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sarahsmum

Council tax liability, bailiff and arrest warrant,

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hi there,

in a bit of a duldrum, well not a bit but seems like a big mountain. will give you some background information as much as possible;

 

I am 29 year old lady, with one toddler 3 years old and currently 37 weeks pregnant. I have to admit that in the past i did commit an offence and did claim benefit for housing benefit & council tax for a short period of 9 months following separation from my daughter's father, due to mounting debts but did cancel the claim. In january 2012 i did an interview under caution where i explained what had happened.

 

This was sometime after i had cancelled the claim myself not caught out by the LA. Nonetheless, in September i was summoned before a magistrate and got a 12 month community order in November following my own admission and not wanting the matter to go through a long drawn out process(very depressing time not even proud of the fact that i did). I had stopped working the january before due to financial constraints, inability to arrive at work on time and childcare constraints, i do not even get child support from the father of my toddler despite trying all routes to get assistance, i have given up.

 

Now, the council was chasing me up for council tax, sending bailiffs, when i could, i would pay a little but not every time, being single mum on income support. My new partner was living away at the time, got pregnant and through all this time have had to deal with bailiffs. When i was summoned, it was my belief that i would also be answerable for the CT as well as part of my claim, however in mid November 2012 the lady i from the council called me and i was notified that it was only for the housing benefit alone and not the CT and therefore i had 2 liability orders with mounting bailiff charges, some of which i would just have letters thrown in through the letterbox no bailiff knock.

 

I tried to arrange for weekly payment plan through DWP, however the council refused the arrangement via DWP for money to be taken off my benefit. At that time i was starting to fall behind with rent as i was not getting full housing benefit on the property where i was living and as a result my new partner got a rental place which i moved into end of November 2012. I came off income support as he is considered to be in full time work, though his salary is all we are surviving on mostly, bless him he is working all hours godsent at the moment to keep things afloat. I still get child benefit and tax credit which i use to pay off my court fine bi-weekly and purchase food. My partner pays rent, council tax and all other household bills including purchasing the things for the baby on the way and still has to pay £560 every month in child support for his two children, so we are always out of pocket.

 

All along, i have been told, i wasn't eligible for maternity allowance as i had left my previous employment two weeks before i could qualify for entitlement, so been waiting on ESA contribution based which is a for a short time as i am pregnant and therefore cannot go on job seekers allowance till i have given birth, been tryin to arrange all this since december 2012. So not able to arrange anything even if i wanted to, i can barely get myself knickers or my toddler winter boots.

 

Two saturdays ago i got a means form from the council where i used to be under, as i have moved counties. Which i put down basically that i haven't been in employment, the CHB & CTC which i get plus mentioning my new partner's income which leaves us with nothing.The council is aware and so is the bailiff company aware of my current pregnant state, since i was at the previous address. Last year august, when i tried to arrange payment plan, they kept refusing as i caled numerous times but got insults over the phne including the fact that they could somehow not go into my council tax account as there was a pending investigation, i also filled out a means form at the time stating my financial situation.

 

Now 2013 following that means form, 3days later i had a bailiff at the door on my way to the midwife appointment, whom told me they would be back again wanting payment for a total of £1600 which i do not have, on monday i had another letter from the council wanting payment of £1450, which i cannot make out what its all about ut no deadline date of payment.

 

i have tried to contact ESA but for the last month its been back and forth with them loosing my documents. My partner can't help me financially. Today, on my new sim card which is unregistered and only had since last week following my daughter drowning my little mobile in the tub, i get a text message from the same bailiff company stating that they are referring the matter back to the council to issue an arrest warrant for comittal to prison.

 

I'm so stressed, all i have tried this last year is to find employment numerous interviews with nothing at the end or inability to commit to a post due to childcare and them wanting someone able to start work at 7am till 9pm, got pregnant unexpectedly, tried to move in with my partner and be a family but im scared what will happen to my child as all my family is abroad, the toddler's father is not in the picture and being a female child whilst also expecting another little girl im so stressed.

 

i can't do this any longer and at times feel like topping myself. Tried to contact my solicitor whom dealt with the matter since last year for advice, no response, tried citizens advice bureau got someone who wasn't helpful and wanted to keep discussing my conviction whilst my probation officer has gone off sick for the last two weeks, lord knows when she will get back. Any advice???

Edited by antone
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OK, I'm not an expert but I've always been given to understand that prison is for the 'won't pay's', not the 'can't pay's'. Someone who knows more than me will be along to help you soon enough. There are some amazing people on here who will be able to give you help and support if you take their advice.

 

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is worth feeling suicidal over. If you really feel that bad, please speak to your GP or someone at the Samaritans...this is a temporary problem, not a permanent one and it can be fixed.


