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I have recently been visited by the bailiffs for council tax arrears, I was out at the first visit, but read what to do immediately so that evening I printed out the letter in this forum stating a payment plan and saying that I would pay direct to the council, I also paid an initial payment directly over the internet, the following morning I then tried to set up a direct debit but the council said there was nothing they could do, so I just set up a standing order instead.

Anyway I sent off this letter to both the council and the bailiffs.

I had a visit from the bailiffs a few days later, which I just talked to them through a window and told them I had sent a letter and that I knew my rights.

I then tried the council again stating the same that I knew my rights and that I would not allow the bailiffs in my home and that I was offering to pay them direct. They said that the matter was out of their hands and could not instruct the bailiffs to stop visiting.


The bailiffs then sent a letter headed

Council tax notice of issue of liability order information preliminary to distress

The letter generally said that I was to deal with them directly and they would not accept me dealing directly with the council,

It said that if payment is not paid in full within 14 days then distress might be levied upon your possessions. This means that we can list and remove your belongings and sell them at public auction to pay the amount, which you owe.


It came along with a form for me to fill in i.e. what I own and also my financial situation.

I then the day after received one saying

We must advise that it is company policy to secure any debt passed to us in behalf of the local authority. If you do allow our bailiff access to complete the necessary paperwork then no arrangement will be accepted.


My standing order is due to come out the bank soon to the council and I am not sure who owns the debt the council took my initial payment so I am assuming the debt is still with them,



So what should I do now.......

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Don't let the bailiff in whatever he tries. If you don't let him in, he can only charge for a 1st and 2nd visit. Depending on your financial circumstances, whether you're on benefits etc. pay off the outstanding amount as quickly as you are realistically able. If you are on benefits, are pregnant, disabled or otherwise classed as "vulnerable" then I believe you can force the council to call off the bailiffs. Often the people you speak to at the council either won't know or won't care what the laws are regarding bailiffs so it is definitely worth going down to the council offices in person and speaking to someone there.


You might also want to send a letter stating what you are offering to pay each month (by standing order) and just stating that you will be paying it direct to the council by standing order and that this sum is to be allocated to your arrears (my council allocated mine to the current years council tax initially when I was in this situation).


Do everything in writing and ideally by recorded delivery.


With the bailiffs, write them a letter complaining that they are being unreasonable and for that reason you will be paying the council directly and that as you are making regular payments, they cannot get a liability order as you are showing that you are willing to pay. Stick to your guns and also complain to the bailiff that you will not be tricked into letting them in by their use of sneaky tricks such as the old "paperwork" one. Copy all communication to the bailiff with your council too so they can see what is going on.


Sorry this post was a bit of a brain dump - its late and I'm tired - but hopefully it'll make some sense. Most of all, don't despair! Many people have been in the same situation before (or worse like me) and have pulled through. Just remember - DONT LET THE BAILIFF IN, DONT SPEAK TO HIM ON THE PHONE AND DONT SIGN ANYTHING!!!!

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