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Rossendales and Council Tax from 2005

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Please could someone help clear the fog in my mind about this problem. My husband rec'd a letter on Friday (letter dated 23/09/10) from Rossendales regarding a LO from Dec 2005 concerning £56x.xx council tax. We have no memory of this LO, nor do we have any knowledge of this debt, although we did live in the property concerned at the time. I called the council concerned (we now live in a different area of the country) and the person I spoke to said that she could see no money outstanding from this period for either of us (the Council Tax changed from my husbands name to mine whilst at the property as we separated for a while) and that she would send me a statement of our account for the whole period that we lived there - I have not rec'd this yet. I also said that I would scan the Rossendales letter and send it to her so that the council could contact them and tell them that there is no debt. I duly sent the email with the scan attached.


This morning I have rec'd an email from the council informing me that they will not discuss this with me as I am not named on the LO (perfectly understandable - the woman I spoke to Friday probably shouldn't have discussed it with me either!) but that if I know my husbands whereabouts to inform him that he needs to discuss repayment of the debt with Rossendales. He has no knowledge of this debt and I was told Friday that there was no money outstanding.


OK - the letter from Rossendales is entitled 'Information Preliminary to Distress' so I assume this is their 'we're coming in 14 days' notification.


1. I am going to get my husband to call the council concerned today to find out what is going on there. Aside from 'do we owe this money', what else does he need to say to them? If we do owe it, which I doubt as I'm sure I wouldn't forget nearly £600, how do we get the council to take it back or can they refuse to take it back?


2. Depending on the answer above, if the council refuse to take it, should I send the letter in post #1 of the 'Council Tax and Baliffs' sticky to Rossendales?


3. If these people turn up at my door, can they place a levy on things they can see? Could they peek over the garden fence and levy the childrens bikes for instance?


4. Please someone tell me the best course of action. I know my husband needs to talk to the council first, but I'd really like to know the answers to the various scenarios too so that I am prepared for action!


I'm currently bouncing between indignation and panic (and wonder that I could forget a debt like this - even though I'm sure I haven't! I really have absolutely no recognition of this at all, although I admit that our finances were shot at the time and it's possible but still unlikely.)


Thank you :)




Further to the above, my husband has now spoken to the council who say we DO owe this money. They say they cannot refuse a payment, but they also cannot agree a payment plan with us, they can only accept full outstanding payment. We do not have this - please can I have some help sorting this out? As we cannot pay the full amount, does a payment plan HAVE to be set up with rossendales or can we pay a token amount using the councils online facility and write to them suggesting an appropriate amount to pay (as per the letter mentioned above).


How on earth did I forget this and what else have I forgotten? Panic is now setting in regarding everything I have read about rossendales.


many thanks

Edited by CB1974
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1. Before you call, work out what dates you lived at the address. If the council has charged for time you did not live there then ask for an amended bill. Just ask the council to take the case back to council administration because they did not follow Reg 33 (1) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 by sending a Final Notice to you at your current address. If the council says they did send you one then ask they send a proof of posting and they see Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978, this is because contary intention does appear by the fact you have changed address.





2.I f the council does not cooperate then make a formal complaint for failure to comply with regulations then contact the Local Government Ombudsman. Do not contact a bailiff, they are only interested in getting their fee out of you, and its not lawfully due unless the council had properly followed regulations.


3. Yes, but they are not supposed to levy on goods that are not yours, they usually will and ask you to provide receipts etc. its all rather vesatious.


4. Speak to the council, determine whether anything is due and if yes, how much and pay it by credit card there and then. The case is then settled and the bailiffs matter is put to bed.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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1. I know they have the dates right as the lady who told me we owed nothing had the exact dates and read them out to me (although whether I trust her is something else!). However, I KNOW they have our current address as our final bill (edit to add: for the year 2006/7 which was in my name by then) came here and we paid it from here and they sent a receipt. I should imagine an SAR will prove this. This is definitely the first time we have heard about this since we lived here (3.5 years now).


2. I'm trying really hard to find a way out of this that doesn't involve Rossendales at all. I have no intention of contacting them unless totally, completely and absolutely necessary!


3. Surely the children bikes belong to my husband and I by default. What about his works van? He works for a huge national property maintenance company and the van is emblazoned with their name and logo and contains his tools - would they levy this just to be difficult given that it's obvious it doesn't belong to him?


4. We are working on ways of getting this sorted before the end of next week - on a never say never basis I am hoping to pay it off in full to the council, preferably without using credit cards but if needs must as a last resort we may take this approach.


Thank you for your help. My mind is fog at the moment, but I am going to read and digest as much as I can before he comes home tonight and then we can decide on a course of action to get this resolved.


Out of interest, if we make a reasonable payment to the council and then write saying we intend to pay that much each month until the debt is cleared, so long as it is a reasonable amount (ie not £0.83!) then surely I am not refusing to pay and the bailiff is redundant...........I know rossendales wouldn't see it like that but surely on paper that would be so?

Edited by CB1974
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Just a quick note they can't levy in your husbands van. The levy also needs to be reasonable so if they levy on your childrens bike unless they are custom bikes worth more than £600 it will make the levy invalid.

My respect to people who post regularly and help people out on here. Without your help alot of wrongs would have been committed.

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1. You don’t need a SAR because you are not asking for personal information they hold about you. I don’t think Local Government bodies are required to comply with a SAR anyway, these are served on a private companies whose data controller is registered with ICO. Just ask how much the liability is and how they have calculated it and ask again in writing.


2. I wouldn’t worry about Rossendales, they employ 19 year old jobless no-brainers as bailiffs anyway. Just ask them to leave and contact the council if they turn up. Call police on 999 if they refuse to leave or start causing a disturbance. Never open he door to a bailiff.


3. They should only levy on goods belonging to the person named on the Liability order, but they tend to levy on anything, I know a case a neigbours car was levied and the bailiffs and a police officer (for concealing the crime under a pretence it was a civil matter) later paid the price. Reading your post, the Liability Order is probably invalid because it’s not compliant with Reg 33 above.


4. Use a credit card, if the council has made a false representation then you can do a clawback.


If you want to make a reasonable amount then its something you can afford and nothing more. Keep everything in writing for your records until this matter is resolved.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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