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Hi,

 

Just had a friend of mine on the phone in tears as a Bailiff has been to her address regarding Council Tax arrears.

She did let them in her house, and they are saying they will be back tomorrow to remove items unless £250 is paid today.

 

Her partner left her early this year with 2 children and she looks after her other child part time which receives DLA, she claims Housing and Council Tax benefits. This seems to be from last year.

She had made an arrangement with the council to pay her arrears and was doing at £20 per month, but in the upheaval missed a couple of months.

 

There are very few items of value in house, and she no longer has a car.

 

Any advice on how to proceed who be very helpful.

 

Thanks

 

JJ

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Hi, thanks for getting back to me.

 

1. No she didn't sign anything.

2. She doesn't work and is solely on benefits.

3. It was just in her name.

 

She is worried that the bailiff will come and take her items. The only thing of value in the house is a TV. All the other items are normal house items like sofa, cooker and beds.

 

Thanks

 

JJ

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Bailiffs can't take items she needs to be able to live and items not enough to cover the debt. That is the reason for no controlled goods agreement being signed, as there was nothing to be noted on such a document. They are just trying to harass her into borrowing the money from family and friends which she should not do.

 

Suggest she contacts the council and bailiff head office to make a formal complaint. She needs to go through a welfare assessment and the bailiff company should have a welfare team to assess best way forward. This might be a small sum deducted from benefit income.

We could do with some help from you.

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A bailiff essentially lying to get money is the problem of the bailiff company... AND the council

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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There is no need whatsoever to complain to the bailiff company as they have done nothing wrong. The complaint (if there is need to complain) should be to the council, pending the outcome of what happens today. I would add that it's pointless speaking with anyone on the help desk as they won't be able to tell you anything. You need to speak directly with the recovery department and preferably the manager there.

 

Agents that visited should have referred it back, after discovering the circumstances. Instead they choose to try to use pressure to get the person to find money. They should have advised that there was no goods of value to be taken and by not being truthful they left a person fearing another visit.

We could do with some help from you.

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Hi,

 

Just had a friend of mine on the phone in tears as a Bailiff has been to her address regarding Council Tax arrears.

She did let them in her house, and they are saying they will be back tomorrow to remove items unless £250 is paid today.

 

Her partner left her early this year with 2 children and she looks after her other child part time which receives DLA, she claims Housing and Council Tax benefits. This seems to be from last year.

She had made an arrangement with the council to pay her arrears and was doing at £20 per month, but in the upheaval missed a couple of months.

 

JJ

 

Good morning JJ,

 

It's such a shame that your friend had defaulted on a very sensible payment arrangment (of £20 per month) with the council but the low amount does seem to demonstrate that the council recognises your friend's poor financial position. This might assist her when calling the council.

 

The bailiff managed to gain entry into her property without much problem and most importantly, left the house without taking the opportunity to get your friend to enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement. This is a clear indication that the bailiff recognises that your friend has little or no goods worth taking control of. That is a very good sign.

 

Has your friend revealed to you the amount that she owes to the council?

 

You mentioned that your friend's partner left her 'early this year'. If he left her before April, then your friend should speak with the council as her council tax debt would need to be adjusted to take effect of her single person discount.

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Hi, thanks for all the advice.

I am with my friend now and it seems she got confused.

She had been making payment that she thought was coming off here bill but this was for this years and not last year.

Another thing is she has been diagnosed with mental issues including General Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression that she is receiving help for.

My first port of call I think is speak to the council and see what they are going to do before speaking to the bailiff

 

Thanks again

 

JJ

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If your friend is classed as vulnerable under the national standards, then the council has no choice but to call off the bailiffs . However, FULL proof needs to be sent to the council/bailiffs otherwise they will continue.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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Another thing is she has been diagnosed with mental issues including General Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression that she is receiving help for.

 

JJ, thank you for updating the thread.

 

Your friend's vulnerability may not lead to the council recalling the account from the enforcement company. Many councils are content for cases to remain with the enforcement company and to be administered by their relevant Welfare Departments. That's not to say that your friend should not request that consideration be given to recalling the warrant.

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Hi, finally spoke to the council and enforcement team.

They are saying that there is no plan in force for dealing with vulnerable people but he will stop enforcement whilst they send out a income - expenditure form for her to fill out and send back to them.

 

Will update once it has all been filled out and sent back.

 

Thanks again for all the advice

 

JJ

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Hi, finally spoke to the council and enforcement team.

They are saying that there is no plan in force for dealing with vulnerable people but he will stop enforcement whilst they send out a income - expenditure form for her to fill out and send back to them.

 

Will update once it has all been filled out and sent back.

 

Thanks again for all the advice

 

JJ

 

The response from the council sounds very positive. Please mention to your friend about the Single Person Discount as this will entitle her to a discount of 25% off her council tax bill and, depending on when her partner left, may well enable the council to reduce the Liability Order that the bailiff is currently enforcing.

 

It may be the case that the council consider an attachment against her benefits to be the best route going foward but there are many points for the council to consider before making such a decision.

 

PS: Thank you for updating the thread and please continue to do so.

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###Vulnerability for the purpose of enforcement would mean that a person is not able to manage their own financial affairs.##

 

 

My understanding is a vulnerable person is anyone described in the National Standards guidelines para.77.

 

A vulnerable person for enforcement can manage their affairs, an unemployed person, pregnant.

