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Hello everyone,

 

Recently I have received a coucil tax notice from the southhwark council from 2006 amount is £200. Then received another bill for my name and the other tenants name the amount of £500 in total. Now I have received a Bailiff notice demanding £500. :???:

I never received any court order or letters before, usually I rent studios with all bills inc. so it was never a headache for me.

I'm really new to this and don't know what to do. I have emailed the council with the ref saying I was a sub tenant renting a room at that time. Lived there for 8 months only and the utility bill should be paid by the landlord. The landlord was my employer as well and used to take the rent from my wage directly.

I just don't know what shall I do? Some documents are lost due to moving around. So how can I prove that it was not only me who should pay the council tax?

Please I would appreciate any advices.

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nothing to gain by signing anything for bailiffs or having anything to do with them -plenty to lose by signing

 

the bad news is

disputing a magistrate's liability order for council tax

[is designed to be &] may be difficult

 

however you might swiftly get the order recalled by the council from the bailiffs as follows

 

did you get a letter warning you the liability order hearing was about to happen?

[known as a 14 day notice]

 

If not you do have grounds for a service complaint to the local taxation services

 

"This service user did not receive the 14 day notice. While accepting the local taxation services may have met their minimum statutory obligation in this regard, that this service user in this instance did not receive such advance notice, nor had any opportunity to reach settlement at that stage, represents a shortfall from the standards of the council's aspirational statutory obligations, inasmuch as they would prefer to provide service users with such advance notice prior to litigation.

 

Kindly ensure further enforcement activity is suspended pending resolution of this complaint, which would be facilitated by recalling the debt from enforcement."

 

send Royal Mail recorded delivery - keep the track n trace number

then if [when!] you get another bailiffs threat - try to laugh - not easy I know - you have grounds for the next complaint stage

this is basically a "kick to the long grass" - the complaints process is multistage & gives you breathing space

to discover your options [very many] & get a plan

without being under imminent threat

 

check out the national debtline website, download all the factsheets you want

lots of facts, lots of options -

 

your best hope to clear it may be some kind of vulnerability waiver - got vulnerability?

[citizens advice bureau can give details - or just a few threads down is a cag response with good stuff]

 

Q. Date of the liability order? [me being nosy]

although it is a factor - do check out my thread if you have the time

 

if, after considering your options, you decide to settle, my advice is to negotiate tough

start offer at £5 per month, & only get haggled upwards a little

[one of the private companies involved is capita, they collect tv licence, & the installment plan for tvl is £12 per month

so they're geared for such a low repayment rate]

pay by post, after the council agree to provide receipts, by post, to acknowledge each installment

[see my own thread for how this works out]

my advice is based on an ongoing dispute - I hit a council with a stage 1 complaint - they recalled the debt from bailiffs

 

good luck

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Thank you for your post thebeyond,

I didn't receive any 14 day notice, because I have moved around. So is it still valid if they sent a such letter but I haven't received it?

How do I explain them that even if I would pay it would be only my share of the bill?

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It should be stated on your tenancy agreement

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Thank you for your post thebeyond,

I didn't receive any 14 day notice, because I have moved around. So is it still valid if they sent a such letter but I haven't received it?

How do I explain them that even if I would pay it would be only my share of the bill?

 

that is the question I was trying to answer

when I wrote that it would be difficult to dispute

 

I am not saying that it is fair

Magistrate's courts liability orders for council tax were introduced in 2002 [i think]

 

Many of the threads in this forum are about instances like yours and mine

where no advance notice of the magistrate's hearing is received

 

-the magistrate is bound by the council tax liability order rules

and will have had to see enough evidence to persuade them that you ARE

a suitable candidate for them to determine you to be "liable" and order the liability

 

if you [or I, or the other thread-authors] HAD received the 14 day notice

we might then have made a representation at the hearing

[eg a reasonable offer, or more information]

and the liability might have not been ordered

 

