Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Quash the Liability Order. Suspend Enforcement. Disputing Liabilities. Claim Damages for Misuse of Enforcement Power.
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Nessa
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#1 Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Nessa » 02 Mar 2017 19:41

Hi guys, hoping someone can help.

I live abroad and rent out what was my home in the UK. I fall liable for council tax when the house is empty and untenanted. This was the case last June/July. I use a letting agent to manage the property. The council send bills to them, who in turn pass them to me for authority to pay. The council tax had been calculated incorrectly so I asked the letting agent to go back and clarify...this has happened several times before, and the council usually amend the bill, resend and it gets paid. To cut a long story short, the council did not amend the bill this time and added a late payment charge onto my monthly instalments. The house was then tenanted in August. I paid the months I owed, at the amounts they asked for, even though I didn't think I should of had to.

I then get another bill in November for late payment. I remind my letting agent I have already paid council tax for June and July plus I have already had the additional late payment charge added during the time I queried the bill. He calls them and they refuse to discuss it with him.

Last week my parents received a letter to their home in my name (they open my mail on my behalf whilst I'm away) from Jacobs saying they were now collecting the debt from November. My parents received another today saying they were going to arrange a visit. my letting agent has phoned several times from receipt of the first letter and again today. Jacobs say they need to speak to the council. The council say they need to speak with jacobs.

Good grief. I mostly worried for my parents, they are elderly, and get scared by this sort of thing.

How should I deal with this. I'm thinking firstly a letter to jacobs saying none of my goods are at my parents property so to leave them alone.

Any advice would be really appreciatiated.

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Schedule 12
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#2 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Schedule 12 » 02 Mar 2017 19:50

As far as I know, the regulations don't provide for a late payment charge to be added to council tax. Only the cost of applying for a liability order.

If the bill is in dispute, then you need to challenge it, and ask the council to cease enforcement until the dispute is satisfied.

Bailiffs do not have a power to enter property. If you are living abroad, they cannot enforce against your goods in the UK. The law says you must be given notice. You bring abroad is evidence the notice has not been given unless the bailiff gave the notice to you abroad.

If a bailiff pesters your parents, then they call police on 999 reporting a disturbance. When they arrive, show the police some ID and they will take the bailiff from the property. Keep the chain on the door. If they can, capture it on video. Jacobs won't want to defend a claim for non-compliant enforcement against elderly persons. The bailiff is a commercial business to make a profit. You only have a duty to discharge a statutory liability.

If you get the council tax minus the fees paid to the council.The enforcement power conferred under the liability order is extinguished. It leaves an angry bailiff wanting his fees, but the law says they cannot take an enforcement step to recover them. You are well out of jurisdiction. They bailiff will have to take it on the chin and move on.
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Author: dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk

Nessa
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#3 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Nessa » 09 Mar 2017 13:01

Many thanks for your very kind reply jasonDWB, really appreciate your time.

I wrote to the council (chief exec....but was just passed by to council tax dept, even though I said they are unresponsive).

They have stopped the bailiff action, for now, but are adamant I still owe them. The first charge they have clarified was a summons cost of £63 plus the a liability order for £32 (which I think you said was allowable) and not a late payment charge as I previously said. This was added to my bill to pay by installments, which like I said above I did for the period the property was unoccupied. The charge for November I am still unsure about as I thought at the end of August I had paid the council all they required on the dates as stated in their demand notice. So I need to go back and get clarity.

But just 2 questions before I do, if someone wouldn't mind answering:
1)Something else the council have mentioned is a post liability order notice. Can anyone shed any light on what this is? I have received 2, one for the first bill in July and one for this November amount. Both post liability order notices whilst dated in July and November respectively show that a liability order was made on 6/7.I just don't understand what it is.
2) I am still adamant with them that I queried the bill in a timely manner so there was no need for court action. The arrears and court fees were their fault for failing to help resolve matters like they had in the past.
However have I acted unlawfully - should I have paid what they requested and then tried to sort it out post payment (although never done this in the past)? Can the council demand payment be made whilst the account is being queried?

Thanks for any help!

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Schedule 12
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#4 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Schedule 12 » 09 Mar 2017 15:32

Nessa wrote:
09 Mar 2017 13:01

But just 2 questions before I do, if someone wouldn't mind answering:

1)Something else the council have mentioned is a post liability order notice. Can anyone shed any light on what this is? I have received 2, one for the first bill in July and one for this November amount. Both post liability order notices whilst dated in July and November respectively show that a liability order was made on 6/7.I just don't understand what it is.

Regulations do not provide for a "post liability order notice". Its something the council has made up.

The law says you must be given a notice or a reminder (not both) before they apply for a liability order. As you are in Kuwait, giving you that notice is not possible. Likewise. A Notice of Enforcement. Enforcement fails because you are out of jurisdiction and cannot be given notice.


