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My council tax debts over the years


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my wife is having problems with council tax arrears... we have been paying bristow and sutor £177 a month off our council tax arrears for last year and this current year and was due to pay it off in 3 months now... But we have now had a bailliff turn up today and say we owe another £700 which we may well do... my question is can they ask for anymore money from us as we can not afford any more and also do they have any right to our goods... Also has the council got to try and make an agreement with us first as we have no correspondence of them regarding any of this...

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You say that you have been paying for over one year. Did the bailiff at that time gain entry into the home......and was anything signed for instance Walking Possession ?

 

Last year there would have been a liability order, which resulted in bailiff action. have you had a second liability order ?

 

When the bailiff arrived today....why did he arrive....were you late in paying etc and did he come into the house. ?

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I spoke to the bailiff on the phone(didnt let him in)... apparently this new council tax bill was for my missus's previous address and he reckons its gone through the courts but we had no notification of this... I have been told by this bailiff that as I wont let him into my house I have to phone the company on monday and try and get the 2 accounts put into one... but he said they may not be willing to do this and they may just take it out of my missus's wages( via the courts) as I say we are paying all we can afford now so we couldnt live if they took anymore... I dont think i am being unreasonable by paying what i can afford as if not other bills would go unpaid

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You say that you spoke on the phone with the bailiff. This is think is concerning this new account.

 

With the old account, was anything signed at the time, and did he gain entry into the house.

 

The payments that are currently being paid are for one liability order. The bailiff CANNOT just simply merge two togther. In particular we are talking about two different properties.

 

You HAVE TO ASK for details of the new laibility order. A bailiff can only be instructed once a liability order has been passed to him.

 

You need to find out more .....

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You say that you spoke on the phone with the bailiff. This is think is concerning this new account.

 

With the old bill, was anything signed at the time, and did he gain entry into the house.

 

The payments that are currently be paid are for one liability order. The bailiff CANNOT just simply merge two togther. In particular we are talking about two different properties.

 

You HAVE TO ASK for details of the new laibility order. A bailiff can only be instructed once a liability order has been passed to him.

 

You need to find out more .....

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Call the police if you get to much harrassment of him and if he turns up.

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  • 5 months later...

I have had a bailiff contact me and my wife today about a council tax debt that my wife had before we were married... Basically there are 4 accounts from my house now and a previous address totalling £1000.. The bailiffs came last october and I refused them access and an agreement was arranged of £174 a month we continued to pay this until March when the tax credits stopped my claim (and after going through my mp and top managers at the tax credits offices it took them 6 weeks to get my money sorted) I had hardly any money coming in so couldnt afford it so I defaulted on this agreement also in April this years tax credit payments started so i can only afford £100 instead of £174... I phoned them but they said i had to speak to the bailiff... Anyway he turned up at my house yesterday and i wasnt in so ive phoned him and he reckons he needs to make a list of my property which ive refused.. ive told him as im willing to pay a reasonable amount im not willing to grant him access to my house which I thinks fair... Anyway where do i go from here can I write to bristow and sutor and make this offer of payment am I in my right to refuse him access and am they in there right to refuse my offer... Any help would be appreciated

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You need to write to them explainibg your circumstances as you ahve here. Enclose your payment - they cannot refuse to accept it.

 

They ahve no right of entry unless they gain peaceful possession - in other words, if you let or a member of your family let them in or if they get through an open door or window. i know it's coming up to summer, but please make sure your doors and windows are locked.

 

Some bailiffs can be really decent and may well accept your offer. They do not have to levy your goods before they do this.

 

If after writing your polite letter (I would send it recorded) they do not agree, i would post back then and I'll see if I can help you some more.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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You need to write to them explainibg your circumstances as you ahve here. Enclose your payment - they cannot refuse to accept it.

 

They ahve no right of entry unless they gain peaceful possession - in other words, if you let or a member of your family let them in or if they get through an open door or window. i know it's coming up to summer, but please make sure your doors and windows are locked.

 

Some bailiffs can be really decent and may well accept your offer. They do not have to levy your goods before they do this.

