Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

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Rick2468
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#1 Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 02 Feb 2016 07:42

Please bear with me as I recount my situation; I need some clear advice as to what my option are.

We vacated our house we owned in Belper Derbyshire in October 2009 and moved into rented accommodation in Bromsgrove (work reasons). The house in Belper was empty for some time prior to it being rented to private tenants; any Council Tax owed was paid on time by ourselves or our tenants. We advised Amber Valley Council of our new address in Bromsgrove. We moved out of our rented house into another house which we bought in August 2011; at the time we moved, the house in Belper was still be rented by our Tenants and they were paying the Council Tax, we didn't advise Amber Valley we had moved again - an oversight on our part.

Our tenants moved out in December 2014 and we put the house on the market to sell. It was sold in September 2015. During this period we received no correspondence from Amber Valley at the property in Belper. I received a call on my mobile phone from Rundles on 03/12/2015 saying they were acting on behalf of Amber Valley collecting Council Tax owed on the property in Belper. They had been sending letters to our previous address in Bromsgrove which obviously had garnered no response from the people there.

Rundles sent Enforcement Officers to the Bromsgrove property in July and October 2015 in relation to 2 cases (relevant periods were Jan-Mar 2015 and April-Sep 2015).

We have not paid the 2 enforcement charges associated with these visits (2 x £235). We consider that they did not apply the regulations* fairly or reasonably as they had the opportunity and the means to verify and confirm where we lived prior to sending out the enforcement officer, namely:

• They had a mobile telephone number for me – as proven when they made contact by phone on 03/12/2015

• They also had access to Land Registry information which can be used to check home ownership – as proven when they sent a letter to our current address soon after making telephone contact (I did not share my current address with them).

It was never our intention not to pay our council tax to Amber Valley; had any correspondence been sent to our current address or the address of the property in Belper we would have acted on this; note as soon as we were aware of the council tax debt we made arrangements to pay it and the additional charges levied (less the enforcement charges for the reasons stated above).

Am I right in thinking that this enforcement charge, if we refuse to pay, can only be recovered by Rundles through the courts (Small Claims Court?)?
Also what are my chances of me not having to pay this?

I'd really appreciate any sort of response and help on this.

{*Schedule 12. Regulation 14 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007: Otherwise premises are relevant if the enforcement agent reasonably believes that they are the place, or one of the places, where the debtor— usually lives, or carries on a trade or business.}

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jasonDWB
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#2 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 02 Feb 2016 11:19

I think you should make a written formal complaint letter addressed to the council, because the bailiff company did not send a Notice of enforcement to your current address and attended that address knowing the debtor had not been given notice.

It means the fees are all revoked.

Paragraph 7(1) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 reads:

  • (1)An enforcement agent may not take control of goods unless the debtor has been given notice.




Regulation 8 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 reads: (highlighted)

  • 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;

    (c)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;

    (e)where the debtor is an individual, to the debtor personally; or

    (f)where the debtor is not an individual (but is, for example, a company, corporation or partnership), by delivering the notice to—

    (i)the place, or one of the places, where the debtor carries on a trade or business; or

    (ii)the registered office of the company or partnership.

    (2) Notice must be given by the enforcement agent or the enforcement agent’s office.




Regulation 3 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 reads:
  • 3. These Regulations apply when an enforcement agent uses the Schedule 12 procedure.
As Paragraph 7(1) is a component of the Schedule 12 procedure, the fee schedule is not available.

Just get the council tax itself paid, and lodge complaint quoting the above legislation.
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#3 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 02 Feb 2016 20:33

Thanks for the reply Jason; note I have already paid the Council Tax, its just the 2 enforcement fees of £235 that I am not paying. I think follow the logic in your reply, thanks again.

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#4 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 03 Feb 2016 10:14

They can't charge two enforcement fees £235 in any event. One one.



Regulation 11 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 reads: (highlighted)

  • More than one enforcement power available against the same debtor

    11.—(1) This regulation applies for the purpose of calculating the fees and disbursements payable to the enforcement agent in accordance with regulations 4, 8, 9 and 10 in a case where—

    (a)the enforcement agent receives instructions to use the procedure under Schedule 12 in relation to the same debtor but in respect of more than one enforcement power; and

    (b)those enforcement powers can reasonably be exercised at the same time.

    (2) In paragraph (1)(b), “can reasonably be exercised at the same time” means in particular—

    (a)taking control of goods in relation to all such enforcement powers on the same occasion; and

    (b)selling or disposing of all goods so taken into control on the same occasion,

    except where it is impracticable to do so.

    (3) The enforcement agent may recover the compliance stage fee in respect of each enforcement power to which the instructions relate.

