An Upper Enham resident has spoken of her battle to change the council tax band on her home, which she describes as “viciously unfair.”

Margaret Reichlin lives in a two-bedroom cottage which she inherited from her family, which bought the neighbouring farm during the 1940s.

The cottage has been placed into tax band E, which gives the 88-year-old an annual bill of £2128.97 for her council tax every year. This band was decided by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which sets council tax bands on the price a property would have sold for on the open market on April 1 1991. The assessment of this value is based on factors such as size, location and layout.

The 88-year-old believes that this band is too high, and has been battling “since 1991” to have the band changed.

“This is a simple farm cottage,” she said, “and was the under cowman’s when we bought the farm.”

“My second bedroom is only a bit of a bedroom, and only takes a 2ft 6 bed. No matter how pretty you make something, it’s the practicality that counts.”

Margaret said that due to her home’s size, it was “unfair” that properties with more bathrooms and bedrooms than her home could be in a lower tax band.

She said: “I’m thinking that if they see an area with a lot of nice homes, then that’s what everyone gets lumped by.”

Margaret described the situation as being “like Kafka,” saying that if the tax band is assessed incorrectly, “you can’t get it changed until you sell.”

She has been in touch with the VOA, which sets council tax banding for homes, and was told she needed to find “comparable properties” to provide evidence to change her banding. She said that her former parish councillor, James Nash, was helping her to do this before his tragic death earlier this year.

She said: “Councillor Nash did door knocks for me to look for others, but only found one similar property nearby.”

After she supplied these properties, an informal review by the VOA found against her, with a listing officer concluding that her banding was correct.

However, Margaret says that she will continue to challenge the decision.

She said: “People just give up after a while, unless they’re daft enough like me to keep going. If I lose, I keep fighting.”

After being contacted by the Advertiser for comment, a VOA spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on individual cases.

“Council tax bands are based on a property's value and this varies according to several factors including a property’s size, character and location.

“It is not unusual for properties of different sizes to fall in the same band. When extensions or alterations have taken place, legislation prevents the band being reviewed until the property is sold.”