"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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due to a council mix up over ct some years ago, i too was hauled into court for a 'commital to prison' after bailiffs agressively knocking and ringing etc, actually the court action was a blessing in disguise, the magistrates ordered that i pay 5 quid a week over the next few years in order to clear the arrears...personally i think you are better off attending the court, explain what has happened offer to pay what you can...they are reluctant to order a custodial sentence as it costs so much to jail someone...wouldnt worry too much these things seem so hopeless at the time but they seriously are not...

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sounds to me that the bailiff is talking BS

the sent to prison is to make you panic and pay him

as you are pregnant the bailiffs should not be involved at all

 

Prison is a long way off unless you have had two holidays each year and thousands stashed under the bed you would be considered a wont pay

 

If it was to go back to court note the IF it is possible the judge would remit part or all the debt

 

I would not rely on anything a bailiff comes out with the threat of prison is probably just that

Keep the text to drop the bailiff in it


If i have helped in any way hit my star.

any advice given is based on experience and learnt from this site :-)

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Hi sarahsmum. I haven't had the chance to read through your OP fully yet but will do so this evening. On the surface, though, I would say don't worry too much at this stage as you have a lot going for you and a few things you can do. I will come back and advise you further.

In the meantime, if this thread gets moved to the bailiff forum you'll be inundated with advice.

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I'll ask that this thread is moved to the bailiff forum as you will get technical advice there regarding bailiff fees etc etc. That isn't my forte but something you will need to pursue. I'm particularly interested in you and your pregnancy. Advanced stage of pregnancy at that.

 

There is no way that the bailiff firm (who is that by the way?) should be harassing you in your condition. Keep the threatening text and any correspondence you have sent / emailed to them.

 

You need to write to the council Head of Finance (his name will be on correspondence or their website). Explain (again, I know) that you are in an advanced stage of pregnancy and that the continued harassment by their collection agents (the bailiff) is having a detrimental affect on your health. You are also concerned about the health of your unborn child. Underline the fact that the council is aware of this (name the person you spoke to if you can). Explain that under the National Standards for Enforcement Agents you would be considered vulnerable. Reiterate that both the council and their agents have failed to comply with this etc.

Enclose your means test form together with your payment schedule (only an absolutely affordable one. You can pay council direct online). Ask that the case is taken back and that you will be paying the council direct.

Inform them that you wish this request to be dealt with as a matter of urgency and that you are prepared to make a Formal Complaint to the council CEO if necessary.

 

Copy that to the bailiff company as well.

 

You can email a copy to both but follow up with a hard copy sent by signed for.

 

I have presumed that you are no longer a single mum and live with your partner.

 

This is the link to the NSEA HERE do read it and add any examples where the bailiff has fallen short of the guidelines. 99% of bailiffs and councils have agreed to operate to this standard.It is simple - and interesting - to read through.

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and who is this disgusting bailiff from please

 

name and shame........

 

dx


..

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I do hope the Bailiff does send this back to the council, this way a better payment plan can be put in place. I doubt very much that they will put this forward for a committal, it is a very rare thing to do and in your condition they certainly wont be going down that route.

 

I would start making an on line payment for what ever you could afford to the council's on line payment facility via their website, then email them that this is what you have done and that this is what you plan on paying them until such time you can either pay more or until it has been paid off.

 

Have you checked to see that you were paying what was expected of you at the time?

 

Please dont try and worry too much, you are classed as vulnerable at the moment as you are pregnant, it is possible this is why the bailiff has handed the debt back.

 

I would like to know who the bailiff was working for though. Just the company not the name of the bailiff :) You can pm me the name of the bailiff if you wish ;)

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I do hope the Bailiff does send this back to the council ...

 

Me too. At the moment I've taken the (quite probably incorrect) view that it's a threat to intimidate payment. Either way it is a nasty and insidious way to treat a heavily pregnant expectant mother. I'd like ten minutes with that bailiff ... :boxing:

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Me too. At the moment I've taken the (quite probably incorrect) view that it's a threat to intimidate payment. Either way it is a nasty and insidious way to treat a heavily pregnant expectant mother. I'd like ten minutes with that bailiff ... :boxing:

 

You can wait behind me ;)

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sarahsmum, you have had some excellent advice from Rae and seanamarts, regarding this bailiff, you are most definitely vulnerable so to help you quote from the national Standards i will put below. I would send in the Formal Complaint to council, copy it to CEO, the elected leader, and your MP. What bailiff company is this? they should hang their heads in shame, threatening and bullying someone in the final trimester of pregnancy,

Vulnerable situations

 

 Enforcement agents/agencies and creditors must recognise that

they each have a role in ensuring that the vulnerable and socially

excluded are protected and that the recovery process includes

procedures agreed between the agent/agency and creditor about

how such situations should be dealt with. The appropriate use of

discretion is essential in every case and no amount of guidance

could cover every situation, therefore the agent has a duty to

contact the creditor and report the circumstances in situations

where there is evidence of a potential cause for concern. If

necessary, the enforcement agent will advise the creditor if further

action is appropriate. The exercise of appropriate discretion is

needed, not only to protect the debtor, but also the enforcement

agent who should avoid taking action which could lead to

accusations of inappropriate behaviour.