    (4) Where paragraph (1) applies, the fee recoverable in respect of the enforcement stage (or stages) and the sale or disposal stage respectively is to be calculated as follows—

    (a)the fixed fee for each stage may be recovered only once regardless of the number of enforcement powers to which the instructions relate;

    (b)the amount in relation to which the percentage fee for each stage, if any, is to be calculated is the total amount of the sums to be recovered under all enforcement powers to which paragraph (1) applies.

    (5) Where this regulation applies, the enforcement agent must, as far as practicable, minimise the disbursements recoverable from the debtor under these Regulations by dealing with the goods taken into control pursuant to the instructions together and on as few occasions as possible.
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#5 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 18 Feb 2016 12:02

Hi all, have received a text from Rundles stating that someone has attended my property with a Warrant of Control...I'm not there at the moment. Its stating that they may take control of my property in my absence. I called the Bailiff directly and he's threatening to take my wife's car... This is the first instance of them attending my property that I actually live in. Can he do this without a notice of enforcement?

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#6 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 18 Feb 2016 15:22

Just as a follow up, I have received a letter from Rundles, hand delivered, titled 'Attendance Notice to Take Control of Goods' It states that unless I contact him (the Enforcement Agent' he will 'return and complete his action to take control of my good in order to secure the debt outstanding'. The outstanding debt, as described in earlier post is 2 x Enforcement fees that I am refusing to pay (see above posts for more on that). Can I assume this letter is pretty much an empty threat?

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#7 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Feb 2016 15:54

Unfortunately, you are on shaky ground here. The bailiff will control your goods if he can get access to them. This normally will mean a car, if one is parked outside. He is not entitled to enter your home unless you grant him permission, Unfortunately, as I'm guessing you both own cars, the chances are that the bailiff will get hold of one sooner or later.

A slight chink in the armour may be that you have not received a notice of enforcement from Rundles at your normal address. This should render all subsequent fees invalid (although I'm sure that Rundles will argue differently).

I'm guessing that the bill has accrued from December 2014 until September 2015? Could it be that paperwork was sent to your previous address in Bromsgrove? A council are only obliged to send notices to your last known address.

I think that you are going to end up being liable for this debt. You need to contact the council and clarify where the bills and demand notices were sent. You need to state that you have not received a notice of enforcement, in compliance with the Schedule 12 procedure and wish to challenge the enforcement fee. Explain how Rundles did not send the notice to your usual address and that until they do so, all subsequent fees are invalid,

Explain that you would like to negotiate a repayment plan but first require the enforcement fee to be removed. Ask that enforcement action is suspended whilst this issue is resolved.

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#8 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 18 Feb 2016 17:22

Hi Mark, thanks for the reply, just to be clear here I have paid the Council Tax and yes I'm sure all the bills, demands and notices went to my previous address in Bromsgrove.
My research and guidance from others seems to indicate that enforcement agents may not take control of goods to recover their fees; this is a civil debt just like any other debt. Regulations do not enable a bailiff to take control of goods to recover fees without having a warrant of control.
I suppose the question is - does this 'Attendance to Take Control of Goods' letter constitute a warrant of control? Also note I have made a formal complaint to Amber Valley regarding Rundles actions quoting the regulations in the post from Jason so we'll see what happens next.

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#9 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 18 Feb 2016 17:26

No it doesn't.

A warrant of control doesn't exist in council tax enforcement. Its called a Liability Order.

The bailiff prefer to use the word "warrant" because it sounds more police-like than 'liability order.

You can add to your complaint.
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#10 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Feb 2016 17:39

Have you paid the tax directly to the council, minus the fees? I am not a fan of this method & would always advise to pay nothing at all. Once the council have your money, they are in a stronger position.

Jason is wrong-They can charge 2 enforcement fees, if they were received at different times. I would suggest that your 2 cases were indeed received at intervals. He is correct however by suggesting a complaint regarding non-receipt over the NOE.

I am concerned that bailiffs are continuing to visit you and also, you have received no complaint after 2 weeks. Rundles can return at any time, as long as they are not stopped. If there is some discrepancy the council really ought to suspend enforcement. I would get onto them tomorrow (ask to be put through to the recovery department) ask what the f**k is going on? Also ask them if they have passed any of the money you paid them onto Rundles.

You are probably going to have to cough up another £150 in compliance fees. These are legally added because it was your responsibility to inform the council of a forwarding address.

Alternatively, you can sit it out until these enforcement powers expire in July & October. The cars could possibly be at risk though.

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#11 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 18 Feb 2016 17:53

Mark1960 wrote: Jason is wrong-They can charge 2 enforcement fees, if they were received at different times. I would suggest that your 2 cases were indeed received at intervals.
I'm going to have to disagree.

