A single dad feels broken and dejected after being told to pay more for council tax because the council won’t believe he lives at a house which is under construction.

Stavros Charalambou, 40, lives in Mutton Lane, Potters Bar, and hopes to get his home completed and ready to be sold.

He needs to sell his home because of a recent divorce, and the house has now become a financial burden – matters are even worse now after Hertsmere Borough Council decided to levy increased taxes against him.

For the first year, the house was uninhabitable with no heating and amenities, so the council gave a 50 per cent discount to Mr Charalambou with his council tax.

However, because the home was uninhabited for two years, which also includes the time before Mr Charalambou bought the premises, the council placed a levy of 50 per cent on the home.

Feeling unfairly treated Mr Charalambou has been paying £3,000 for the property and was anxiously expecting a further levy bringing the total to £4,000.

The council reserve the right to increase the tax for uninhabited homes – however despite the state of disrepair, the house in Mutton Lane is being lived in by Mr Charalambou with nothing but a kettle and a microwave to his name.

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Levys and construction work together have meant the 40-year-old plumber sunk all of his money into getting the home ready, but it is still far off from being finished.

Mr Charalambou said: “This has broken me, I don’t know why they say I’m not living here but I am here, and I have statements from people vouching for me.

“I have spent all my money to get the work done on the house.

“I can’t let my daughter see this place and play here it is too dangerous nails are hanging out of the place and dust everywhere.”

“This has nearly ruined me, and I have been getting depressed because I feel like everything is against me.”

An officer from the council came by his home unannounced and despite being let into the property by Mr Charalambou still reported to the council that the house was uninhabited this year.

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Mr Charalambou in reaction provided documents to the council proving his residence and even spoke to his MP Olliver Dowden and approached the Barnet times.

When we went to Hertsmere Borough Council for a response, a spokesperson said: “In relation to this property, we applied a 50 per cent discount on council tax for the maximum period of 12 months from March 2017 to March 2018 as it was uninhabitable because of structural alterations.

“Following that period, a full charge was billed until October 2018.

“At that point, the property had been unoccupied for two years so we apply a ‘Levy’ of 50 per cent because we want to encourage owners to bring their property back into a habitable condition so that it can be occupied.

“The owner is in communication with the council, saying that he is living in the property so that his charge is reduced from 150% down to 75%. However, we appear to have conflicting accounts over whether he is living there full time and there are also questions over the habitability of the property.

“For that reason, we continue to consider it appropriate to apply the additional 50 per cent levy, although we remain in dialogue with the property owner about this matter.

It has come to our attention that since getting a response from the council Mr Charalambou has spoken to them, and his council tax has now been reduced even further, and he is no longer paying the levy.