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Council Threatening Me With A Liability Order In Relation To Council Tax


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Hi,

 

I am currently not in a position to pay council tax as I am off work due to illness.

I am in receipt of Universal Credit and receive the health component too.

 

I have informed my local council of my situation but they are saying there's nothing they can do to stop a Liability Order being issued.

I have received a date when I am to appear in the Magistrates Court although I can not attend unless I arrange a pre-booked appointment due to lockdown.

 

I would like to prevent or at least delay a Liability Order being issued.

I understand there are only two reasons that would prevent a Liability Order not being issued,

(i) if the Council has not followed correct procedure and

(ii) i have paid off the total balance.

 

Despite my situation it looks as though I do not have a defence of any kind.

 It appears therefore that even if I turn up to my hearing that I will not be successful anyway in preventing the Liability Order being issued, so is there any point to attending?

And is there anything I can do to at least delay the process?

 

Thanks.

 

Walshy

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no.   i wonder if the OP is entitled to CTAX benefit, thats only available from the relevant council...most on UC can get it..   but your MP is by far the most successful route to

i wouldn't bother doing anything toward the LO hearing, let it happen. it doesn't add that much, 1'000'000's of people have them.

 

what you need to do is address the underlying problem of why you've not paid ir and if you are entitlted to any help with it.

 

have you been up on the entitled.to website and done the benefits check?

if not go do it NOW.

 

you also might need to budget a bit better, 

there are very few PRIORITY debts you must pay , like rent/mortgage/gas/electric, they can all effect keeping the ROOF over your head.

 

things like credit cards, catalogues, digital TV, fast broadband, mobile phone contracts that ALL need to be dropped to <£5PCM to pay for the priority bills first. theres is very little they can do to you, certain cant add anything to a debt and bar setting legally powerless DCA's who are NOT bailiffs on you you can tell them to go do one.

 

CTAX debts subject to an LO can result in real BAILIFFS at your door, though they cannot force entry and to all intent and purpose can be ignored too, they can add upto ONLY a max of £310 to the LO sum if they repeatedly visit.

 

get onto that website and let us know your situation.

 

dx

 

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Hi dx1000,

 

Thanks for replying. I checked out that website but when I went there all I am greeted with is just the name of the site in black letters on a white background, there is nothing else to click on. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong but do you know if it's working at the moment?

 

I'm assuming therefore that I will have to let the council issue their Liability Order and then arrange some type of repayment plan, is that it? The problem I have is freeing up any money to just give them £5 a month is almost impossible, but I guess I will have to try something.

 

I get £1250 a month. Rent for my one bedroom flat is £825 per month, then bills and food plus I am paying back around 4 other debts and advances which DWP automatically take from my Universal Credit each month leaves me with nothing.

 

Thanks for clarifying the enforcement powers they have, that does worry me a lot. I guess my question would be how far does it get for them to threaten me with prison as I know that's a power they have isn't it? 

 

Thanks.

 

Walshy

 

 

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Where you live (entitledto.co.uk)

 

39 minutes ago, Warrior_Walshy said:

threaten me with prison as I know that's a power they have isn't it? 

 

i will guess you mean regarding the ctax stuff you might have seen.

 

thats for people that won't pay

not

people that can't pay...as is your situation..

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Hi Stu and dx1000uk,

 

I have done the online assessment and as I suspected I already receive the maximum benefits available to me.

 

Yes I was referring to the fact that some times I know that non-payment of council tax can lead to imprisonment so thanks for clarifying.

 

let's say I can't make their demands for payment and they do send bailiffs in, I assume these are the type of bailiffs I can just not let in and then after a certain amount of attempts they give up right? does the council then not send the police round? This is what I can't work out and worries me.

 

The council already know that I am struggling and can't make the payments but when do I get my chance to tell a court or the police that it's not that I don't want to pay but that I can't pay? 

 

Walshy

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i would suggest that you stick to researching on here only. use our search top right for say CTAX or liability order.

 

you seriously have some wild theories, but those are understandable.

 

as i have said,

there won't be a court hearing you need nor would that help you at all nor are expected to attend, it's not like that, it's merely a rubberstamp exercise .

 

there is no right of forced entry for bailiffs collecting CTAX debts.

the bailiff process is

one of a letter which will be entitled Notice of enforcement, this gives you 7 days to pay the sum it outlines with an associated fee of £75 for it being sent.

the 2nd step will be a visit, you have no legal remit to engage with them at all, i i would not do so under any circumstances, that visit will add a further £235 fee

those are the only things a bailiff can do. the most they can charge is a total of £310.

 

police do not ever get involved in civil matters like CTAX debt. not sure where you ever got that idea from.

 

its saturday now so use the W/end wisely, get reading up HERE ONLY

it might well pay you on monday to go RING the council CTAX dept and plead poverty etc etc.

it might also pay you to find the email address or even better phone number of your local MP and get him involved.

they can do wonders.