The regulations say:
  • More than one enforcement power available against the same debtor

    11.—(1) This regulation applies for the purpose of calculating the fees and disbursements payable to the enforcement agent in accordance with regulations 4, 8, 9 and 10 in a case where—

    (a)the enforcement agent receives instructions to use the procedure under Schedule 12 in relation to the same debtor but in respect of more than one enforcement power; and

    (b)those enforcement powers can reasonably be exercised at the same time.
In this case, the bailiff is exercising the enforcement power at the same time.
  • (3) The enforcement agent may recover the compliance stage fee in respect of each enforcement power to which the instructions relate.

    (4) Where paragraph (1) applies, the fee recoverable in respect of the enforcement stage (or stages) and the sale or disposal stage respectively is to be calculated as follows—

    (a)the fixed fee for each stage may be recovered only once regardless of the number of enforcement powers to which the instructions relate;

    (b)the amount in relation to which the percentage fee for each stage, if any, is to be calculated is the total amount of the sums to be recovered under all enforcement powers to which paragraph (1) applies.
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#12 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 18 Feb 2016 18:03

Hi again, well here's the crux, I have paid everything except the 2 Enforcement Fees, so I have already coughed up the 2 x £75 Compliance Fees. I was told, by the Council, that I had to pay everything through Rundles so that's what I did. I spoke to the Council today who said that there was still an outstanding amount of £266.90 (somewhat random amount) against my debt. I explained that I had paid everything bar the 2 enforcement fees, I also put this in my formal complaint to them.
I will be in contact them again tomorrow.

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#13 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 18 Feb 2016 18:11

That looks like Rundles may have trousered some of the money paid to them in respect of council tax.

Do your formal complaint and see how the council tries to defeat regulation 11.

If you want to, and while you are at it. You can do a fee recovery on the liability order charges. Its only £3, but if the council did not show the magistrate any evidence of expenses in connection with applying for each liability order, then you can reclaim it.

The magistrate failed to ask for evidence of expenses giving rise to £75. That was the judgment of Nicolson Vs. Haringey.

If you paid £75 per liability order, then reclaim £72 because £3 is the court application fee as prescribed in Schedule 1(5) of the The Magistrates’ Courts Fees Order 2008.
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#14 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Feb 2016 18:15

jasonDWB wrote:
Mark1960 wrote: Jason is wrong-They can charge 2 enforcement fees, if they were received at different times. I would suggest that your 2 cases were indeed received at intervals.
I'm going to have to disagree.

The regulations say:
  • More than one enforcement power available against the same debtor

    11.—(1) This regulation applies for the purpose of calculating the fees and disbursements payable to the enforcement agent in accordance with regulations 4, 8, 9 and 10 in a case where—

    (a)the enforcement agent receives instructions to use the procedure under Schedule 12 in relation to the same debtor but in respect of more than one enforcement power; and

    (b)those enforcement powers can reasonably be exercised at the same time.
In this case, the bailiff is exercising the enforcement power at the same time.
  • (3) The enforcement agent may recover the compliance stage fee in respect of each enforcement power to which the instructions relate.

    (4) Where paragraph (1) applies, the fee recoverable in respect of the enforcement stage (or stages) and the sale or disposal stage respectively is to be calculated as follows—

    (a)the fixed fee for each stage may be recovered only once regardless of the number of enforcement powers to which the instructions relate;

    (b)the amount in relation to which the percentage fee for each stage, if any, is to be calculated is the total amount of the sums to be recovered under all enforcement powers to which paragraph (1) applies.
Jason

At the time the first LO was received (for the debt up to the end of the tax year, March 2015). There was only 1 debt. Rundles could not be expected to sit on this for 6 months, on the off chance that a second debt was passed to them.

The legislation is in place for situations where 2 or more debts are received simultaneously.

In this case, the 1st debt was received by Rundles and the acted on it by visiting. AFTER they visited, a 2nd debt came through. They then visited for that debt.

The regulations do not say that the enforcement agent must wait 6 months before visiting, just in case another debt is passed to them.

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#15 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Feb 2016 18:18

Rick2468 wrote:Hi again, well here's the crux, I have paid everything except the 2 Enforcement Fees, so I have already coughed up the 2 x £75 Compliance Fees. I was told, by the Council, that I had to pay everything through Rundles so that's what I did. I spoke to the Council today who said that there was still an outstanding amount of £266.90 (somewhat random amount) against my debt. I explained that I had paid everything bar the 2 enforcement fees, I also put this in my formal complaint to them.
I will be in contact them again tomorrow.
If you paid it to Rundles, they were legally entitled to take a percentage of their £235 fees.

You need to re-write your complaint, arguing that the 2 x enforcement fees should not have been added as you had not received a NOE for either.

Do this by email and ask for enforcement to be suspended. Hide your cars for a couple of days, just to be on the safe side.

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#16 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 18 Feb 2016 18:31

I'm not sure that is right the bailiff can take a percentage of the fee.