[what evidence was considered? hard to say, they are, reasonably enough, evasive about their

information collection - but ANY information you give to ANY council, say, when filling in an

application for housing, detailing previous addresses, is one possible source -

that you sign "to the best of your recollection", and the court takes this as gospel, without

you present to explain more detail, might not be fair - I do not consider it fair, but that

is just my [amateur] opinion - the magistrate's opinion is the one that counts, and

"fairness" is not their primary business, their rules are; fairness is judged by the people,

in the parliamentary elections to hire or fire the law-makers]

 

the council tax service [still at Croydon?] MIGHT listen to your pleas, but please do not

hold your breath - they have a magistrate's liability order & making mincemeat out of

people's lives this way is something they do, week in, week out

 

the council complaints process is multistage, however,

typically the 3rd complaint, assuming you are not happy/satisfied by the responses to the 1st

2, is to actual council employees, independent of the local taxation services company -

but still that liability order is likely to be very persuasive

 

[additionally it is Southwark council, & I can only scream "eeeeek!"

one night, between the old kent rd & the river I saw a fox running, followed by a dog,

followed by a bicycle! no joke, illegal urban fox hunting - no-one in the council knew? what

do you think? - an area best avoided by anyone with the option, I suggest]

 

At any point you can try referring the matter to the local government ombudsman [will not

reflect badly on you], who are based at Coventry - they will log the complaint, give you a

case number, but are unlikely to go further until you have exhausted the council's own

multistage complaints process

 

I hope this information helps - sorry to not have better news

summarising - the magistrate saw enough, and did what the rules dictate

 

my [amateur] advice is to get a plan

stop the bailiff nonsense

make a careful diary of what happens,

do your research,

& play for time

[there is a local government bill going through parliament now,

and it is POSSIBLE, that this might resolve matters in our favour]

 

[of course, if you are rich, you could just hire a lawyer, and do us all a favour, by testing

this [in my amateur opinion] DREADFUL set of laws in a court, magistrate's & higher]

 

do research "vulnerability" - in certain circumstances even just being unemployed can count

as being vulnerable, and the council CAN [i don't say they will] waive the debt, and release

the ordered liability, say, on grounds of hardship

 

p.s. in a council's multistage complaints process, your, say, 2nd complaint, is based on not

being satisfied with the response to the 1st, but need not be ONLY a repetition of the 1st

complaint - more & better grounds might reveal themselves to you as the process unfolds - for

example, if bailiffs send you a letter AFTER the council have received your complaint, then

you can include this as an "aggravating factor" in subsequent appeals to complaints process

stages

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Recently I have received a coucil tax notice from the southhwark council from 2006 amount is £200. Then received another bill for my name and the other tenants name the amount of £500 in total.

 

Now I have received a Bailiff notice demanding £500. :???:

 

The law prescribing bailiffs fees for collecting unpaid council tax is the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 and provides £24.50 for a first visit. If a bailiff defrauds you with his fees, he commits an arrestable offence under Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. It is called fraud by false representation.

 

I never received any court order or letters before, usually I rent studios with all bills inc. so it was never a headache for me.

 

The law says the council must send you a "final notice" or a "reminder" by post to your current address before making an application to a magistrate for a Liability order against you. As there is compelling evidence the council failed to do this, you can ask the council to roll the case back to pre-liability order stage and cease enforcement action immediately.

 

The law is Section 33(3) and 34(1) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/613/regulation/33/made

 

Contact the council and ask them to comply with Regulation 33(3) and 34(1), but if they are unwilling to do so, then you have a right to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to intervene. You can even ask for compensation, the award of this type of non-compliance by a council is typically about £100 per instance. Awards can be more if you have already received a bailiff or paid a sum of money to one.

 

Also, contact your local councillor and get him on side.

 

 

 

 

So how can I prove that it was not only me who should pay the council tax?

 

You write to the council and tell them you didnt live there, they will close the case.


Professional property investor and conveyancer

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