2) I am still adamant with them that I queried the bill in a timely manner so there was no need for court action. The arrears and court fees were their fault for failing to help resolve matters like they had in the past.
If you can show the liability order was applied for following a mistake by the council. You can sue the council for the recovery of the liability order fees added to the liability order. Do this when you get back to the UK. Until then, ask the council to refund you. Give your bank details for the council to pay the money.


However have I acted unlawfully - should I have paid what they requested and then tried to sort it out post payment (although never done this in the past)? Can the council demand payment be made whilst the account is being queried?

Thanks for any help!


If you havent done it yet, run the Beat the Bailiffs council tax enforcement checklist.
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Author: dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk

Nessa
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#5 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Nessa » 14 Mar 2017 06:41

Thanks for your kind reply once again jasonDWB, the council enforcement checklist was a huge help - you are a star! I am in the process of adding to my letter that I want to see disbursements for the liability order(s) as well as copies of said order(s).

Just a few questions that the checklist brought to light, hope you don't mind:

1) You said if I can show they liability order was applied for following a mistake by the council I can seek a refund. The trouble is they don't see it as a mistake. The bill for 350 days was £956, so they have simply divided the bill over the remaining 10 months from the 16/4/16 - being £56 in April and £100 thereafter. My argument was as this is a rental property and I wont be paying the full 10 months then I owe for April £41 (15/350*956). They would not listen to this. Is this indeed a mistake on their part? I think it is, they don't.......

2)l changed agents 3 times over the course of this, which I appreciate doesn't help matters. On several occasions the council say the spoke with my new agent but then sent the liability order notice, post liability order notices to the previous agents. They say this was because the new agents never informed them they were acting as the new agents(?). My argument is that they still went on to discuss details of my account with new agent not knowing who they were.....is that a breach of law, say data protection?

3) For the November debt, they say they sent me a council tax adjustment notice and arrangement notice on 21/9/16. Then on the 26/10/16 they sent me Arrangement Default Notice then finally a Post Liability order Notice on 9/11/16 advising of enforcement agents potential instruction. Should i also have received a final notice or reminder or does the post liability notice cover this especially as you said this does not really have any legal standing)?

4)I read that I can petition to write the debt off given I live abroad. I don't really want to do this as I am happy to pay what I owe, but could I use this to suggest that I could get out of paying but in fact I am trying to being reasonable?

5)In the letter I am drafting I am giving them an example of when they last miscalculated council tax and subsequently amended the amount due, asking why it couldn't have happened this time .I notice that in this instance they charged my council tax the day the tenant left as they said I am responsible from the day the tenant move out not he day after - this is the first time they have done this. I have heard conflicting points of view on this on who is liable, the tenant or the landlord and that law states its down to whomever takes ownership of the property at midnight.. in the council tax checklist it states section 6 Gov Finance Act 1992 that a person is liable for council tax if on that day he is resident. Can anyone clarify?

Many, many thanks for any help!

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Schedule 12
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#6 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Schedule 12 » 15 Mar 2017 10:26

Nessa wrote:
14 Mar 2017 06:41


1) You said if I can show they liability order was applied for following a mistake by the council I can seek a refund. The trouble is they don't see it as a mistake. The bill for 350 days was £956, so they have simply divided the bill over the remaining 10 months from the 16/4/16 - being £56 in April and £100 thereafter. My argument was as this is a rental property and I wont be paying the full 10 months then I owe for April £41 (15/350*956). They would not listen to this. Is this indeed a mistake on their part? I think it is, they don't.......

You will have to ask the Local Government Ombudsman to decide who is right. A well drafted argument with supporting evidence works well.



2)l changed agents 3 times over the course of this, which I appreciate doesn't help matters. On several occasions the council say the spoke with my new agent but then sent the liability order notice, post liability order notices to the previous agents. They say this was because the new agents never informed them they were acting as the new agents(?). My argument is that they still went on to discuss details of my account with new agent not knowing who they were.....is that a breach of law, say data protection?
No.

The bailiff is perforing a statutory function. Sections 29 and 34 of the Data Protection Act 1998.



3) For the November debt, they say they sent me a council tax adjustment notice and arrangement notice on 21/9/16. Then on the 26/10/16 they sent me Arrangement Default Notice then finally a Post Liability order Notice on 9/11/16 advising of enforcement agents potential instruction. Should i also have received a final notice or reminder or does the post liability notice cover this especially as you said this does not really have any legal standing)?

The regulations say you must be given a "final notice " or a "reminder" before the council applies for a liability order.

If the council admits giving it by post to an address you are not living at. The law says the service of the notice or reminder has not been effected. Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978. Everything that follows is invalid. You can apply for a quashing order under Section 82 of the Local Government Act 2003. You can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to apply for it.




4)I read that I can petition to write the debt off given I live abroad. I don't really want to do this as I am happy to pay what I owe, but could I use this to suggest that I could get out of paying but in fact I am trying to being reasonable?
You can apply for a discretionary write off. Remember, its the council that has discretion. If you live overseas, they know enforcement will come to nothing, so its pointless keeping it as an eternal bad debt on their books.



