Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Tell us how you beat the bailiffs.
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#36 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 07 Mar 2015 15:04

We could possibly argue this but it seems that the date it became legally theirs was some time in the March. Records will show that title changed in March, not 12th Feb. We could also argue the reasonableness of charging someone on benefits for an empty property. For now, its important to get the bailiff out of the way. We can worry about everything else in our own time.

We need a full breakdown of what they're claiming is owed otherwise its all just speculation.

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#37 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 07 Mar 2015 15:34

If the empty property was rented and the tenant vacated, the landlord is liable for the empty rates.
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#38 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Andy » 07 Mar 2015 16:20

I would love to get conferenced into a call and listen to you rip the arse out of a bailiff.
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#39 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 07 Mar 2015 16:24

As I'm reading post #1, the house was owned rather than rented. If that is the case, the freeholder/leaseholder is liable, regardless of whether they were living there or not.

It is a classic example of the system failing the poor again. How can someone who has lost their home be expected to pay a second lot of council tax whilst on benefits? Its madness. If they're happy to charge her 2 lots of council tax, they can bloody well give her 2 lots of benefit as well. If this is what the arrears are for, I think we have a pretty strong argument-More so, given that a fair bit has already been paid in any case.

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#40 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 07 Mar 2015 16:57

It a mortgagee was in possession then the mortgagee is liable for empty council tax. Section 13 f the Local Government Finance Act 2012.
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#41 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 07 Mar 2015 17:16

Andy wrote:I would love to get conferenced into a call and listen to you rip the arse out of a bailiff.
It's now something do on a daily basis. Some bailiffs become reasonable all of a sudden, others are completely obstructions,

Last night I spoke to the manager of Parkinsons after they attended a newsagents business for rent arrears. He was quite argumentative and obstreporous. The tenancy agreement is in a person's name but the goods he tried to seize belong to a Ltd company.. The bailiff wants the company to make an interpleader claim. That's no problem as far as I am concerned, it lands the creditor a whopping bill including my fee - all for a few boxes of crisps - which are in any event, are perishable goods. Goods on the shelf would have to stay there because the debtor cannot sell them while subject to a controlled goods agreement. Cigarettes and alcohol cannot be seized, and the newsbill belongs to the media companies until sold.

The manager admitted he had been charging VAT on his fees contrary to the HMRC briefing note that says VAT only applies to disbursements paid, and is recovered from the tenant on behalf of the landlord. I can see them coming unstuck when I get the fees explanation and give it to HMRC VAT fraud.

The bailiff also managed to pocket £1600 in fees for the sum of £2000 paid. This came to light when the landlord let slip over the phone that Parkinsons had told him the tenant only paid £400 when my clients bank statements show he actually paid £2000.

I can see where this is all going to end up.
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#42 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Andy » 07 Mar 2015 18:01

How do you address the situation you go into? Do you let them have both barrels at once or do you hear their version of events and start to unpick what you know to be illegal?
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#43 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 07 Mar 2015 18:32

I listen to my client first to see where the enforcement action is non compliant. That gives me the ammo. I then bring the bailiff into the call and explain the same and give him an opportunity to comply.

If he does then my job is done, and any lawful debt remaining is paid to the creditor.

If the bailiff makes excuses or hangs up, (if he hangs up them I send a text telling him what laws he breached and what is about to happen next, and what he must to to stop that action) then I have a raft of options. These include an ex-parte injunction to stop a bailiff doing something, or to return a vehicle according to a deadline etc, an EAC2, a criminal proceeding, litigation against the creditor. The client can use all or any of these.

The bailiff usually begrudgingly complies, except when a vehicle has already been sold, I then apply to the coutt for an order for its return and for the DVLA to make over the name and address of anyone applying for a V5.
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#44 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 07 Mar 2015 18:38

Thanks Mark, that letter is fantastic, I'm going to copy it now and email it to both parties. Should I scan and attach any other documents or just send the email for now?

Jason, you are an absolute star. I just wish I had found this forum earlier, you've all been brilliant and I feel somewhat empowered, even if it's only short lived(hopefully not).

Pote, the property was empty for a couple of weeks before the mortgage company repossessed it but I'm not sure where I stand with that one, can you be charged council tax for an empty property?

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#45 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 07 Mar 2015 18:43

Sorry, me again. I've got a couple of email addresses for the council and not sure which one to send it to? One is counciltax@ the other is housingbenefit@ then there is a huge list of names and email addresses on their website. Which one do you think would be best to send it to?

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#46 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 07 Mar 2015 18:45

The CEO of the council. Get it here http://www.ceoemail.com/uk-government.php#ukcouncils
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#47 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 07 Mar 2015 18:55

Cheers Jason, there's nothing on there for the old council, typical.

