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doodle123

bailiff returning tomorrow what should I do **Resolved - all fees & charges dropped**

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Had 285.89 outstanding on this year's council tax which I paid online to council this morning.

 

Got home to find hand posted bailiff letter demanding 661 + 75 + 235 stating they will call again at 6am Saturday

 

I have emailed council requesting they call off bailiff ASAP as paid. But considering bailiffs figures are out of date guessing communications are poor and they may call back

 

What can I do? Do I owe bailiff 310....which is greater than what I owed the council!?

 

Help much appreciated as very concerned

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Had you already received a letter from the bailffs -called a Notice of Enforcement? If yes how long ago did you get it? If no, have you another address that the letter might have gone to?

 

The council should inform their bailiff that you have paid the £285.89 but it may be that you still owe the bailiff some fees for whichn they may call round tomorrow.

Do not answer the door, definitely DO NOt let them in to your property [which will incur more fees] and move your car [if you have one] so they cannot clamp it.

 

Check with the Council to see if they have called off the bailiffs or if they think you still owe them something. If the latterthen come back here for further advice

and please answer the question I asked at the start of this post..

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I did previously get a letter in the post notice of enforcement dated 17/09/2014

 

Due to change of circumstances we notified council who suspended any benefits for over 2 months whilst they reviewed it. During that time we were expected to pay full rent which we simply couldn't. Due to the time scales arrears rose and they threatened repossession so we had to start paying full rent. We have just been awarded full housing benefit.

 

Trying to pay everything has been a struggle and I paid the council tax as soon as possible but really can't raise another £310!

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Did you respond to the Notice of Enforcement? If no then it looks as if the Enforcement Fee of £235 has been correctly applied.


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Was £661 the original sum owed to the Council on the Liability Order? If so it suggests the Council have not been notifying their contractors of your payments.


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No I didn't reply to letter, I wrongly thought it was best not to communicate with bailiffs :(

 

Yes £661 was original liability

 

So I have to pay bailiffs £310 for 1 letter and a knock on the door?

 

Can they gain entry to enforce that?

 

All advice greatly appreciated and thank you for replies so far. I'm still in shock how charges can be more than the debt owed, how on earth did this legislation get approval!?

Edited by doodle123

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Yes, the fees are legitimately chargeable for your debt. You need to contact the council and tell them what has happened, and that information about your payment has not been passed on to the EA - it is for this very reason the Notice of Enforcement states to pay the EA directly.

 

Even if you have cleared the debt, you are still liable for the bailiff fees I'm afraid. The Compliance Stage Fee of £75 will be paid directly to the enforcement company, then the remainder will be split pro rata between EA company and the council, thus leaving a debt owing to both EA's and the council.

 

Sadly you may be in shock, but if you had not ignored the NOE, you would not be in this position now. I know that is harsh for you, but it is reality.

Edited by Coughdrop
Change prop rata to pro rata

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The changes in amounts were not due to payments directly to council but change of circumstances which was due to fulol benefit being granted.

 

The only amount paid directly to council was the full amount once the council had dealt with claim which took them 2/3 months as they kept asking for more info which I sent resulting in a letter each time saying claims were taking a month to look at.

 

During this time we were financially unable to pay full amount, hence granted full benefit eventually. However, whilst they processed it they sent to court and bailiff which even if fees are legitimate I feel is very wrong.

 

Hey Ho guess I just need to deal with this mess that's remaining.

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The changes in amounts were not due to payments directly to council but change of circumstances which was due to fulol benefit being granted.

 

The only amount paid directly to council was the full amount once the council had dealt with claim which took them 2/3 months as they kept asking for more info which I sent resulting in a letter each time saying claims were taking a month to look at.

 

During this time we were financially unable to pay full amount, hence granted full benefit eventually. However, whilst they processed it they sent to court and bailiff which even if fees are legitimate I feel is very wrong.

 

Hey Ho guess I just need to deal with this mess that's remaining.