 

If after writing your polite letter (I would send it recorded) they do not agree, i would post back then and I'll see if I can help you some more.

 

 

 

thanks for that when I spoke to the bailliff on the phone he said they wanted the money in 3 months... I said that was unacceptable and I was making an affordable offer and wasnt refusing to pay... surely any half decent company will give you the chance to pay your debt... is there any way I can get the council to take this debt back??? i was thinking of doing a copy of this template and sending that what do you think???

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 levy goods and I know the fees allowed under statue 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 factually hardship.

 

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 aside 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 statue 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 faithfully,

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I think that looks fine - don't forget to send it recorded or special so you get a signature.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi there

 

i see your note above about contacting the council. i had similar issues with B&S ehre they refused all offers of payment (been paying them over a year now!)

to be honest i have always been lucky with the bailiffs. always quite understanding. it's the people in their collections dept who have been quite arrogant.

i made a complaint to the council, and got an agreement with them directly. they instructed B&S to acept this payment. so i would contact your council tax collections team who should bemore helpful. when i spoke to them i got the impression that they had prev had some complaints about B&S (and one particular woman in there....)

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Hi there

 

i see your note above about contacting the council. i had similar issues with B&S ehre they refused all offers of payment (been paying them over a year now!)

to be honest i have always been lucky with the bailiffs. always quite understanding. it's the people in their collections dept who have been quite arrogant.

i made a complaint to the council, and got an agreement with them directly. they instructed B&S to acept this payment. so i would contact your council tax collections team who should bemore helpful. when i spoke to them i got the impression that they had prev had some complaints about B&S (and one particular woman in there....)

 

 

thanks for that i will do that asap

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  • 9 months later...

About 2 years ago my wife had problems with bailiffs coming to our house over some council tax that we owed and we took advise from some people and refused them entry to our property and basically they backed down and got a court order to have the wages taken out of my wifes wages at 10% which was fine with us... Well this week she has been made redundant and has been paid a substancial redundancy sum and out of this sum they have taken the rest of the council tax money she owes is this legal... We dont mind paying it but its the principal of it that they haven't consulted her or even let her know that this was going to happen...

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  • 7 months later...

Hi i've had a letter of bristow and sutor today and basically I owe £1472 council tax and they have asked me for £137 a week which if I could afford that I wouldn't owe council tax.. I have phoned sandwell mbc who after a bit of arguing said they wouldn't be willing to help me out as its with the bailiff's to which I told them I would not be willing to deal with as my debts with them I also said that I would be willing to pay £150 a month off my debt and £50 a month after April when my new council tax bill comes in which is reasonable (I think).. The NICE man at the council also said that the council could not take payments from myself any more to which after arguing with him some more he backed down and said they wouldn't refuse payments from me but said he couldn't make any agreements with me again and I said to him well I won't deal with Bristow and Sutor as the debt aint with them so would only be making payments direct to Sandwell mbc and that the bailliffs would eventually be sending the debt back to them as they wouldn't be gaining access to my property under any circumstances... What I want to know is am I within my rights to refuse to deal with B & S and would B & S be liable to chase me for costs if I clear the debt with the council first????? Also surely the councils should be able to instruct the bailliffs to accept my offer (which he said they couldn't do) as i'm offering what I can afford

Edited by leetwin
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You are within your right to refuse to deal with Bristow and Sutor but the council has a right to pass a case to them for enforcement. That only happens when the council has exhausted its efforts to get you to pay or give lawful reason why you shouldn’t pay. If you cleared the debt direct to the council the bailiff cannot enforce to recover only his fees. He has to claim it from you in a civil proceeding. Councils leave it to bailiffs to set up repayment structure. Meanwhile...

 

Council Tax (Enforcements Section) Department

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Sandwell Council House

Oldbury

West Midlands

B69 3BS

 

[DATE]

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re: [YOUR NAME & ANY REF]: Visit by your bailiff on [DATE]

 

I have had an opportunity to seek advice and I write on the understanding that case law has ruled an authority is liable for its bailiffs.