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#48 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 07 Mar 2015 18:59

I've just got a list up of service managers. Should I send it to Legal and Democracy manager or the treasurer in Financial Management or just send it to counciltax@ ?

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#49 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Pote Snitkin » 07 Mar 2015 19:15

Tigerlilly wrote:Cheers Jason, there's nothing on there for the old council, typical.
Which council is it? (PM if you want).
On 29/07/17, Compo said "If you are interested I actually typed the word label. My spell checker interpreted it as liable" Discuss.

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#50 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 07 Mar 2015 19:55

Thanks Pote, the email has been sent to both of the names you supplied at the council and the bailiffs. Time for a gin I think! One last question, can the bailiffs call out on a Sunday? I've read on another post that they arrived at somebody's property last Sunday at 9.30am. Yikes....

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#51 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Pote Snitkin » 07 Mar 2015 19:58

Yep, they can come any day. Always remember, you don't have to let them in.
On 29/07/17, Compo said "If you are interested I actually typed the word label. My spell checker interpreted it as liable" Discuss.

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#52 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Andy » 07 Mar 2015 21:57

You don't have to deal with them full stop.
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#53 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 08 Mar 2015 11:24

jasonDWB wrote:It a mortgagee was in possession then the mortgagee is liable for empty council tax. Section 13 f the Local Government Finance Act 2012.
I think that the mortgagee took possession of the property in March, leaving a few weeks where Tiger was liable for tax on 2 addresses. The relevant section of the LGFA is 6 (liability).

The LGFA also provides for a council to reduce the amount payable. If this is simply a case where the benefit allowance has been transferred from 1 address to the other, then I don't consider it unreasonable to ask the council to reduce the amount payable to what it would have been once the benefit had been applied. This would mean that the amounts already paid by Tiger could more than cover the shortfall. There is a very strong argument for this, not least because of the circumstances in which Tiger was forced to move address and also because the property was empty and Tiger was paying tax at her new address. It would be very mean for a council not to assist in this very exceptional circumstance.

We are of course still speculating as to what the debt relates to.

Tiger-You need to send a txt to the bailiff, as per my post #33. This should hopefully stop him visiting in the interim period, until the complaint takes effect. Hopefully, the council will respond with a full explanation as to what this debt relates to but there is nothing stopping you writing to them, asking the following:
1. What period did this debt relate to?
2. The amount of the original debt
3. The amount charged for the summons and liability order
4. The amount already paid
5. The amount now outstanding, excluding bailiff fees.

Once we have that information, we will be able to see what they're charging for and hopefully get it all sorted.

Do you think that you were up to date with your payments when you left on 12th Feb?

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#54 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 08 Mar 2015 12:18

Hi Mark, yes I was liable for two addresses but didn't want to sit around in the old house waiting to be evicted. My payments were up to date when I left as I was on JSA and claiming council tax benefit, this is what the council are saying...they have made an overpayment of £88. But an overpayment to who? Where did it go? I've emailed the letter you kindly wrote to two heads at the council so hopefully someone should reply to this though judging by the silence from my previous letter two weeks ago I won't hold my breath!

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#55 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 08 Mar 2015 12:46

They will respond to a formal complaint, trust me.

if I were to make a guess, going on what you've posted, I would say that you are only entitled to benefit for one address. The council will have given you £88 in benefit from the period 12th Feb-31st March. They have taken this back and you now owe the full amount for that period. It is very exceptional circumstances and not of your choice. Anyone with an ounce of decency would realise the predicament that you were in and assist you. Councils do not think like that though and see you as a means of providing them an income.

If you've sent the txt to the bailiff, I'm hoping that enforcement will be suspended and he will not visit. If he does visit, you should not, under any circumstances let him in.

Going forward, once we get the bailiffs stopped, we need to challenge the fact that the council have charged you the full amount for an empty property, whilst you were on benefits. It seems to me to be a grey area within the legislation and that the obvious (and decent) thing to do, is for the council to reduce the amount owing back down to what it would have been if you were receiving benefit. If they do not do so, you will be able to take your case to the Local Government Ombudsman and hopefully, she will intervene on your side.

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#56 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 08 Mar 2015 14:39

The council will ignore the complaint, instead will chronicle the original debt in a loooong essay. DWB standard reply is something like this...

On [DATE OF THEIR REPLY] I received an almost completely off-topic and fundamentally irrelevant response to my letter before action. Your officer, [NAME OF COUNCIL EMPLOYEE WHO REPLIED TO YOUR ORIGINAL COMPLAINT] appears to have failed to comprehend my carefully explained bases for claim.