 

 Enforcement agents must withdraw from domestic premises if the

only person present is, or appears to be, under the age of 18; they

can ask when the debtor will be home - if appropriate.

 Enforcement agents must withdraw without making enquiries if the

only persons present are children who appear to be under the age

of 12.

 

 Wherever possible, enforcement agents should have

arrangements in place for rapidly accessing translation services

when these are needed, and provide on request information in

large print or in Braille for debtors with impaired sight.

 Those who might be potentially vulnerable include:

 the elderly;

 people with a disability;

 the seriously ill;

 the recently bereaved;

 single parent families;

pregnant women;

 unemployed people; and,

 those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or

reading English.


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Hey all,

 

Might this thread have been moved before Sarahsmum read that it was being moved? I'm just aware she hasn't replied, and her initial post sounded quite desperate. Is someone able to email/pm her to let her know?

 

(joined forum just to post this, will go back to lurking now)

 

Sarahsmum, if you are reading this... Council tax non-payment is a civil matter, not criminal. Which means bailiffs can't get you arrested because you refuse to deal with them; and for council tax, they have NO right of entry (no matter the tantrums and threats). You are under NO obligation to deal with these bullies. Keep all doors and windows LOCKED (front and back, upstairs and down). NEVER open the door to them. Do all talking through the letter box (or just ignore them). Absolutely do not let them in for anything (toilet/phone, nothing! Even if they're female themselves and claim to be pregnant, do not let them in!). Do not sign anything, even if they claim it's to say you were refusing them entry - do not sign.

 

That is the very first step, and hopefully the bare minimum of what you need to keep you safe long enough for these wonderful people here to look after you. They are fabulous and know the law inside out and back to front. I have been lurking these boards for days now (to read what I may be up against, and bailiffs dirty tricks), father in law is a judge and he is similarly impressed with the quality of information here.

 

You are legally within your rights to ignore everything they are saying to you. They CANNOT force entry, call locksmiths nor police. Nor can they add on money above a certain minimum.

 

Council, DWP, ESA, etc have treated you APPALLINGLY. And you have (in my opinion, at least) grounds to complain and sue for stress, especially if this has affected your health or that of your child (again, my opinion).

 

Oh, one last thing, if you FEEL AT ALL THREATENED call 999 and tell them you are heavily pregnant and someone is trying to break into your house.

 

Try to record as much of the bailiff nonsense on your mobile as possible, as this is all evidence to use against them. Keep all texts/letters/etc, and keep a record of all phone calls they make to you (with date, time, and bullet point any threats/intimidation/tantrums/general nonsense), or if possible record what they say.

 

And saying the words "I'm going to submit a FORM FOUR about you" may get you some leverage to get rid of them. But it also may not. They will know they are acting against professional standards and that their boss & the council are liable for their actions, further that their ability to practice as a bailiff can be revoked for what they are doing to you.

 

I know this is a lot to take in.

 

As a general summary, you are legally entitled to ignore them (and this is the most advisable course of action), keep all doors/windows locked at all times, if you feel threatened call 999 and report a burglary in action, the words "FORM FOUR". Sit tight, you are safe and the wonderful people here can talk you through the nitty-gritty of what to do and how to do it.

 

Best wishes, and please please stay in touch.

 

 

:)

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You can wait behind me ;)

 

Me too. **** of the earth bullies.

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well the op has not been back since 65mins after posting the thread

so ..

 

dx


..

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Poop on bailiffs I am sorry but I do need to correct you. Non payment of council tax is a CRIMINAL offence and NOT a civil one.

 

A lot of people on the forum are aware that I have a commercial business advising the public with regards to a bailiff visit and sadly, EVERY SINGLE DAY I hear from people that a bailiffs "parting comment" is similar to yours today.

This morning I heard of two real classics!! The first one was a voice messages left by a bailiff on the debtor’s mobile phone to say thefollowing:

 

"The Distress Warrant that I have only allows me to seize your goods and I have an appointment at xxxx Court at 9.40 on Monday to change the warrant to one that allows me to force entry. Unless you call me to pay the debt in full by 5pm I will be with you around mid morning Monday with police and a Locksmith".

