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I am seeking some advice regarding unpaid council tax and bailiff action.

Without my knowledge, a liability order for £158 was made against me earlier this year. I dispute that I owe anything as I didn't move into the property let alone receive a bill from the council. The liability order was sent c/o a relative’s address where I haven’t lived for at least 15 years but the bailiffs have turned up there causing great upset.

The bailiffs are aware that I don’t live at this address but don’t know my current whereabouts.

The liability order was for £158. First bailiff letter was hand delivered on 03/09/10 with statutory notice of £24.50. The second bailiffs letter was posted on 07/09/10 with statutory notice of £42.50. A third letter which I haven’t yet seen was received last week saying I now owe £300.

I spoke to the council who told me that I have to pay the bailiffs. Is this true? I want to dispute the liability order but the council said that I can’t do this as there is no right of appeal. Can I pay the council £158 and the balance to the bailiffs or do I have the pay the bailiff’s the whole sum?

I haven’t got a clue what to do; any help would be gratefully appreciated.

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Firstly what do you mean that you have no idea the liability order was obtained against you? Did you not receive any paperwork from the council informing you they were going to obtain the liability order for non-payment or that it had been obtained - these would usually be sent to the address the bill relates to.

 

If you hadn't moved into the property then you should not be liable for tax due before the date of moving in - or do you mean you never moved into the property - if so how did the council decide you were liable for the monies owed on that property?

 

Not receiving a bill is not a reason for non-liability of council tax - all residents have the responsibility of informing the council when they move into a property so an appropriate bill can be sent out.

 

Is the address that the bailiffs are approaching the one for which the liability order has been obtained? If so they do have the right to go to that address to establish if you are there - if you have never been resident there that is another matter and again it has to be asked why the council believe you are liable for the CT at that address?

 

The maximum the bailiffs can add to you liability order is £42:50 for the first 2 visits already made - they can only add further fees if they levy against goods belonging to you (if they levy on someone else's property and this can be proved then the levy is invalid and all fees associated with it have to be removed). If the liability order (the CT owed and the court fees) is £158 then the only amount owed is £158 + £42:50 which totals £200:50.

 

If you accept that this needs paying then you can go online to the councils automated payment system and make a payment either by card or bank transfer. The council cannot refuse payments made this way and it will release you from needing to pay the bailiffs a penny - though they will try and come after you for the rest of their fees.

 

The problem with a liability order is that it is a process whereby the council establishes you are liable to pay council tax and there are a very few situations where this can be proved otherwise so they are right that there is no right of appeal against the liability order if it can be proved you were at the address between the dates being claimed by the council. I am not sure of the process if you were not at the address for the time period claimed - there are others far more knowledgeable than myself who will hopefully be along soon to help out with the thread.

 

Feebee_71

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I am seeking some advice regarding unpaid council tax and bailiff action.

 

Without my knowledge, a liability order for £158 was made against me earlier this year.

 

The Liability Order is not valid because the Council has failed to comply with the regulations when applying for it.

 

 

33.—(1) Subject to paragraph (3), before a billing authority applies for a liability order it shall serve on the person against whom the application is to be made a notice (“final notice”), which is to be in addition to any notice required to be served under Part V, and which is to state every amount in respect of which the authority is to make the application.

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/613/regulation/33/made

 

Write to the council explaining to the above, but if the council chooses not to comply with the regulations then make a formal complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

 

 

I dispute that I owe anything as I didn't move into the property let alone receive a bill from the council.

 

 

If you didnt live at the address then write to the council saying what dates you did live there and they will send you a revised bill.

 

 

The liability order was sent c/o a relative’s address where I haven’t lived for at least 15 years but the bailiffs have turned up there causing great upset.

 

 

If a bailiff turns up at a relatives address and causes trouble then video everything and ask the bailiff to leave, if he refuses to leave then call police on 999 reporting a disturbance with a supect still at the premises, and remember to continue to capure everything on video until all parties have left.

 

 

The liability order was for £158. First bailiff letter was hand delivered on 03/09/10 with statutory notice of £24.50. The second bailiffs letter was posted on 07/09/10 with statutory notice of £42.50. A third letter which I haven’t yet seen was received last week saying I now owe £300.

 

 

Sounds like the bailiff is trying to cheat you of money by secretly adding to the debt. See Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?ActiveTextDocId=2922461 and keep the original bailiffs document as evidence. The law only provides £24.50 for a 1st visit anf £18 for a 2nd visit.

 

I spoke to the council who told me that I have to pay the bailiffs. Is this true? I want to dispute the liability order but the council said that I can’t do this as there is no right of appeal.

 

 

Phone the council again and this time record the conversation then contat the Local Government Ombudsman. Make sure your recording captures the name of the council - their caveat that is played before the call is answered - calls may be recorded for staff training purposes - and when the call is answered, ask for the name of the person you are speaking to.

 

 

Can I pay the council £158

 

 

Yes, and GET A RECEIPT.