His response demonstrates that he obviously spent a lot of time and effort chronicling the historical background to the principal debt, unfortunately without realizing that the validity of the principal debt has never been, and is not, in issue.

Furthermore, [NAME OF COUNCIL EMPLOYEE] was either unaware of, or else completely ignored, my complaint of [NAME OF YOUR ORIGINAL COMPLAINT] which explicitly stated that the issue regarding the grounds of my original complaint was no longer salient. Consequently, [NAME OF COUNCIL EMPLOYEE] again spent lots of effort dealing with this non salient issue and even expanding it to cover the bailiffs, whilst failing to address the substantive matters that I raised.

Quite obviously [NAME OF COUNCIL EMPLOYEE]'s response utterly fails to create any settlement prospects. Hence, I shall shortly issue proceedings against [NAME OF COUNCIL OR CREDITOR] in both the County and Magistrates Court.

Amy, please add to library.
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#57 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 08 Mar 2015 16:22

In this particular instance, it is likely that the council will not uphold the complaint in the first instance. This is because there is no real meat on the bone within it. It was sent quickly, in order to allow breathing space by getting enforcement suspended. The second letter (which will also serve as the stage 2 complaint) will consist of a much stronger argument. The council will then have the opportunity to resolve it or allow it to go to the LGO.

It is likely that the law is on their side here-The case centres around the reasonableness of charging someone on benefits the full rate for an empty property.

Remember also that Tigers initial problem was the bailiff issue. Our first priority was/is to stop enforcement and ensure that £235 isn't added to the account. Once that is achieved, we can look into what the arrears are for and whether we can dispute them.

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#58 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 09 Mar 2015 19:51

Update...I've received this email today

Thank you for your email below and I am sorry to hear of the problems you are currently experiencing. Your email has been passed to xxxxxxxxxxx, Director of Revenues & Benefits, who has responsibility for this service area, and a full response will be provided to you in due course.

Kind regards

Assistant to Managing Director (Transformation)

At least somebody has acknowledged the email, unlike my letter :? Still don't know where I stand with the bailiffs though. Nobody has called out as yet, does this mean they will lay off while I'm in dispute with the council?

Thanks for all your advice so far, you've been so helpful.

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#59 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 09 Mar 2015 22:15

Hopefully, enforcement action will have been suspended. Did you txt the bailiff and tell him that a complaint had been sent in?

It wouldn't harm, to respond to the email, thanking them for their speedy response and also asking them to confirm that enforcement is currently on hold.

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#60 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 10 Mar 2015 00:11

Will do that first thing tomorrow morning Mark. I didn't text the bailiffs as the the number was landline. I did include them into the email I sent to the council so they would have received the same email of complaint. Will keep you posted, thanks again.

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#61 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 10 Mar 2015 08:12

You can text landlines.
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#62 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 10 Mar 2015 10:29

Emailed the council this morning and have just received a reply:

Good Morning

I can confirm that Enforcement action has been suspended whilst your complaints to both ourselves and xxxxxxxx are investigated. A full response will follow in due course.

Thank you, you lovely people! Without finding this site I wouldn't have had a clue and carried on paying these extortionate charges. At least I have a bit of breathing space.

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#63 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 10 Mar 2015 13:43

Excellent.

We will now be able to challenge the figure, safe in the knowledge that you haven't got to worry about bailiffs turning up. If we lose the argument and you have to pay, the worst case scenario is that you will need to find £3.50 a week. If we win, hopefully, the council will credit your account and that will be the end of the matter. I can't guarantee which way it will go but we can try. A plus side is that if we do lose, you can now negotiate an affordable repayment plan, without the bailiff visiting and charging another £250.

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#64 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Tigerlilly » 18 Mar 2015 14:03

Hi again, I've received an email back from the council regarding the debt and the bailiffs. It's a long winded email so will copy the last bit of the summary. Apologies also, I thought the house was repossessed in March 2013 it was actually May 2013, it seems like a lifetime ago. Here's the final summary:

Having reviewed your account and the information received I can advise that an exemption class "C" has now been applied from the date you vacated the property to 31st March 2013. Following on from this a 50% empty property discount has been applied from the 1st April 20113 to May 2013 being the date of repossession. All appropriate reductions have now been applied to your account and these adjustments have reduced your outstanding balance to £153.15.

Rossendales have been instructed to return your accounts to the Council Tax Service who will make the necessary arrangements to set up an Attachment of Benefit to clear your outstanding balance by direct deductions from your benefit.