 

On [DATE] I was visited by your bailiff collecting unpaid council tax. We were unable to reach an amicable resolve and the bailiff showed threatening behaviour and became vexatious in nature. He made unrealistic demands of money which are way beyond my means.

 

I now ask the Council to:

 

a) Take the case back from the bailiff.

b) Accept my original offer to pay £[AMOUNT] a week to clear the arrears

c) Pay me a reasonable compensation for my inconvenience and for my efforts in seeking discovery of information and

d) Receiving an over-zealous bailiff acting for you making unrealistic demands of money.

 

If you fail to satisfactorily complete the above I will automatically escalate the complaint to the local government ombudsman in fourteen days from the date of this letter.

 

Please be advised are not entitled to enforce payment of bailiff fees pretending it is unpaid council tax. The law prescribes bailiff’s fees for unpaid council tax by way of Regulation 45(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

 

Due to my circumstances I am unable to pay the debt as demanded by the bailiffs and I will make payment of £[AMOUNT] each month for [NUMBER OF] monthly installments with a final installment of £[AMOUNT]. This may seem a long time but it's all I can afford and allows me to pay future liabilities without falling into arrears. I confirm I am not refusing to pay this debt.

 

This letter is delivered by Royal Mail and I deem it to be served on you by the ordinary course of post in the meaning of Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978. It is your responsibility and in your own interests this letter is handed to the relevant person within your organisation.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

[NAME]

Enc 1st payment.

 

Nothing to lose but.....

 

The Omnipotent Bailiff Co, Plc

Their Address 1

Their Address 2

Their Address 3

Postcode

 

DATE

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re: Your visit to [LINE 1 OF ADDRESS + ANY REF]

 

I write following visits by your bailiff about unpaid council tax and confirm an arrangement is in place with the council to pay the debt and your services are not required. However you bailiff fees appear to show an irregularity and I ask you to provide following within fourteen (14) days:

 

a) The name of the certificating court and certificate number for the bailiff in charge

 

b) Written confirmation of your fees and charges

 

c) Truthfully confirm in writing they are lawful according to prescribed legislation

 

d) The name and address of the person or body you act for

 

If you cannot complete the above, please unconditionally pay me within fourteen (14) days a refund of all unlawful fees and unconditionally pay me compensation of £4999.00 for failure to comply with the law and I will consider this aspect of the matter closed.

 

If I later find an irregularity with your fees within the statutory time limit of 6 years prescribed under Section 2 of the Limitation Act 1980, I will enter no further correspondence with you and automatically file a Form 4 at court for committing offences under the Fraud Act 2006. This may also involve a criminal investigation by police and your firm's director(s) may receive a criminal record for fraud, assisting an offender and benefiting from proceeds of crime.

 

This document is delivered by Royal Mail and I deem it good service upon you by the ordinary course of post under Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978. It is your responsibility and in your best interests this letter is handed to the relevant person within your organisation.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 

YOUR NAME

 

And keep this handy to hand to a bailiff wthrough a window. Never open the door to a bailiff and make your car safe.

 

[DATE]

 

BY HAND

 

Dear Bailiffs.

 

Re: Your Reference

 

[NAME OF] Council appears to have instructed you to collect unpaid council tax.

 

This notice directs that you are not being given entry to my home or to levy goods contained within and your entitlement to charge a Walking Possessions fee stands revoked. Please be advised that if your fees are found to contradict Regulation 14(2) or Regulation 45(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 and you may be liable for criminal prosecution under the Fraud Act 2006. Without corresponding with you further I will also automatically file a Form 4 at court.

 

Due to my circumstances I am unable to pay the debt in whole and will make payment of £[AMOUNT] each month for [NUMBER OF] monthly instalments direct to the council.

 

These are the only payments I can afford and allows me to pay future council tax liabilities without falling into arrears. Please be advised it is not a "criminal offence" for me to deny a bailiff entry to my property and it is an offence to threaten me with breaking and entering with "locksmiths".

 

Please provide me with a breakdown of your fees, put it through the letterbox and quietly leave the property.

 

Yours Faithfully

 

 

 

YOUR NAME

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