 

Obtaining a Liability Order...

"
Similarly, the existence of an outstanding or disputed claim for council tax benefit is not a valid defence against the issue of a liability order, but an authority would not normally proceed while a benefit claim was unresolved, unless it was made after the issue of the summons (R v Bristol City Magistrates Court and Bristol City Council ex parte Willsman and Young 1991)
.

 

EDIT:

 

LGO Decisions

 

EDIT 2:

 

Paragraph 3.11 (the Council Tax Practice Note No. 9):

"
3
.
11
A liability order may be made notwithstanding that the taxpayer is disputing the amount of council tax benefit which has been awarded or the fact that council tax benefit has been disallowed. The billing authority should, however, as a matter of best practice check that there is no outstanding benefit claim and refrain from taking enforcement action where such bona fide benefit claims have been received and are unresolved. However, if a claim is received after a summons has been issued or on the day of the hearing, then authorities should proceed to the liability order stage but give an undertaking to the claimant not to enforce the liability order until the claim has been dealt with.

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The changes in amounts were not due to payments directly to council but change of circumstances which was due to fulol benefit being granted.

 

The only amount paid directly to council was the full amount once the council had dealt with claim which took them 2/3 months as they kept asking for more info which I sent resulting in a letter each time saying claims were taking a month to look at.

 

During this time we were financially unable to pay full amount, hence granted full benefit eventually. However, whilst they processed it they sent to court and bailiff which even if fees are legitimate I feel is very wrong.

 

Hey Ho guess I just need to deal with this mess that's remaining.

 

OK, thank you for correcting me - I'd misread it slightly in the early hours for which I apologise.

 

Unfortunately it doesn't change the position. The council has the right to proceed with enforcement even if legitimate issues are unresolved. IMO, they should wait until such time as they are resolved to continue enforcement activity, but many don't. I have not read outlawla's LGO decisions yet, as I wanted to apologise first. However, in order to go to the LGO you would be expected to exhaust all other avenues first normally.

 

Good practice is just that, it is not law, and so the LA's have something behind which they can hide - the legislation.

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Ok..contacted council via email Friday but had no reply yet.

 

I have also contacted my MP who has agreed to make representations on my behalf.

 

Whilst I appreciate that while any claims are unresolved regarding benefits i should pay, however, it took 3 months to resolve. I was totally unable to pay full rent/ council tax during that whole period. Therefore, rightly or wrongly I paid as much rent as humanly possible as they were threatening repossession. I could not pay all the council tax as well. I have made these issues my priority and have no other debts anyway. I certainly agree it must be good practice to restrict enforcement action where appropriate on an individual basis.

 

Considering the thread has had over 700 views I can only imagine others face the same issues.

 

Can someone please advice when this could esculate from Stage 2 to stage 3 and what could happen in the meantime?

 

thanks in advance

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The council have emailed confirming that the years liability is cleared and they have told the enforcement agency.

 

They state the agency "may" still call to collect fees.

 

Can someone please advice what powers the enforcement agency have to collect fees with no debt? As I can't find the information.

 

Thank you

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Considering the thread has had over 700 views I can only imagine others face the same issues.

 

In fact this thread has now received just over 1,000 views (1012) and whilst you are correct that many people have the same problem as you (paying a local authority direct without paying the bailiff fees) the sad fact is that this subject is a big 'thorn in the side' to 'debt avoidance' websites...many of which have associations with the 'Freeman on the Land' (and other) such movements and unfortunately, whenever this subject is raised on the forum a regular 'pattern' emerges:

 

A 'new poster' will commonly start posting on the forum to seek to be disruptive and that poster will many times be quickly followed by yet another 'new poster' ( known in internet terms as a 'sock puppet') seeking to 'support' the views of new poster. The poster or both of them are common everyday internet 'trolls'.