 

 

and the balance to the bailiffs or do I have the pay the bailiff’s the whole sum?

 

 

You dont owe the bailiffs anything, the Liability Order is not valid. Do not contact the bailiff, let them contact you.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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Thanks for the replies.

 

Looking at the first two letters from the bailiffs again, the £42.50 statutory notice is £24.50 for the first and £18.00 for the second so they're acting correctly on that account.

 

I took on the tenancy of a flat which remained unoccupied for 6 months. For some reason, the council only granted me a 4 month exemption. When I questioned this, they said 'that a full exemption can only be provided once. In the event that a previous council tax-payer has already exhausted this entitlement, you will only receive a 50% discount whilst the property remains empty. The previous liable party exhausted unoccupied and unfurnished entitlement covering A to B [a period of 15 days]'.

 

I am told that council tax bills, etc were served on the property after the tenancy had ended. At the time, I asked the council to correspond with me by email because I had no fixed address but they didn't.

 

I assume that the extra £100 is for the baliffs levying distress but I won't know until I see the letter.

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Sorry Feebee_71, some further information:

 

Not receiving a bill is not a reason for non-liability of council tax - all residents have the responsibility of informing the council when they move into a property so an appropriate bill can be sent out.

 

I didn't move to another property so I couldn't give the council a new address. I've said all along to the council that I am happy to pay them if it's owed.

 

Is the address that the bailiffs are approaching the one for which the liability order has been obtained? If so they do have the right to go to that address to establish if you are there - if you have never been resident there that is another matter and again it has to be asked why the council believe you are liable for the CT at that address?

 

No, it's a different address. My relatives have spoken to the bailiff and they accept that I don't live there but they expect the letters to be forwarded to me. They will continue to use that address until they trace me.

 

The maximum the bailiffs can add to you liability order is £42:50 for the first 2 visits already made - they can only add further fees if they levy against goods belonging to you (if they levy on someone else's property and this can be proved then the levy is invalid and all fees associated with it have to be removed). If the liability order (the CT owed and the court fees) is £158 then the only amount owed is £158 + £42:50 which totals £200:50.

 

I assume the second letter was posted as it was in a franked envelope. Can they still charge for this as technically it's not a visit?

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Pstaddon,

 

Thanks for the added information - it will help those more knowledgeable on these matters to advise you (think of me as the advance guard!!).

 

If the bailiffs have not entered the property or levied on items there (and from what you have added it would appear they haven't - and if they have it would be invalid as it's not your home) the maximum that can be added to the account is the £42:50 - though even this might not be allowed as they know they are communicating with an address that is not your own.

 

In one of your other threads you say you took over tenancy of the flat but didn't move in and it remained empty for 6 months. During that time what correspondence did you receive from the council?

 

On the matter of only being allowed 4 months exemption from CT I can't comment as I don't know about that side of things - there are 2 members on here (Ploddertom and Hallowitch) who are top notch with CT and I will send them a link to your thread and ask them to look in so you get good advice.

 

Hang on in there and you will get some help,

 

Feebee_71

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Thanks Feebee_71.

 

When I took on the tenancy, I received an intial bill until the end of the financial year. I notified the council by email that the property was empty and I hadn't moved in so they sent another bill for information showing nil amount owed.

 

The council then decided that I owed them 50% for about a month but I didn't receive the bill. They say that further correspondence was sent to the flat; I have no reason to doubt them but I wasn't there.

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It would appear that a previous tenant was also claiming for the dwelling being empty which is why you only received a partial exemption of 4 months. Have you established from the Council what period of time the charge covers. Before the Liability Order was granted there should have been other correspondence from the Council including a Final Demand, did you ever receive this, the chances being it was sent to the property in question. If so and the mail was not picked up is not the Council's problem unfortunately. If however they have not carried out the correct procedures then that is a different matter.

 

As for the Bailiff others have made comment about them attending a relatives address you don't live at. I agree tell them to off sod. They are allowed to enforce at any address in England or wales if they belive you live there but having been told otherwise they should now hand theis back to the Council as a "gone away". As for their charges I agree the £24-50 is possibly valid, the 2 nd Visit cannot be upheld if it has been sent by post and what appears to be a levy fee is more than likely levied against goods at your relatives address and therefore invalid unless they were yours. Your relative is under no obligation to advise them of your current whereabouts.

 

PT

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Thanks PT.

 

The council said that 'the previous liable party exhausted unoccupied and unfurnished entitlement covering 31/07/09 to 14/08/09. You have therefore been awarded maximum entitlement to this exemption covering 15/08/09 to 16/01/10'. I would have thought that the maximum 6 month exemption would have ended on 31/01/10 so can't understand why I am supposedly liable from 17/01/10.

 

I have just picked up the third letter from the bailiffs - headed notice of bailiffs attendance - where the balance outstanding has increased to £350 - an increase of some £149 since their previous notice.

 

Am I right to say that I should just pay the council the original amount outstanding (£158 plus the initial statutory fee (£24.50) or do I need to pay more? Am I liable to pay the bailiffs anything and/or can they still pursue me?

