Martin Lewis tip gets man £200 back from council – but his neighbours got £1000s

A man has explained how he used Martin Lewis' advice to get hundreds of pounds back from his council and hundreds more knocked off his next bill too.

But while is was good news for him, it was even better for his neighbours, some of whom got thousands of pounds in tax back.

Jake Hanwell's success was thanks to tips he picked up from Martin Lewis, the weekly newsletter reports.

“Up to 400,000 households in England and Scotland are in a higher council tax band than they should be,” Martin said earlier this year as part of hit bill busting special of his ITV money show.

He explained that even if you've been rejected before, you can still try again – which is exactly what Jake did.

  • How thousands of people just got council tax discounts and even some big rebates

  • Martin Lewis explains which 3 bills you could save hundreds on and how to do it

"I'm over the moon. I initially challenged for myself and am getting £200 back and £300/yr lower bills. But it's had a bigger impact as they're lowering all the apartments' bands in our block," the Stockton-on-Tees resident said.

"My first challenge was rejected, but after looking to MSE for guidance I escalated my case and won. I guess I am the favourite neighbour."

Jake said as a result 29 of his neighbours will also get lower bills – collectively seeing them paid thousands back.

  • Council tax bills set to rise by up to 4% in 2020 – adding £70 to bills

But Martin had a warning for people as well as pointing out the benefits back in January.

That's because you can only apply to have your council tax "revalued" not lowered – and every year a few of the people seeking lower bills see theirs rise instead.

So before you apply, it's wise to carry out a few checks.

First, find out what your neighbours are paying – you can do this online at

Second, check what your house was worth in 1991 – when the bands were set.

To do this, take the current value and convert to 1991 prices using an online calculator.

If it falls into a different band to what you’re paying – apply for a re-valuation.

Only apply if both checks work – as you can only apply to have it revalued, not lowered, and there’s a chance yours could go up.

It's also worth saying there's a very different system in Northern Ireland, while your chances in Wales are far lower thanks to a revaluation.

    But getting your band changed is far from the only way to save on your council tax.

    Firstly, single adults get 25% off.

    This applies not just to single adults, but to parents living with children, people living with full time students and anyone living with someone with a severe mental impairment

    Then there are council tax support credits – these apply to people with pension credits, on benefits or with low incomes.

    You can also apply to get your band lowered for changes you've made, if you’ve adapted your house to help people with disabilities for example, you’re entitled to one band lower (even if in bottom band you get a discount).

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