 

http://www.webroot.com/gb/en/home/resources/tips/pc-security/you-cant-win-an-argument-with-a-troll

 

Invariably the thread will become very argumentative and will very likely lead to the 'trolls' being banned and Moderators 'locking' the thread.

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Invariably the thread will become very argumentative and will very likely lead to the 'trolls' being banned and Moderators 'locking' the thread.

 

An excellent example is the following thread where your scenario was outlined in detail:

 

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?433424-Ministry-of-Justice-explain-why-the-Compliance-Fee-of-£75-is-deducted-first.

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Sorry I don't understand I'm not trying to be a troll, argue or avoid fees. Just trying to understand.

 

I had issues many years ago with council tax, I should have learnt my lesson I know!

 

when I got the enforcement notice I was unaware of the changes and dismissed it wrongly thinking the amounts were wrong and invalid, I should have got advice sooner.

 

However, due to personal circumstances I was unable to pay everything.

 

I was not trying to avoid fees or debt at all.

 

I was expecting council to say I still owed xxx due to fees, however, they said debt cleared. HENCE I really wanted to understand what happens now and legally what's what. Answers that I have been unable to resolve.

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Sorry I don't understand I'm not trying to be a troll, argue or avoid fees. Just trying to understand..

 

Please..I was not in any way inferring that you could be a 'troll'. Was I was trying to say was that this particular subject is one that is of huge concern to some individuals and that was shown in the link that I posted earlier and in fact, features in many other threads over the past few months whenever the subject of debtors paying the local authority or magistrate court direct crops up on this forum.

 

I will address your actual situation later this evening.

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Ok, sorry if I misunderstood you.....I'm not even sure I what being a troll or sock puppet or many of the things mentioned in the thread involves or is ....

 

Thank you for you time in this matter

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Due to council error I am now due a refund from the council, which makes me more annoyed that they sent this case to enforcement agency.

 

I have had a letter, notice of intention to take control of goods, delivered today requesting their fees.

 

I have never been here to answer door, I lease my car for business and husbands is a commercial vehicle for work.

 

I am disputing the council's actions, but I still need to know what else I can do in the meantime.

 

very concerned still

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Ok so current situation is this. ....

 

keep getting letters ......removal warning, mainly via post not by hand......although they have never entered property

 

My local MP has contacted councils financial director, but we had no replies.

 

Therefore, MP has said he will support me in submitting a complaint.

 

How are charges for court fees and bailiffs fair when at the end of all this we overpaid council and they are sending us a refund!

 

Should I speak to bailiff to let them know what's happening with council?

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I suspect that you went into arrears on your council tax payments and the council sent it off for enforcement before you paid the tax liability for the year.

 

I am not sure what the rules are with council tax e.g when are councils allowed to take enforcement actions. I don't believe there is a consistent approach and therefore there may not be rules specifying at what stage a council may pass a debt to an enforcement company.

 

It may be a good idea to inform the Enforcement company that you are now in dispute with the council, as your MP is involved with the council about mistakes made. e.g the council has been paid in full for the year, in fact they have issued a refund for overpayment. So the enforcement company should contact the council for an update from them or risk being drawn into the complaint. It may be an idea to speak to them and follow up in writing. Don't just phone them and not write.


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In the meantime do not let them it your property under any circumstances nor leave your car nearby.

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Matter is finally resolved.

 

Thankfully council agreed that case should never have gone to court or sent to enforcement agency.

 

All enforcement fees now void and case returned to council.

 

Also court fees from liability order being refunded to me.

 

Best possible outcome, very relieved. ....

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Very pleased to hear this, I bet you are relieved. I've amended your thread title.


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Matter is finally resolved.

 

Thankfully council agreed that case should never have gone to court or sent to enforcement agency.

 

All enforcement fees now void and case returned to council.

 

Also court fees from liability order being refunded to me.

 

Best possible outcome, very relieved. ....

 

A very stressful month for you but what an excellent outcome.

 

I am sure that I speak for all of us on the forum by saying thank you for coming back to let us know the eventual outcome.

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