his mum would have updated the council on her living arrangements when she moved out of the house in Moreton and that she always made sure to stay on top of her bills.
Richard added, “She still had to pay full council tax even though my stepdad hadn’t been living there for the last three years. There were times she would break down sobbing because no one was listening.
“She never caught a break my Mum, bless her. It just felt like they weren’t listening.”
Main image: Richard Sefton-Durrant and his mum, Jane Durrant with their dogs. Credit: Richard Sefton-Durrant