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Hi

I received a letter from a bailiff company on the 7th January 2019. I contacted them immediately as the letter advised to set up an arrangement. I offered to pay it over 6 months with the first installment on 22nd. The gentleman advised me this was too long and would need to be paid by 20th at the latest so agreed to phone and pay on 18th and he agreed no further action would happen before then.

 

On 10th January 2019 I received a text advising me that my account would shortly be issued to an enforcement officer to visit at your home. So again I called them as was confused as I thought I had sorted things? I went through everything with him and again said the agreement with the first gentlemen and he said ok but instalments would be higher than the first man. Was surprised by this but thought maybe the first man worked it out wrong and agreed. Turns out the first installment is higher as I have been charged a £75 compliance fee.

 

On checking things further the initial letter I received on the 7th January 2019 is dated 24th December 2018. How does it take two weeks for a letter to arrive?

 

Can anyone confirm how long the compliance stage is? Am worried I am going to wake up to bailiffs at my door.

 

Thanks

Stressed2009

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Is the letter headed Notice of Enforcement? If so then they should have listed a date by which you had to contact them. Bit of a cheek sending a letter dated 24/12 considering the time of year especially if you have only received it. Were you aware the Council had gone to Court to obtain a Liability Order?


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Hi. Yes I was aware the council had obtained a liability order but couldn’t afford to pay it off in three installments by the end of the tax year like they wanted.

 

The letter is titled Formal notification of the issue of a liability order for unpaid council tax to X. It says payment has to be made within 17 days from the date of the notice. Also, if you want to make an arrangement you must contact us within 14 days of receiving this letter - which is what I did?

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I would say that your letter is non-Compliant. Can I ask which Council and which Bailiff Co?


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London borough of Hounslow & JBW

 

I am planning to call at 10am tomorrow when they open to try and pay the £200 he said I needed to pay when I spoke to them on Thursday. Would a bailiff come on a Sunday

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You say the Council refused payment as it was going to take longer than 3 months - that would be quite normal this time of year as they want it paying before the end of the financial year. Instead they have passed it on for enforcement and I assume the agreement you have will take longer than 3 months - in other words they are just prepared to saddle you with the extra costs of enforcement.

 

Do you work or are you on Benefits? Did the Council suggest an Attachment to Earnings or Benefits?


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Yes the arrangement would be for 6 months. The £75 fee was added on 10th January I’m assuming for sending the text message.

 

I’m a carer for our son but my partner works full time. We get child tax credits, child benefit and I get carers allowance for our son. Nope the council didn’t suggest either of those.

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How much care does your son need and how old is he? Do you receive any benefits for him?


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I am planning to call at 10am tomorrow when they open to try and pay the £200 he said I needed to pay when I spoke to them on Thursday. Would a bailiff come on a Sunday

 

 

That decision has to be yours but I will guarantee if you are paying early or more than what has been agreed they will continue to hassle you and want more. Bailiffs do work on Sundays but you should be safe if you have an agreement.


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He gets HRC DLA because of a number of health conditions. A bailiff coming to the house would massively impact on his anxiety. He’s only 8.

 

They said the arrangement wouldn’t be put in place until I had made the payment.

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Tomorrow I would be contacting your local Councillor www.writetothem.com and explaining the refusal by the Council who have now passed you on for enforcement and they have agreed an arrangement that the Council refused & you are now subject to the extra costs of enforcement. If they refuse to act or are reluctant then bypass them and go straight to the leader of the Council. Best initial contact with your Councillor is by phone.

 

I would also explain your concerns for your son should a Bailiff call. Have you told JBW about him?


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Ok thank you.

 

Do you know how soon after the text it would be passed to an enforcement officer?

 

No I hadn’t mentioned my son as I thought it was all sorted :(

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The way I see it they have not sent you a Notice of Enforcement which is a requirement they must do. Therefore they cannot have given you a date by which you must respond/comply. All that has happened so far is you have a letter from them advising you owe Council Tax and ask you make an arrangement to pay - this you have done voluntarily. With the way they have done it I would argue they cannot charge you the £75 Compliance Fee as they have not told you of its existence.

 

Of course JBW will twist it all and hope you do not know nothing and will just pay without argument.