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Thanks PT.

 

The council said that 'the previous liable party exhausted unoccupied and unfurnished entitlement covering 31/07/09 to 14/08/09. You have therefore been awarded maximum entitlement to this exemption covering 15/08/09 to 16/01/10'. I would have thought that the maximum 6 month exemption would have ended on 31/01/10 so can't understand why I am supposedly liable from 17/01/10.

 

That is something you will have to ask them.

 

I have just picked up the third letter from the bailiffs - headed notice of bailiffs attendance - where the balance outstanding has increased to £350 - an increase of some £149 since their previous notice.

 

Does it tell you why?

 

Am I right to say that I should just pay the council the original amount outstanding (£158 plus the initial statutory fee (£24.50) or do I need to pay more? Am I liable to pay the bailiffs anything and/or can they still pursue me?

 

Before paying the Council you need to ask them whether they pay the Bailiffs fees first and any balance left comes off your CT. If not then just pay the £158 for now, the Bailiff is not allowed to enforce just for his fees and must go down the Small Claims route - you already have grounds for complaint on his charges so they may be reluctant to do that as they will have to justify their charges. It may well be you have to reveal your whereabouts to the Council, in which case they will pass that to the Bailiff, if that does happen then you will need to send for a breakdown of the charges they have so far applied.

 

There is no law that says you have to deal with, speak to or pay anything to a Bailiff.

 

PT

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I have just picked up the third letter from the bailiffs - headed notice of bailiffs attendance - where the balance outstanding has increased to £350 - an increase of some £149 since their previous notice.

 

Does it tell you why?

It states '...to remove my goods and chattels to discharge the debt.'

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I have just picked up the third letter from the bailiffs - headed notice of bailiffs attendance - where the balance outstanding has increased to £350 - an increase of some £149 since their previous notice.

 

Does it tell you why?

It states '...to remove my goods and chattels to discharge the debt.'

 

That's all well and good, the only problem is they have forgotten to tell you what. No Notice of Seizure (Form 7) left detailing what the have lied about levying on then tell them to Foxtrot Oscar, when they argue submit your own invoice to them for the hassle & stress you have to endure whilst researching their unlawful fees - make sure it comes to more than £50.

 

PT

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The Liability Order is not valid because the Council has failed to comply with the regulations when applying for it.

 

I agree they did not comply with the regulations, but as the order is issued judicially it will remain in force until set aside, much as a default CCJ would.

 

I believe that s.14 of the Magistrates Courts Act applies regarding making a statutory declaration to have the order set aside.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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Hi

 

I have a similar case with my council tax payment, only that I initially missed a payment in June 2010, and did not contact them, at the time I was going through a very difficult time, they sent me letters asking me to pay the lot so I filled out a form requesting to pay in instalments, usually I pay £93 amonth but when they responded I have been told to pay £241 a month which is well beyond what I can afford.

A liability order has come through requesting I pay the whole lot, i did not bother responding to them as I was hoping and looking for a way to raise the cash, in the process they have now contacted me again saying if I do not pay by the 20th Sept a bailliff will be visiting me.

I am now scared as I do not know what to do as I know I can't clear the whole £963 which they have now declared that i should pay up.

Can you please advise how I can approach the situation and sotp living in fear.

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Hi

 

I have a similar case with my council tax payment, only that I initially missed a payment in June 2010, and did not contact them, at the time I was going through a very difficult time, they sent me letters asking me to pay the lot so I filled out a form requesting to pay in instalments, usually I pay £93 amonth but when they responded I have been told to pay £241 a month which is well beyond what I can afford.

A liability order has come through requesting I pay the whole lot, i did not bother responding to them as I was hoping and looking for a way to raise the cash, in the process they have now contacted me again saying if I do not pay by the 20th Sept a bailliff will be visiting me.

I am now scared as I do not know what to do as I know I can't clear the whole £963 which they have now declared that i should pay up.

Can you please advise how I can approach the situation and sotp living in fear.

 

You will get a better response by starting your own thread.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=168

 

PT

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Before paying the Council you need to ask them whether they pay the Bailiffs fees first and any balance left comes off your CT. If not then just pay the £158 for now, the Bailiff is not allowed to enforce just for his fees and must go down the Small Claims route - you already have grounds for complaint on his charges so they may be reluctant to do that as they will have to justify their charges

I rang the council today and they said that they don't pay the bailiffs fees first. The person I spoke to volunteered to take the £158 from me - contrary to his colleagues who said that I had to pay the bailiff.

 

Do I need to pay the bailiff anything at all now i.e the statutory amount?

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Do I need to pay the bailiff anything at all now i.e the statutory amount?

 

 

I would say no as you have had no contact with the bailiff

 

a bailiff visit is to levy distress a fee of £24.50 can be charged if the 1st visit is made and no levy is gained

in your case the bailiff went to wrong address as there are no goods at that address belonging to you i don't see how he can charge you a visit fee

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