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so blue

Desperate for advice, made bankrupt for council tax I don't owe, cant stop it.

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Hi all,

I really wish I'd found this place sooner, my situation is beyond belief and I am sure it cannot happen but I don't seem to be able to stop it.

I'll be brief for now as I really need some sleep but am struggling to do so!

I have been made bankrupt in my absence for council tax at a home I own but have not lived at for 6yrs since I split with my wife.

It is in my name only, she lives their alone with my 2 children and claims tax credits and therefore is entitled to CT benefit.

But for some reason the council still have me named as responsible for the CT, despite numerous phone calls to them over the last few years and even a statement in court by myself when faced with a commital order (which was cancelled) they still issued bills in my name (which along with most mail in my name went in the bin..) and have gone on to make me bankrupt by post.

I have informed the OR, trustee and court of the situation and that it needs to be anulled but to no avail.

I can't get any free legal help at all and have been quoted £2k to do it, along with having to pay trustee fees etc.

The house has £40k equity, and it seems it is all lost for a £7k CT debt which should have been paid by benefits.

The plan was to let her stay there with my kids, as they've lived their all their lives and is the only secure thing they have. And when they have grown up and left, we would sell it and split it.

I have found out there is a possession and sale order next week, and I have to go and represent myself with little idea of what I am doing.

Even though I can show where I've been living, and it is easily proved she has been there (she has no need or desire to say any different) it doesnt seem to make any difference unless it is annulled...catch 22.

One side of me is almost laughing at the ridiculousness of how on earth they think they can get away with it... but another side of me is in utter despair at losing the only thing I have for the future, and the effect it would have on my children.

Any advice would be so much appreciated. Thank you.

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In what way did you inform the court?

Which court and which council?

 

If you are sure that the council have got it wrong then you need to act quickly - which you know.

 

I'm really not sure about the formally correct procedure. However, I think that you need to present yourself rather more formally than you are proposing to do on this thread.

 

I think that it will help you if you and your wife prepare separate affidavits setting out in short numbered paragraphs the facts of the situation. Included in your affidavit should be a very clear paragraph that you do not reside at the address and that you have not done since XXX date. Give your actual address and the date since which you have lived there. I think that these two essential pieces of information should be in the opening paragraphs as there may be some overall suspicion that you are [causing problems] and that you are merely attempting to avoid CT liability by claiming to be at a different address. Obtain some evidence of your actual address such as bank statements and utility bills and refer to these in your affidavit and produce them as numbered exhibits in support.

 

Your wife should do the same with bills in her name to show that she does have total responsibility for the property.

 

Include in your affidavit as exhibits, any correspondence which you have sent to the council about this matter and the fact that the correspondence has been ignored.

 

Allege in the affidavit that the Council have failed in their duties under the DPA to maintain accurate records of your personal data.

Allege in a separate paragraph that the Council have acted negligently in the conduct of your business with them and that you have suffered damage as a result.

 

You do not need any professional legal help to draft the affidavit but you will need then to get it sworn in front of a solicitor who will charge you about £5-£10 for each one.

 

It is essential that you do this. then take the original to the court and send a copy to the Council and any other parties involved.

 

You need to do this urgently so that everyone has time to know about the affidavits and to read them.

 

When you go to court, your wife should go with you.

 

Find out the name of your local councilors and send them each a letter outlining the problem and include a copy of the affidavits. make sure that your letter is short and gets to the point quickly. you don't need to go into all the detail. Keep it readable.

 

Send a similar letter to your MP. If the council is a different colour to your MP, then he/she will be very pleased to get involved. Ask the MP to intervene as the council's negligence is causing you and your wife to lose the family asset/house.

 

Complain to the IC and include in your affidavit a paragraph telling the judge that you have begun a complaint to the IC and give the reference number if you can get one. Begin your IC complaint on the phone.

 

Your affidavit should begin

 

My name is XXXXX. My address is XXXXX. This is my affidavit.

 

 

  1. para
  2. para
  3. para
  4. para

If you want to draft it out roughly and post it here, I'll help you get it roughly right.

