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Urgent help needed. liability order for council tax.


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I'm massively ashamed to say I've been hiding from my debts for a long time but I just received a hand delivered letter from bailiff firm goodwillie & corcoran for £3000 of unpaid council tax (2008-2010) stating that they "will call on thursday/friday before 6:00am to enforce the liability order issued against [me]you. this action can be taken in your absence if necessary."

 

I want to get this sorted but I'm afraid of dealing with the bailiffs as I am stretched to the limit financially and would only be able to repay at most £150 a month and even then I will be living on next to nothing. I am worried if i speak to them I will be forced into a repayment plan much higher whereas I know there must be ways of arranging a reasonable schedule of repayment.

 

I tried calling the council to try to arrange repayment directly but they have told me that I must deal with the bailiffs.

 

I'm really scared that they will just barge in tomorrow or friday at 6am and I don't know what to do.

 

what is the best course of action for me to take here, I'm panicking and I have a pit in my stomach the size of melon right now.

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they cant barge in they can only gain entry by peaceful means through an open window or unlocked door (keep your doors locked even when you are at home )

do not open the door to them speak to them through an upstairs window or through the letterbox

 

if you have a car do not Leave it near your house or the bailiff will levy against it

 

stopping the bailiff getting a levy is very important without a levy there is very little they can do there charges are also kept to the minimum of £42.50

 

 

don't offer to pay the debt at £150 a month if you cant afford it offer what you can afford

 

 

all councils and bailiff firms signed up to the national standards for enforcement agents they should not be threatening to come to your home before 6am

 

send this letter (by recorded delivery) to the bailiffs and your council

 

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Your Reference

 

I understand XXX Council has appointed you to recover my Council Tax Liability arrears for 200x of £xxxx.

 

Firstly I would like to make you aware that I am fully aware of my rights and you will not gain entry to my home under any circumstances to levylink3.gif goods and I know the fees allowed under statute and when these fees can be applied.

 

Due to my circumstances I am unable to pay this in one payment. I advocate a payment schedule of 24 months with 23 months payments at £xx.xx and the balance of £xx.xx to be paid on the 24th month to cover the principle. I understand this may seem a long time but this is a realistic offer that is affordable to me and will allow me to pay future bills issued for Council Tax without them falling into arrears. A greater amount would cause me real and actual hardshiplink3.gif.

 

I am able to pay the above amount on the xx of each month, as an act of good faith I have enclosed the first payment chq number xxxxxx. Please advise how you would like future payments made. My personal preference is payment by Standing Order.

 

It should be noted that I am not at any point refusing to pay this debt but only asking for a fair payment period considering my circumstances. And if you are unable to accept my offer I will place the money aside each month until such a time the council take the account back into their management, when I will make payment of the set asidelink3.gif money to the council.

 

Please also send an itemised statement of account that clearly shows what charges have been added and what for, you are required in statute to supply this information and I look forward to this within 14 days.

 

I am sending the council a copy of this letter and requesting that it be filled with my account for further reference.

 

I hope the above meets your approval and I look forward to your timely reply by letter.

 

 

Yours

Mr xxxxxx

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Thank you for the reply.

 

Sorry I should also have mentioned there are in fact 3 separate liability orders (for each year) but in the letter I got yesterday it states the total as being the sum of all three. will this impact my letter in any way should I send 3 separate letters each for a reduced amount totalling my intended repayment amount or should I modify the letter to include all three in one?

 

And one final question, I have a bike which was purchased under the cycle2work initiative that I use to get to work, I pay a monthly salary sacrifice as payment but the technicalities of the scheme is that i am only hiring the bike from my company until such time as I pay a fair market value for it after the 3 year hire term which ends in 2012. can they levy against this bike at all and if so should they catch me leaving my property with it can they levy it without gaining access to the property first?