The regulations only provide for a percentage of 'proceeds of enforcement'

Proceeds of enforcement is money raised from the sale of goods to pay a debt, but in this case, the bailiff has not even taken control of any.



To take control of goods, the bailiff must do one of the following: Paragraph 13 of Schedule 12
  • (a)secure the goods on the premises on which he finds them;

    (b)if he finds them on a highway, secure them on a highway, where he finds them or within a reasonable distance;

    (c)remove them and secure them elsewhere;

    (d)enter into a controlled goods agreement with the debtor.


Section 62 defines "enforcement" to be:
  • taking control of goods and selling them to recover a sum of money
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#17 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Feb 2016 18:35

So every debtor who is visited by a bailiff need only pay him the amount on the LO plus the compliance fee?

Theres not much point having an enforcement fee if people don't have to pay it then?

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#18 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 18 Feb 2016 18:49

The enforcement fee is still due, but when the enforcement power under the liability order ceases, the bailiff cannot take control of goods in respect of it.
  • Payment of amount outstanding

    58(1)This paragraph applies where the debtor pays the amount outstanding in full
    (a)after the enforcement agent has taken control of goods, and

    (b)before they are sold or abandoned.

    (2)If the enforcement agent has removed the goods he must as soon as reasonably practicable make them available for collection by the debtor.

    (3)No further step may be taken under the enforcement power concerned.

    (4)For the purposes of this paragraph the amount outstanding is reduced by the value of any controlled goods consisting of money required to be used to pay that amount, and sub-paragraph (2) does not apply to that money.

If the bailiff were to take control of goods (using one of the 4 methods in Paragraph 13) to recover £235 enforcement stage fee alone, then the bailiff would be unable to take a further enforcement step.

He cannot sell the goods because that is an enforcement step.
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#19 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Feb 2016 19:00

If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, 58 is only relevant when goods are seized.(58[1][a])

The regulations also say that a bailiff may recover his fees-That may make it possible for him to pocket the whole lot if they are paid to him directly.

What I suspect will happen is that there will be an agreement with the council to split payments pro-rata

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#20 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Pote Snitkin » 18 Feb 2016 19:03

It would be money taken under the enforcement power. However if, as is said, the fee wasn't due then a refund is in order.
It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority. - Benjamin Franklin

On 22/2/17, Peterbard said "taking control of goods and selling them does not actually mean taking control of goods and selling them." Discuss.

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#21 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by jasonDWB » 18 Feb 2016 19:04

Splitting the payments and dividing it up is not in the enforcement regulations. He does not have to agree to it.

The bailiff and council would need to come to their own arrangement, or the bailiff seek their own legal action to recover the outstanding fees.

If the bailiff wants to use the schedule 12 enforcement procedure, he needs a judgment then apply for a warrant of control - just like anyone else with an unpaid bill.
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#22 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 18 Feb 2016 19:08

No-A bailiff can use the schedule enforcement power if a LO is obtained (Reg 45 council tax enforcement regs)

Any money paid directly to a bailiff is split pro-rata. There is no regulation that states that the payment should be handed directly to the creditor.

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#23 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 19 Feb 2016 12:45

Hi again everyone, first many thanks for your help and guidance on all these matters; it has really opened my eyes to the complexities of the law in these circumstances. Some good news at last, I have had direct contact with the council Recovery Manager, he has told Rundles to back off while he looks into this. He has intimated that he would consider some sort of compromise and that I should only be liable for one enforcement fee of £235; I've sent him another email explaining our personal circumstances as to why there was an oversight on our part and why we think the imposition of these fees, regardless of legal status, is overly punitive. I'm minded to take the offer should it be forthcoming.

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#24 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Rick2468 » 19 Feb 2016 14:31

Even better news, the council have instructed Rundles to drop the case....... :D . So happy right now. Cheers guys, don't be offended if I say I hope I never have to speak to you again...LOL

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#25 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Mark1960 » 19 Feb 2016 15:13

Congratulations. This was the correct decision IMO as the NOE was not issued in accordance with legislation.

If anyone out there is in any doubt that a formal complaint is not the right way to go, then this case should put your mind at ease. If rules and regulations were not breached in the first place, here would be no need to instigate complaints. Nobody should be made to feel guilty for complaining if they have been wronged.

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#26 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Amy » 19 Feb 2016 19:17

I think this should be moved to Sucesses.

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#27 Re: Bailiff Enforcement Fees/Rundles

Post by Pote Snitkin » 19 Feb 2016 19:20

Oh dear, and just as the Chimp has declared that sending formal letters helps no-one.
It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority. - Benjamin Franklin

On 22/2/17, Peterbard said "taking control of goods and selling them does not actually mean taking control of goods and selling them." Discuss.

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