 

 

The format for exhibits should be:-

 

par.no. - I produce in support of my statement in para.X above 2 utilities bills from British gas dated XXX and addressed to me at my home address. The said bills are attached to this affidavit and are marked EXHIBIT ONE and EXHBIT TWO.

 

Finally I think that you should begin an urgent complaint to the Local Authority Ombudsman.

The council won't like this which is just one very good reason why you should do this. try to find out the phone number of the LAO and contact them directly. they will try to get you to go through the council procedures first. Try politely to get them very exceptionally to take the complaint directly because of the urgency of the problem and the damage which you will suffer if the matter is not suspended pending an investigation.

 

I said finally, but actually my final step for the moment would be to contact the local press. Ask for the News-desk and see if they are interested in a story of a local resident being forced out of her home by the council because of council negligence. This really should be your wife's story as it is her home and it is she and the children who will be evicted.

 

Your story is merely the losing of a financial asset - not nearly so sexy.

 

 

The steps I have suggested here are roughly in an order of priority. You need to get cracking on this and make it all happen within a couple of days.


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By the way, who is paying CT in respect of your current address?


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Also, send the council a request under the Freedom of Information Act requiring that they provide you with all records, correspondence, screenshots, notes, memos in any form relating to you and to the property in question. Get you wife to send a similar one. Include with your FOI a letter from your wife giving permission for any matters relating to her to be disclosed to you and provide a similar authority to your wife. this should preempt any attempt by them to refuse you information on the grounds of confidentiality. I suggest that you use the FOI rather than an SAR because they have only 20 days to comply with the FOI request instead of 40 days for an SAR.

 

Include in your affidavit that you have made an FOI request to the council which you expect will produce evidence that they have received all the information and that they have acted negligently and in breach of the DPA in dealing with your case.


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As your wife is getting benefits would she not be able to get Legal Aid?

I know it's not her that is being made bankrupt but she will most likely have to move if they force the sale of the house.

 

So there no one in your area that does any Pro Bono work? http://www.barprobono.org.uk/

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Thank you so much for replying, I really appreciate it.

My current address is my mothers home therefore I have no utility bills, the only "official" letters I can find are from 2 different courts regarding hearings for minor motoring offences dated 2004 and 2007! Also a couple of recent ones from the OR and trustee after I'd notified them about my situation.

Also I lived in a static caravan for 2 yrs at a residential holiday complex, it belonged to a friend who let me stay there for as long as I paid the site fees which she could no longer afford, the fees included council tax.

As strange as it may sound I've had no bank account for years due to being unable to provide proof of address etc

but obviously my wife will have plenty of bills and benefit claims showing her address, and I know she is adamant that she applied and is eligible for CT benefit.

To be honest I'm not really on speaking terms with her, even when she pretended to love me she was pretty awful towards me, so when she informed me she didn't love me any sort of empathy toward each other was non existant..! the debt is clearly hers and my priority is to make the council and court to at least ask her, which they have failed to do..!

Even though I've made this clear from the start to the council, OR (in my statement) and trustee they still haven't contacted her, my research has made me aware that any 3rd party with a beneficial interest should be informed and something about a form J on the land registry..? However, I am saving that one as an emergency back up.

I'm embarrassed to admit it but I did hit emotional and financial rock bottom after splitting, I lost all motivation for my work as a self employed joiner and spent many months wandered around the country in my car, staying at camp sites, visiting friends and doing odd jobs and car boot sales to survive.. (whoops..! wrong forum.)

 

So yes, I'm partly to blame for this escalation as I buried my head in the sand and never followed up my calls to the council by going in to see them, I presumed it would get looked into and would just go away in the knowledge that at the end of the day I didn't owe it, I never for one minute thought it would go this far.

Edited by so blue
spelling!

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Well you had better start getting very pragmatic about this.

 

Supply what evidence you can. Get your mother to do an affidavit and get statements from your friends - which won't need to be affidavits but which can be referred to in your affidavit and annexed as exhbits.

 

Whatever your wife thinks, she will get her finger out if she knows that there is money at stake here.

 

If necessary, print out this thread and give her a copy.

 

Have you actually started yet?


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