 

dx 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Magistrates liability order hearings are simply Council staff attending the Court to allow the Council Taxpayer opportunity to provide information about ability to pay, to see if a payment arrangement can be entered into. It is an administrative process as already explained.

 

If you have already provided all available financial, health and other information to the Council and they are proceeding to obtain the Liability Order, this is because it enables them to use all available means including bailiffs or deductions from benefits to obtain the Council Tax arrears.

 

Can I suggest that you make a complaint to the Council about them not taking into account your health and hardship circumstances. Argue that they have treated you unfairly by not giving you opportunity to have your ability to pay Council Tax reviewed and this has been detrimental to your health and wellbeing.

 

By making the complaint, hopefully this will enable them to work with you to fully address what help the Council are able to offer. I.e. is the Council Tax amount correct with any reductions applied, have all payment options been discussed, can Council waive costs of obtaining Liability Order.

We could do with some help from you.

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Following the issue of a Liability Order the Council must obtain a warrant of control to try to collect the debt. If they fail their only option is to return the matter to court and you will be asked to attend.

 

At that hearing the court must be satisfied that:

 

• A liability order was imposed in relation to the debt.
• You have failed to pay; and
• The council tried to collect the sum using a warrant of control, and failed.

 

They must then go on to conduct a "means enquiry" into your financial circumstances. The principle aim of that is firstly to establish whether you had demonstrated either a wilful refusal to pay (i.e. you had sufficient funds but simply refused to pay) or "culpable neglect" (i.e. you had the funds but chose to spend them on something else). Only if they find one of those two can commitment to prison (either immediate or postponed) be considered. Also, only if they find one of those two can they order payments to meet the debt.

 

The usual combination is an order to make payments coupled with a postponed commitment. But, the payment rate must be realistic in terms of your financial circumstances and it should normally mean that the debt is paid within three years. If a realistic payment rate will not see the debt paid in that period then the court should consider remitting (i.e. writing off) some or all of the debt. Similarly, if they find neither wilful refusal to pay nor culpable neglect (and by default find that you simply did not have the ability to pay) they should also consider remitting some or all of the debt.

 

You should note that at these commitment proceedings, as the matters you face could result in custody, you are entitled to have the services of the duty solicitor. In your circumstances I would say the chances of you being committed to prison are slightly less than zero.

 

From your very brief description of your finances you simply have no spare money (though a means enquiry will delve more deeply into your affairs, especially the debts for which the DWP are making deductions from your benefits). There is no point in delaying any of this. The sooner it gets sorted the better as your circumstances seem unlikely to change any time soon.

 

One thing you must bear in mind is that these proceedings will only deal with the debt covered by the Liability Order. If you have any Council Tax arrears that have accrued since then they will have to be dealt with separately. I'm also assuming you live in England. Since April 2019 commitment to prison has not been an option in Wales.

 

 

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dx100uk  unclebulgaria67

 

OP is on UC.

 

Could the council apply for weekly amounts to be deducted from UC claim ?

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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no.

 

i wonder if the OP is entitled to CTAX benefit, thats only available from the relevant council...most on UC can get it..

 

but your MP is by far the most successful route to sorting these issues we've seen here to work.

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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When someone claims UC they are asked about claiming Council Tax benefit, but at the time they started the claim it might not be relevant or they may not bother to indicate whether they are claiming it or intend to claim it.  Therefore UC does not send any data to the Council.

 

It is up to the Council whether they want to claim Council Tax arrears from benefits.  But before the Council can do so, they will have exhausted other options.  @Man in the middlehas provided a much better and comprehensive post on the process the Council will go through.

 

The advice for Walshy is communicate with the Council, ensuring that they have all available information on financial ability to pay, as well as health vulverabilities.  If the Council have been provided with this information and have failed to respond, then enter into the Councils complaints process. 

We could do with some help from you.

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

 

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The advice for Walshy is communicate with the Council, ensuring that they have all available information on financial ability to pay, as well as health vulverabilities. 

 

Yes that is an absolute must. Generally the Council has no wish to see people committed to prison for Council Tax debt. They want to see the debt recovered where it is properly due and the debtor has the ability to pay. If he hasn't that ability they will take into account the debtor's financial situation and make any arrangements they can. But only a court can remit some or all of the debt. The more you engage with the Council the easier this will be.

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Hi Guys,

 

I just want to thank all of you who have responded, this site is an incredibly helpful forum so thank you for the information, help and guidance you have provided.

 

The problem I have is that the Council are fully aware of my situation and have already applied the Council Tax reduction in view of my Universal Credit claim. They are still asking for a further £600 though, after the reduction. They say they can't enter into any payment arrangement until the Liability Order has been made.

 

I assume that once it is issued I can then contact the Council again to put in place some kind of payment plan, but it is no over estimation to say I have nothing and have no idea even if they would accept a nominal payment of £5 a month. But at this stage they won't even contemplate a payment plan anyway.

