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Liability order following agreement on repayment schedule?


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Hello, I've reposted this thread here (I couldn't work out how to move thread) and would be very grateful for any advice (I've copied my original thread and replies below):

 

Hello everyone, I would be very grateful for any advice.

I have an ongoing issue with Richmond Council and Newlyn bailiffs; I have begin to accept that dealing with Newlyn isn't easy but I have learned to accept this!

 

My latest problem is a worry as I don't want to give Newlyn any opportunity to turn up at my door.

We recently received a letter from Richmond Council informing us that we owed x amount of council tax for the period before we moved out of the borough. They said that we could avoid court action by returning the enclosed direct debit form etc.

I duly returned the form and they subsequently sent me an acceptance letter detailing the payments to be made, starting Jan 08.

 

Last week we received another letter telling us that they'd been given a liability order for the same account and that we needed to pay or etc etc.

I have tried to contact the council to find out what's going on and no-one is getting back to me. Can anyone advise on what I can do?

 

To clarify: we made an arrangement which was yet to start, which the council had recognised and accepted, the first payment was yet to be made and we then receive the liability order notice.

 

Many thanks

 

Sequenci replied giving me some very good advice

 

The current situation is that I received the following email from the council:

Dear xx

Thank you for the e-mail below.

I apologise if you have not yet had a reply to your query.

 

I can confirm that you have a Special Arrangement in place, on your Council Tax account, and that it is being paid by Direct Debit.

I can also confirm that we have a Liability Order on your account as you were summonsed for non-payment of your bill.

No further action will be taken on the Liability Order, as long as you continue to pay the agreed installments under the Special Arrangement.

If your Direct Debit is cancelled for any reason, the Council has recourse to further recovery action, without having to re-apply to the Court.

Once the current year's bill has been fully paid, the Liability Order becomes inactive.

 

I hope this has clarified the situation.

 

xx

Council Tax Officer

I had an agreed repayment schedule and they went ahead with the liability order...is that how it works? It certainly isn't what the form I completed (ie when completing the direct debit to arrange a payment) said at all. It said that "to stop this action you must arrange to pay" etc.

 

Does anyone have any advice on this?

Thank you

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Well, you can read the regs here The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

 

and cos I've got to go out I haven't time to read through it myself, but logically and unless TT or anyone else has an alternative view; I can see no reason why the council have done this except to give themselves the option of adding a liability order charge to the account, and being able to quickly pass the account to the bailiffs if you don't pay.

 

I think their letter indicates that that is exactly what it's about.

 

Thing is though I don't think that there is anything that they can do while you keep to the arrangement you have with them.

 

hope that helps,

 

Chris

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You don't say what you've actually received from the bailiffs, but if you've received any communication at all, I'd write back telling them that you have an agreement in force with the council, you are keeping to that, and therefore it's nothing to do with them.

 

You need to give out more info about the comms you've received.

 

Chris

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Thank you Chris. I don't have any other comms with them on this account (we have had payment schedules in the past with them) other than my informing them by letter that we were moving and asking for a final council tax bill.

They then sent me the bill which I didn't pay immediately so we recieved another letter informing us that "a liability order would be applied for if we didn't make arrangements to pay" which we did by retirning the direct debit form. They responded to us agreeing the monthly payments and confirming dates and amounts; the first payment is due this month (though their direct debit is still not set up.)

In the New Year we received a letter telling is that "they had been granted a liability order on 10/12/07 in relation to account number xx" and we have been trying since that point to get an answer as to why they continued with the order when payment arrangements were in place...and here we are!

 

I understand why they've done it but I didn't think that was the proper process to go through?

 

Thanks again

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The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

Application for liability order

34.—(1) If an amount which has fallen due under regulation 23(3) or (4) is wholly or partly unpaid, or (in a case where a final notice is required under regulation 33) the amount stated in the final notice is wholly or partly unpaid at the expiry of the period of 7 days beginning with the day on which the notice was issued, the billing authority may, in accordance with paragraph (2), apply to a magistrates' court for an order against the person by whom it is payable.

 

So the council have the right to apply for a liability order pretty much at any time it would seem.

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I would write to the bailiffs telling them that you are already making payments under an agreement previously made with the council, enclosing a copy of the email, this one:

Dear xx

Thank you for the e-mail below.

I apologise if you have not yet had a reply to your query.

 

I can confirm that you have a Special Arrangement in place, on your Council Tax account, and that it is being paid by Direct Debit.

I can also confirm that we have a Liability Order on your account as you were summonsed for non-payment of your bill.

No further action will be taken on the Liability Order, as long as you continue to pay the agreed installments under the Special Arrangement.

If your Direct Debit is cancelled for any reason, the Council has recourse to further recovery action, without having to re-apply to the Court.

Once the current year's bill has been fully paid, the Liability Order becomes inactive.

 

I hope this has clarified the situation.

 

xx

Council Tax Officer

 

And telling them that for that reason they have no right to take any enforcement action against you, because you are maintaining that agreement.

 

Now go and pay the council some money online, and quick!

 

If I get a chance I'll try and work up a template for you after, unless of course someone who knows more than I, has a better suggestion.

 

Chris

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