A landlord has tried to make himself heard in court by refusing to pay council tax over a row over noise he claims has made a buy to let home unattractive to tenants.
Bruce Woodall, 68, of Sibford Gower, Oxfordshire, voiced his complaints at Banbury Magistrates Court when facing a summons issued by Cherwell Council for failing to pay council tax after years of complaints seemingly fell on deaf ears.
The landlord told magistrates he had lost around £7,000 in rent after tenants moved out of his buy to let home when a Chinese restaurant opened next door in November 2012.
He claims the restaurant installed an industrial extractor and steel flue on the back of the property without planning permission and the noise from the equipment made his rental home uninhabitable.
Nevertheless, the prosecutor pointed out that council tax laws did not allow homeowners to withhold payment because they were dissatisfied with other council policies.
Woodall told the court that the council had promised to sort out the planning issues but had taken no action and pleaded with the court to demand an explanation for him.
“I understand the law has to be seen to be fair and reasonable but just because there’s a statute it doesn’t mean to say it’s right,” he said.
“The council said they were going to prosecute the takeaway in September but it never happened.”
Woodall also claimed the flue was a fire risk if not kept clean because of a build-up of grease.
Magistrate Carole Gibbs adjourned the case and suggested that a senior official should meet with Mr Woodall to try to iron the issues out – and meanwhile collection of the tax should be put on hold.
The prosecutor agreed to the suggestion and confirmed the council would investigate the case.
“We regret we cannot discuss an ongoing court case or details of individuals,” said a council spokesman after the case.