 

The 2nd one was:

 

“As you have no goods of any value I will be returning the warrant to the court and asking them to issue me with a warrant for your arrest. You will need to arrange for someone to have your children because you will be kept in custody".

 

Please remember that 3.3 million Liability Orders were issued last year.This means that there are a LOT of people who cannot pay.

 

A prison sentence is of course an option for non payment of council tax BUT it must be remembered that such action may ONLY be taken by a court and in doing so, the court MUST ONLY ever impose such an order if the court are ableto prove one of the following:

 

WILFUL REFUSAL

 

CULPABLE NEGLECT

 

Believe it or not there ARE people who REFUSE to pay council tax on the basis that they do not believe that such a "tax" can be imposed. However, this is rare.

 

With "culpable neglect" it is very difficult to prove but; as an example:....if you had decided to take a holiday abroad, buy a new car, a 50" TV etc etc and in doing so neglected to pay council tax then the court COULD find against you.

 

For the above reasons, it is ALWAYS the case that anyone who cannot pay council tax MUST write to the council to OUTLINE the reason why they cannot pay and outline as well an affordable payment proposal. In that way it is clear that you are NOT "refusing" to pay.

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Poop on bailiffs I am sorry but I do need to correct you. Non payment of council tax is a CRIMINAL offence and NOT a civil one.

 

A lot of people on the forum are aware that I have a commercial business advising the public with regards to a bailiff visit and sadly, EVERY SINGLE DAY I hear from people that a bailiffs "parting comment" is similar to yours today.

This morning I heard of two real classics!! The first one was a voice messages left by a bailiff on the debtor’s mobile phone to say thefollowing:

 

"The Distress Warrant that I have only allows me to seize your goods and I have an appointment at xxxx Court at 9.40 on Monday to change the warrant to one that allows me to force entry. Unless you call me to pay the debt in full by 5pm I will be with you around mid morning Monday with police and a Locksmith".

 

The 2nd one was:

 

“As you have no goods of any value I will be returning the warrant to the court and asking them to issue me with a warrant for your arrest. You will need to arrange for someone to have your children because you will be kept in custody".

 

Please remember that 3.3 million Liability Orders were issued last year.This means that there are a LOT of people who cannot pay.

 

A prison sentence is of course an option for non payment of council tax BUT it must be remembered that such action may ONLY be taken by a court and in doing so, the court MUST ONLY ever impose such an order if the court are ableto prove one of the following:

 

WILFUL REFUSAL

 

CULPABLE NEGLECT

 

Believe it or not there ARE people who REFUSE to pay council tax on the basis that they do not believe that such a "tax" can be imposed. However, this is rare.

 

With "culpable neglect" it is very difficult to prove but; as an example:....if you had decided to take a holiday abroad, buy a new car, a 50" TV etc etc and in doing so neglected to pay council tax then the court COULD find against you.

 

For the above reasons, it is ALWAYS the case that anyone who cannot pay council tax MUST write to the council to OUTLINE the reason why they cannot pay and outline as well an affordable payment proposal. In that way it is clear that you are NOT "refusing" to pay.

 

I hope the Bailiff who left that first message is in serious trouble!


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I hope the Bailiff who left that first message is in serious trouble!

 

Caled, what is extremely worrying to me and is an obnoxious in the extreme is the scrote, for that is what the bailiff is for leaving such a message, felt it was fine and dandy to leave such a message with unlawful threats with impunity, and no fear of possible retribution for their action.


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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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It is bad enough to be leaving such awful threats but what my concern was today is that the bailiffs leaving these despicable messages are doing so without knowing the mental state of the person RECEIVING them. They would not know whether the person is young or old, sick or healthy or otherwise vulnerable.

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It is bad enough to be leaving such awful threats but what my concern was today is that the bailiffs leaving these despicable messages are doing so without knowing the mental state of the person RECEIVING them. They would not know whether the person is young or old, sick or healthy or otherwise vulnerable.

 

In which case the bailiff company, as pointed out in the past by oldbill, may well fall foul of a legal duty under Health and Safety regulations to carry out a risk assessment into the effects of enforcement against a debtor, such as OP. if they already know of a vulnerability issue like pregnancy, depression, they may well already be guilty of an offence, in OPs case the messages being prima facie evidence . Especially where there is long term mental health issues they then ignore.

 

I don't think bailiff companies would like Scope and other mental health charities to wade in against them, but this may become a possibility, when more disabled and people with long term health conditions, are put on JSA with reduced income, and have to pay at least 10% council tax from the depleted income due to cuts in council tax benefit. Bet Julie Green Jones is rubbing her hands with glee at the extra fees she can attempt to claim.

 

Sarahsmum, keep those messages and don't delete them.

Edited by brassnecked

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If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

 

The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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