 

In answer to a previous comment yes I do worry about police involvement because as we know in England there is a criminal aspect to non-payment of Council Tax. I know that this relates to people who wilfully won't pay rather than can't pay

 

at what stage do I get to explain in a court that it's not that I won't pay but can't? I assume that a court process would have to take place before a warrant of arrest for non-payment of council tax is issued by a proper court, not a room the council has set up at the Magistrates Court to make it look like a 'real' court.

 

I still can't believe what I'm learning in relation to how councils operate just to simply get money off their citizens! This process was what Man in the Middle was explaining I think. Does the process that Man in the Middle outline take place after the council has instructed bailiffs and only if bailiffs return it back to the council if they get no payment from me? I wonder if someone could clarify. 

 

I was also having a further £5 a month deducted from my UC for a previous council tax debt but for some reason it no longer appears on my monthly UC statement. I'm hoping someone saw what I was going through and had some empathy and decided not to pursue the outstanding Council Tax from 2019. 

 

As regards what unclebulgaria said I think that's a fantastic suggestion. If I submit a complaint online regarding the way in which the Council have treated me it might just delay things, that in itself would be a help to me right now.

 

Thanks again for all your help and advice, I really do appreciate it.

 

Walshy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the number of people that can't pay rather than just WON'T pay, that were arrested for non payment of CTAX in the uk can be counted on the fingers of one hand. seriously, forget about that ever happening to you or it ever ever going that far. yours is very obviously not a case of wilful refusal to pay. 

 

get you MP onboard as quickly as you can monday.

 

i can tell you now the council will not accept £5PCM .

you need serious help if you are in such dire trouble and to be honest why has this just happened this year or is this problem greater than simply not paying since april? what happen in previous years were you able to meet CTAX ok?

explaining the above in your brief but concise contact with your MP will go along way to them intervening much quicker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Hi there, sorry to hear of your situation but I have some excellent help for you, as unfortunately I have been in the same place at one point, owing more than £6000 in back council tax.

 

None of this is your fault, we are in the most serious public health and economic crisis for 100 years, councils are desperate to shore up their finances, unfortunately this means they are taking a rather blunt sledgehammer approach.  Right now, speaking to the call centre or recovery team is utterly pointless, I remember them sneering at me on the phone when I had no money to pay my rent. All it will do is get you nowhere and stress you out.

 

If you listen to me this can all be sorted out by tea time tomorrow, but before I explain, I need to make one thing clear.  You will not go to prison, end of.

 

So here is your course of action for Monday AM

 

1. Google your local Councillor and Elected head of council. Their mobile numbers and Emails should be on Google. 

2. Ring your local councillor and explain everything, just as you did here.

3. If you don't get through to the councillor, leave a Voicemail and send an email explaining everything.

4. Ring up your GP / Consultant and ask for a medical note explaining what your illness is and all of the treatments with Side effects.  

5. Google or ask for a copy of your local council's code of practice for collections.

 

Your councillor will likely be very concerned about poverty levels, and they have complete power to override  anyone in collections at the local council. Unlike the Finance team or call centre who probably don't care a fig.

 

Email to local councillor along the lines of

 

Dear XYZ

 

I am in a situation where I am unable to work because of my illness, and am now on Universal Credit, as I result I have fallen behind with my Council Tax. Unfortunately the demands I am receiving to pay up or receive a liability order I simply can't afford .  I understand the importance of Council Tax and know that finances are tight but paying this amount would mean not being able to pay my rent.  I hope you can understand the dire situation that I am in and would accept an offer of £x per month, to be reviewed after 6 months.  I am happy to send in any medical information from my consultant if needed. I look forward to your reply,

 

Kind Regards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We could do with some help from you.

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Hey London1971,

 

Thank you for your understanding. That's a great suggestion you've outlined and yes I will give it a go for sure. Thank you very much for that. I shall let you all know how it goes.

 

Walshy

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opps mixed up MP with your local  councillor ...sorry..

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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MP's are good for other things but for some reason are not very good for Council Tax.

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

 

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

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Hi,

 

I sent the email to both my local councillor and the leader of my local council yesterday evening. I didn't receive an acknowledgement email. Do you know if I should have, as I know that if you ever email an MP you always receive a acknowledgement email?

 

Walshy

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did you find his mobile number?

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Hi dx100uk,

 

No I couldn't find their mobile or direct line numbers for either my local Councillor or the leader of my Council. All that I have been able to find are their email addressed and the Council postal address.

 

Walshy

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You won’t necessarily receive an acknowledgement Email. If you don’t hear back by tomorrow just resend the Email.

 

 

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

 

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

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Hi,

 

Still no response. I have my Liability Order hearing in a few days time, I was hoping I might have been able to receive a response from either my local councillor or the leader of the council before then. I wonder if they are just going to ignore my email?

 

Walshy

 

 

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It's only 2 days, re forward the email today as I suggested. They are your elcected councillor, they can't /won't ignore you, this is their job.

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

 

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

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