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I have been renting an apartment for about 2.5 years which my sister has been living in whilst I have been working abroad.


No council tax has been paid on the property to date and I have just had a call from the council (Salford) saying I owe them £2400 which has been passed back to them by bailiffs.


I briefly explained to them over the phone that I will pay the money but in installments, to which they said they would send out a questionairre.


I presume that the questionairre is going to ask for my employment details, NI number, employers contact details etc.


I want to pay the money back with a direct debit of £75 a month and I will pay installments of around £500 every 3 months however i do not want my employer to know anything about this.


Will they agree to the payment plan?


Will they negotiate with me without employment details?


Will they contact my employer?


Please help.



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Hi Worried09


Sorry about the delay in your post being answered, i have just come across this. In answer to your question when you have not paid an instalment of council tax on the date it is due, your local authority must issue a reminder, asking for payment within seven days. If you fail to pay within this period, you lose the right to pay by instalments and a full year's council tax becomes payable.


If you don't pay this within the next seven days, your local authority can ask the magistrates to issue a liability order. A liability order allows a local authority to make arrangements for the arrears to be paid by deductions from your Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or wages, or for bailiffs to seize your goods to the value of the amount owed. Alternatively, you could be sent to prison by the magistrate's court if you do not pay.


If your local authority issues you with three reminders for late payment of instalments within the same financial year, you will also lose the right to pay by instalments. A full year's council tax becomes payable when the third reminder is issued. However, in practice, your local authority may continue to accept payment by instalments, as long as they are paid on time.


Is your sister willing to help with the payments?


The Regulations for Council Tax state that the owner of a property is liable for payment of Council Tax if no one is resident in the property. The owner can also be liable for Council Tax if other people are resident under certain circumstances.


If you work away, your home in may be classed as your "sole or main residence". Everyone has to have a sole or main residence and the council will take many factors into account, including security of tenure, the length of time spent at the address, the reason for your absence etc.


I think you should get in touch with the council, explain that you thought your sister was paying it, lack of communication etc, and start to pay back the arrears. This is now a damage limitation exercise and you should stop any further procedings by the council as soon as possible.

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