 

in terms of gaining entry I live in a flat on the first and second floor of a 3 storey building, I share a front door with the ground floor flat and my front door is in the ground floor hallway. what impact does this have on them trying to gain access? If I open the front door to the property does that class as giving them access if my flat door is closed? also are they allowed to access my flat through the front windows on the first floor if they have not previously entered the property at my behest if the windows are shut (but poss. not locked)?

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Thank you for the reply.

 

Sorry I should also have mentioned there are in fact 3 separate liability orders (for each year) but in the letter I got yesterday it states the total as being the sum of all three. will this impact my letter in any way should I send 3 separate letters each for a reduced amount totalling my intended repayment amount or should I modify the letter to include all three in one?

 

you only need to send one letter the bailiffs have done this property

when collecting more than one liability order all liability's are lumped together and treated as one debt

 

And one final question, I have a bike which was purchased under the cycle2work initiative that I use to get to work, I pay a monthly salary sacrifice as payment but the technicalities of the scheme is that i am only hiring the bike from my company until such time as I pay a fair market value for it after the 3 year hire term which ends in 2012. can they levy against this bike at all and if so should they catch me leaving my property with it can they levy it without gaining access to the property first?

 

No they cant levy on this as it does not belong to you having said that the bailiff does not know the circumstances of purchase and have a right to levy against it until you provide proof the bike is on hire

If we are talking about a push bike then they would need to levy more than the bike to make the levy valid

 

in terms of gaining entry I live in a flat on the first and second floor of a 3 storey building, I share a front door with the ground floor flat and my front door is in the ground floor hallway. what impact does this have on them trying to gain access?

none they have to gain entry into your home through your front door

 

If I open the front door to the property does that class as giving them access if my flat door is closed?

 

no they cant push past you to gain entry (it does happen this and the foot over the threshold) it is always advised not to open the door to them

also are they allowed to access my flat through the front windows on the first floor if they have not previously entered the property at my behest if the windows are shut (but poss. not locked)?

 

if your window is closed but not locked they cant gain entry either it would have to be open allowing them to climb in

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thanks again. that's very helpful and certainly helps put my mind at rest. I do however notice they have already added a 1st visitation fee separately to each of the liability orders even though they were hand delivered in the same envelope, is this something worth noting (even if only for future reference).

 

and just to clarify further, the entrance door into the building (that leads to a communal hallway) by coming inside this door does this count as them gaining access to the property or do they have to have to gain access over the threshold of my flat itself (the second locked door inside the building's hallway which has my flat number fixed to it). I'm worried the downstairs neighbour could let them in the first door but obviously the second door (my flat door) would be locked.

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thanks again. that's very helpful and certainly helps put my mind at rest. I do however notice they have already added a 1st visitation fee separately to each of the liability orders even though they were hand delivered in the same envelope, is this something worth noting (even if only for future reference).

worth noting for future reference yes

 

Detailed Assessment Judgment of Throssell v Leeds City Council where the District Judge ruled as follows:

“Turning to the taxation it seems to me that notwithstanding the fact that there were three liability orders but one visit was made by one bailifflink3.giflink3.gif and the maximum that the Council’s reasonable charges can be is the result of applying the formula contained in Schedule 5 paragraph 2 (1) (b) of the Regulations”

 

they cannot charge so many fees if only one visit is made

 

 

 

 

and just to clarify further, the entrance door into the building (that leads to a communal hallway) by coming inside this door does this count as them gaining access to the property

NO

 

 

or do they have to have to gain access over the threshold of my flat itself (the second locked door inside the building's hallway which has my flat number fixed to it). I'm worried the downstairs neighbour could let them in the first door but obviously the second door (my flat door) would be locked.

 

yes they would have gain entry through your flat door

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Although it doesn't stop the Bailiff coming to your door, you can start to pay the Council direct through their website or via the automated phone line. If you do this make sure you pay a regular amount on a regular basis - £10 per week every Thursday as an example. This then proves you are not wilfully refusing to pay.

 

PT

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