5)In the letter I am drafting I am giving them an example of when they last miscalculated council tax and subsequently amended the amount due, asking why it couldn't have happened this time .I notice that in this instance they charged my council tax the day the tenant left as they said I am responsible from the day the tenant move out not he day after - this is the first time they have done this. I have heard conflicting points of view on this on who is liable, the tenant or the landlord and that law states its down to whomever takes ownership of the property at midnight.. in the council tax checklist it states section 6 Gov Finance Act 1992 that a person is liable for council tax if on that day he is resident. Can anyone clarify?

The occupant is liable for the council tax for the days occupied. Otherwise, it falls to the freeholder. Sub-section 6(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 gives the following pecking order setting who is liable for council tax on a property.



  • A person falls within this subsection in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day if, on that day

    • (a)he is a resident of the dwelling and has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of it;

      (b)he is such a resident and has a leasehold interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling which is not inferior to another such interest held by another such resident;

      (c)he is both such a resident and a statutory, secure or introductory tenant of the whole or any part of the dwelling;

      (d)he is such a resident and has a contractual licence to occupy the whole or any part of the dwelling;

      (e)he is such a resident; or

      (f)he is the owner of the dwelling.




Many, many thanks for any help!
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Author: dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk

Nessa
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Joined: 02 Mar 2017 19:18

#7 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Nessa » 15 Mar 2017 11:10

Thank you so much once again JasonDWB for your reply. It has been a great help. Just 2 points for clarity....

2)l changed agents 3 times over the course of this, which I appreciate doesn't help matters. On several occasions the council say the spoke with my new agent but then sent the liability order notice, post liability order notices to the previous agents. They say this was because the new agents never informed them they were acting as the new agents(?). My argument is that they still went on to discuss details of my account with new agent not knowing who they were.....is that a breach of law, say data protection?
No.
The bailiff is perforing a statutory function. Sections 29 and 34 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Sorry, not sure I made myself clear. it was not the bailiff but the council who discussed my account with individuals they claim they did not know.
5)In the letter I am drafting I am giving them an example of when they last miscalculated council tax and subsequently amended the amount due, asking why it couldn't have happened this time .I notice that in this instance they charged my council tax the day the tenant left as they said I am responsible from the day the tenant move out not he day after - this is the first time they have done this. I have heard conflicting points of view on this on who is liable, the tenant or the landlord and that law states its down to whomever takes ownership of the property at midnight.. in the council tax checklist it states section 6 Gov Finance Act 1992 that a person is liable for council tax if on that day he is resident. Can anyone clarify?
The occupant is liable for the council tax for the days occupied. Otherwise, it falls to the freeholder. Sub-section 6(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 gives the following pecking order setting who is liable for council tax on a property.

  • A person falls within this subsection in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day if, on that day

    • (a)he is a resident of the dwelling and has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of it;

      (b)he is such a resident and has a leasehold interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling which is not inferior to another such interest held by another such resident;

      (c)he is both such a resident and a statutory, secure or introductory tenant of the whole or any part of the dwelling;

      (d)he is such a resident and has a contractual licence to occupy the whole or any part of the dwelling;

      (e)he is such a resident; or

      (f)he is the owner of the dwelling.

So this midnight rule is nonsense?

Thank you :D

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Schedule 12
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#8 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Schedule 12 » 15 Mar 2017 13:05

I don't know about a midnight rule. any ordinary person would believe that on that day means midnight to midnight. If anyone else has suggestions for an alternative, I'm open to them.

Sorry, not sure I made myself clear. it was not the bailiff but the council who discussed my account with individuals they claim they did not know.
If the council caused you a loss, you can sue for damages. I don't think there is much mileage here.
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Nessa
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#9 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Nessa » 11 May 2017 06:53

Hi Guys!

Sorry to resurrect this now old thread, but here is an update, and a further question....sorry!

I sent the letter to the council, requesting all documentation, evidence of disbursements to their claim and stating their miscalculation on previous council tax as stated above.

I sent this on 19 March, 2017.

I have not heard anything back, but yesterday my letting agent said another bailiff letter had been sent to them (not my parents this time) for a albeit lesser amount.

I didn't think they could demand payment whilst in dispute? Also has anyone any suggestions where i go from here? Do I try another letter? I would really appreciate any help.

Thanks in advance!

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#10 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Pote Snitkin » 11 May 2017 07:21

Why worry if you're in Kuwait?

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#11 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Schedule 12 » 11 May 2017 08:38

The bailiff cannot enforce the debt while you are in Kuwait. They know you are overseas and a statutory Notice of Enforcement cannot be given. Enforcement cannot start when a notice has not been given.

You told the council why it is disputed, but the council is trying to solve it by jumping straight to enforcement.
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Nessa
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#12 Re: Late Payment Charges? Bailiff Threatening Visit

Post by Nessa » 12 May 2017 04:27

Thanks for all your help guys, really appreciate it!

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