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My understanding is a vulnerable person is anyone described in the National Standards guidelines para.77.

 

A vulnerable person for enforcement can manage their affairs, an unemployed person, pregnant.

 

I have written extensively on the subject of 'vulnerability' since 2014 when the Taking Control of Goods Regulations came into effect. Since that time, I have also updated the forum with important decisions made by the Local Government Ombudsman. The following decision is a good example and concerns the subject of 'vulnerability' with the debtor being a 'single parent'.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?476570-Local-Government-Ombudsman-(LGO)-decision....Being-a-single-parent-does-not-mean-you-are-vulnerable.

 

PS: The following 'Fact Sheet' that I wrote for the forum concerning 'vulnerability' may also be helpful:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?456344-Bailiff-enforcement-All-about-Vulnerability

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I have just had a look at your article, and there seems to be a mistake where it says:

 

##Instead, he must give the debtor a chance to seek advice from a debt advice agency/charity etc. If he fails to do so, the enforcement fee of £235 is not recoverable.###

 

Elsewhere on the internet, it says bailiffs cannot recover an enforcement stage fee from vulnerable people and in the case of high court writs, no fees can be recovered.

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I have just had a look at your article, and there seems to be a mistake where it says:

 

Instead, he must give the debtor a chance to seek advice from a debt advice agency/charity etc. If he fails to do so, the enforcement fee of £235 is not recoverable.

Elsewhere on the internet, it says bailiffs cannot recover an enforcement stage fee from vulnerable people and in the case of high court writs, no fees can be recovered.

 

What I have posted is correct and information that you may have read elsewhere is inaccurate I'm afraid.

 

For clarification, you need to read Regulation 12 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014:

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1/regulation/12/made?view=plain

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the information you give in the legislation link is correct.

 

Your article says: Instead, he must give the debtor a chance to seek advice from a debt advice agency/charity etc. If he fails to do so, the enforcement fee of £235 is not recoverable.

 

It looks like you are making a tinted translation of it.

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the information you give in the legislation link is correct.

 

Your article says: Instead, he must give the debtor a chance to seek advice from a debt advice agency/charity etc. If he fails to do so, the enforcement fee of £235 is not recoverable.

 

It looks like you are making a tinted translation of it.

 

Seems to me the legislation and the quote you provide say the same thing?

 

Previous: Provision

Next: Provision

Recovery of fees from vulnerable debtors

 

12. Where the debtor is a vulnerable person, the fee or fees due for the enforcement stage (or, where regulation 6 applies, the first, or first and second, enforcement stages as appropriate) and any disbursements related to that stage (or stages) are not recoverable unless the enforcement agent has, before proceeding to remove goods which have been taken into control, given the debtor an adequate opportunity to get assistance and advice in relation to the exercise of the enforcement power.

 

##Instead, he must give the debtor a chance to seek advice from a debt advice agency/charity etc. If he fails to do so, the enforcement fee of £235 is not recoverable.###

 

In any case, neither of the quotes say that fees are not due from vulnerable people,

I think there was a recent LGO hearing which repeated the fact.

 

The complainant in that case probably got the duff info from the same place you did.

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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Hi, thanks again for all the advice.

 

When I spoke to the enforcement department yesterday and ask for their policy regarding vulnerable people they said they didn't have one.

 

I also said about AOB and they said that it would take 3 years to clear and they would rather not go down that road, as they are saying she already had one (that she cannot remember about).

 

I do feel sorry for her as she is trying to sort out her finances on her own and just seems to be getting into more trouble.

 

When we hear back from the enforcement department I will update the post.

 

Thanks

 

JJ

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Hi, thanks again for all the advice.

 

When I spoke to the enforcement department yesterday and ask for their policy regarding vulnerable people they said they didn't have one.

 

I also said about AOB and they said that it would take 3 years to clear and they would rather not go down that road, as they are saying she already had one (that she cannot remember about).

JJ

 

Attachment to Benefits (AOB) are not that popular with councils. There are various reason for them being unpopular and the low set deduction rate of just £3.65 per week is just one of the reasons. In your friends case, she had been paying much than this at £5 per week.

 

Please do update the forum when you hear more.

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When this is sorted, just_jue, maybe your friend could join CAG and get help with dealing with her debts? We're pretty good at that. :)

 

HB

 

That is a regulated activity which licensing is required.

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That is a regulated activity which licensing is required.

 

Only if you make a charge for it...are you here to advise ?

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHER

 

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  • 1 month later...

Forget about the contact centre or collections department most of them do not have a clue what their own vulnerable person policy is. Do some googling about recent debt related suicides and you will realise that they are bound to take mental illness extremely seriously!

 

The most important thing that you need is a GP letter explaining illness, symptoms, treatments etc. Then go onto Google and find out how to contact the leader of your local council. They should have a mobile and email address easily available.

 

Email them along the lines of

 

I am a vulnerable person with xyz illness, and am on benefits.!I have fallen behind on my council tax.

 

The bailiffs are now threatening to take away my possessions unless I pay £x in their fees. My only choice is to pay this or not be able to afford to eat.

 

' I understand the importance of making payments and I want to contribute as much as possible, even if it is a nominal sum

per month until I am back on my feet.

 

I can afford £x per month but am asking for the bailiffs to be called off and their fees to be waived. The GP note attached explains my illness and how badly stress can make things worse.

 

Thanking you in advance'

 

When I was in this situation it took 25 minutes for a positive reply. Any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

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