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The way I see it they have not sent you a Notice of Enforcement which is a requirement they must do. Therefore they cannot have given you a date by which you must respond/comply. All that has happened so far is you have a letter from them advising you owe Council Tax and ask you make an arrangement to pay....

Given the wording and the date, I would suspect that the letter is effectively the equivalent of a '14 day' letter that the council at one time were required to send (Regulation 45A). In the absence of payment, a Notice of Enforcement has now been issued and the debt increased by £75 to include the Compliance fee. The OP needs to ask JBW for the date when a Notice of Enforcement had been issued.

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He gets HRC DLA because of a number of health conditions. A bailiff coming to the house would massively impact on his anxiety. He’s only 8.

 

They said the arrangement wouldn’t be put in place until I had made the payment.

 

I am assuming that your sons condition means that you have a Blue Badge on your car? As Ploddertom has advised, you need to ensure that JBW are made aware of your sons health. You need to ensure that any payment arrangement is adhered to as a late payment would lead to the arrangement being cancelled. Payments should not be made to the council, they should be made to JBW.

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Do as of post 11, that is the best advice on here,

 

Email / call your Councillor, also explaining everything. Make sure you emphasise your son's condition , as using bailiffs in this situation is against their code of practice.

 

I would also do a Google search online for your local council's COP, and email it to council revenue department, copying in the Bailiffs, explaining about your son's condition, and offering a GP / Consultants note.

 

I did this, and the Bailiffs were called off within 24 hrs, all charges removed. I was also able to set up a 50ppm arrangement with the council.

 

No need to lose sleep over this, just take these steps

 

Let us know what happens,

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Thank you for all the advice.

 

I called this morning and paid the first payment and the arrangement is now set up. So the stress of a bailiff turning up at the house is gone as can stick to arrangement. I also made them aware of my son and his health conditions.

 

The lady confirmed all calls are recorded so now going to make a written complaint over the fee as a result of their poor advice. It may not get me anywhere but I will try. If I donÂ’t get anywhere with that I will contact our local councillor.

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Thank you for all the advice.

 

I called this morning and paid the first payment and the arrangement is now set up. So the stress of a bailiff turning up at the house is gone as can stick to arrangement. I also made them aware of my son and his health conditions.

 

The lady confirmed all calls are recorded so now going to make a written complaint over the fee as a result of their poor advice. It may not get me anywhere but I will try. If I donÂ’t get anywhere with that I will contact our local councillor.

 

Well done.

 

I would suggest that before issuing a complaint that you call JBW and ask them to confirm the date that they claim that a Notice of Enforcement had been sent to you. It is only when a Notice of Enforcement is issued that a £75 compliance fee can be added.

 

As I mention in my above posts, it would seem to me that the letter dated 24th December from JBW is merely the equivalent of the '14 day' letter that until 2014, had been a legal requirement for councils to send once a Liability Order had been granted.

 

Although there is no longer any legal obligation on councils to send these '14 days', it is the case that many councils (and in particular, around the Christmas period) request that their enforcement provider issue the equivalent notice which I believe is what has happened here.

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The date they applied the £75 compliance fee was the 10th January, the same day they sent a text saying ‘Your account will shortly be issued to an Enforcement Agent to visit you at your home. Contact JBW on .....’ Would a text message count as a notice of enforcement?

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The date they applied the £75 compliance fee was the 10th January, the same day they sent a text saying ‘Your account will shortly be issued to an Enforcement Agent to visit you at your home. Contact JBW on .....’ Would a text message count as a notice of enforcement?

 

Regulation 8 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 specifically provide that a Notice of Enforcement may indeed be given 'electronically'

 

Method of giving notice and who must give it

 

8.—(1) Notice of enforcement must be given—

 

(a)by post addressed to the debtor at the place, or one of the places, where the debtor usually lives or carries on a trade or business;

 

(b)by fax or other means of electronic communication;

 

©by delivery by hand through the letter box of the place, or one of the places, where the debtor usually lives or carries on a trade or business;

 

(d)where there is no letterbox, by affixing the notice at or in a place where it is likely to come to the attention of the debtor;

 

Giving a Notice of Enforcement by 'electronic communication' would clearly mean attaching a copy of the NoE to an email. There can be no possibility at all that a TEXT message would suffice.

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