Can I just say a massive THANK YOU to everyone on here for your help. Without this site I would have now been dealing with the bailiffs and all sorts of extra charges added on. I'm not sure what to do now though, accept the amount owed or contest it? I was still liable for the property until May even though I was unemployed and not living there. Thanks all x

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#65 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Schedule 12 » 18 Mar 2015 15:04

Well done Mark 160 for solving another bailiff problem.
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#66 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Andy » 18 Mar 2015 15:08

Another defeat for the bailiff, and for CAG.
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#67 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Mar 2015 16:35

Great news and you seem fairly happy with this outcome. It is entirely up to yourself whether you want to challenge the amount owed. Perhaps you could just write one more letter asking them to take your circumstances into account? That will give you time to think about it. You are under no pressure now as there is no threat of bailiffs ever visiting and the attachment will ensure that payments are always made. You may want to send this letter. Again, I would address it to the CEO:
Dear Sir/Madam

I have now received confirmation that my account has been returned from the council and that an attachment of benefits will be set up shortly. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the council for the speed in which this matter has been dealt with.I have one final point that I wish to raise for your consideration and have set it out below:

I was forced to leave my home as it was in the process of being repossessed. It was impossible to find accommodation that would allow me to move on the day that my home was repossessed. I found alternative accommodation some weeks before the home was repossessed. This created a window whereby I became liable for tax on two separate properties. I was in receipt of benefits at the time but the system only permits council tax relief to applied for the property that benefit is claimed from. This scenario has created what appears to be an impossible situation. Whilst on state benefits (which is the minimum deemed required to live on) a person should surely not be expected to pay council tax on a second (empty) property? I believe it is unreasonable for the council to have expected me to have to pay this when the whole situation had been forced onto me. I do not believe tenants are treated in the same way when they leave an empty property?

I am aware that the Local Government Finance Act (1992) (LGFA)provides for a billing authority the facility to reduce the amount of which a person is liable for, indeed, the authority has the power to reduce this figure to nil. I believe my situation is exceptional. I was suffering financial hardship then and am again presently. The facility within the LGFA is clearly in place for exceptional and deserving cases. I would respectfully ask you to consider utilising this power in my case. I do not believe it is reasonable to expect a person who is in receipt of benefits to pay tax on an empty property. To do so would take that person below the poverty threshold. My feeling is that my case is exactly the type of scenario that the provision within the LGFA was implemented for.

Thanking you for considering this request

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#68 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Pote Snitkin » 18 Mar 2015 17:47

It's going in the right direction. Class C exemption (where you pay nothing on empty properties) was abolished in April 2013, so that's why they've not applied in beyond that. After that date, it was left to the discretion of each council as to what discounts they apply. Your council applies a 50% reduction on empty properties after that date.

You need to establish what the £153 comprises of. Have they removed all bailiff and court fees? How much was the original bill before bailiff fees? It still seems too high considering what you've already paid.
On 29/07/17, Compo said "If you are interested I actually typed the word label. My spell checker interpreted it as liable" Discuss.

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#69 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Afrochap » 18 Mar 2015 18:05

Hello,

Pls accept my apologies for putting my own baillif issues on someone else's post.


A baillif visited and dropped a letter with the head in Attendance Notice To Take control of Goods. This was for a balance of council tax from about 3 years ago, which I've been paying back at the rate of £20 per month, however I've missed some payments. The baillif added an extra £110 from increasing the money owed from £119.50 to £229.50.

I contacted the baillif the next day to make arrangements to pay but this was refused on the grounds that I've not kept up with previous agreement (please note that the original owed was over £700 and I've brought it down to £119.50). I went over to their website and made a payment of £30 and also asked them to send me breakdown of the £110 charge. I received this breakdown a few days later showing it was for Van, I wrote them back immediately telling the charge is illegal based on new rules coming to effect in 2014 and should be removed, but they wrote me back saying they've charged me based on the old rules as the account was from then and giving me until 22 March to pay the balance or else enforcement will commence.

I've tried to get information on the old rules but have been unsuccessful. Please, could you tell me if they can do this? I've been previously charged the following Visit fee 1 £24.50 Visit fee 2 £18.00 Levy £47.00 And 4 times £1 of payment by Debit card. Please be advised that I have never allowed them into property and there has never been the walking possession thingy.
Thanks

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#70 Re: Council Tax Bill For Old Property & Enforcement Notice

Post by Pote Snitkin » 18 Mar 2015 18:15

They are bullsh***ing you. There are no van fees any more. It makes no difference when the debt started, they can only charge what is in place now.

I assume they put this in writing? You can now use this in a formal complaint to the council, showing they are trying to add illegal fees. Remind the council that they are liable for all actions the bailiff takes.

Also, card payment fees have been unlawful for a number of years now, so you want those refunded. It doesn't matter that the amount is small, it's the principle and adds to the complaint of their unlawful charges.
On 29/07/17, Compo said "If you are interested I actually typed the word label. My spell checker interpreted it as liable" Discuss.

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