Roommate disappears without paying council tax?
I moved into a house near uni doing my masters. We were all students except for an italian girl who worked at a restaurant across town. Fast forward a year and a half. I've finished my masters in December and was working from Jan-April 1st at which point my student visa expired and I left. The last three months I was in the UK was spent arguing with the italian girl about paying council tax but she wasn't understanding that she had to pay it because she's not paid it up until now. Her english was very poor and she thought that I was trying to get her to pay a fee that I had accumulated so she wouldn't pay it.
Anyway I took a Last Hurrah trip to go backpacking and find that she's gone back to Italy. She's left the house her things are gone her phone doesn't work and her facebook has been deleted. We all signed different leases so that she can leave the house without us being stuck covering her rent. However, she's not paid any council tax at all for almost two years.
When I initially contacted the council about this in march they told me to hold off paying it because they were trying to work out what to do. Actually one of the older men (hearing that I was from california) told me just to not pay it because the council won't chase me across the border. I thought that was funny but not really my style so I've been trying to get in contact with them to try to sort the debt out after having to take a bit of a break to sort out the move. After about a month of waiting for their reply they've informed me that I'm liable for almost 3k worth of council bills that she's accumulated along with the late fees that are tacked on to that amount.
Has anyone had any experience with this? Is there no amount of flexibility with the council? I feel like I've reached out to them to try to sort this issue out to do my due diligence as a temporary occupant of a UK city and in turn they're trying to use me to collect on 3k worth of debt that isn't even 90% mine. To make matters worse in between the large gaps that the council has taken in replying to me I've now been offered a position at oxford. I'm now in the position where I feel as if I cannot wait for the council any longer to reply and that I'm going to have to just pay the 3k because I don't want my visa application to get rejected over this
Is this feeling correct? Do I need to start setting up a payment plan to pay off my old roommates council debt that she accumulated while I was a student?