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BRISTOW AND SUTOR BAILIFFS:
HOW TO STOP BAILIFF ACTION

Have you been visited by a Bristow and Sutor bailiff due to unpaid Council Tax, Business Rates or a Benefit overpayment?

If you have, don’t panic, Council Tax Advisors are the leading not-for-profit organisation who specialise in helping people just like you stop bailiff action and set up affordable repayment plans, ensuring you retain your possessions and can get your life back on track.

So, how can Council Tax Advisors help you solve the problems you face with Bristow & Sutor Bailiffs?

  • We will speak to the Bailiff Enforcement Agent on your behalf
  • We will arrange for a temporary hold on Bailiff visits to be put in place
  • We will negotiate with your local council for you
  • We will arrange an affordable, sustainable repayment plan for you
  • We do all of this completed free of charge as we are Not-for-Profit Community Interest Company
Lady 3

“Indeed for the first time I received letters from the council which were considerate. I thank them for all their professionalism and assistance in dealing with my matters. ”
H Singh

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WHO ARE BRISTOW AND SUTOR?

Bristow and Sutor Enforcement Agents are bailiffs, established in 1977, working in the UK on behalf of local authorities and private landlords (in England and Wales only) to collect unpaid rent, Council Tax, Business Rates and Benefit overpayments.

They are members of The Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA), The Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) and The Credit Services Association (CSA).

Bristow and Sutor contact details:
Web: www.bristowsutor.co.uk
Tel: 0871 677 0070
Address: Bartleet Road, Washford, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 0FL

BRISTOW AND SUTOR COUNCIL TAX COLLECTION

Bristow and Sutor Enforcement Agents work on behalf of more than 120 local authorities to collect unpaid Council Tax and Non-domestic Rate arrears. If you owe Council Tax, Business Rates or Benefits overpayments, and are not able to pay it within seven days of receiving a final notice from your local council, they can apply to the Magistrates for a legal demand for payment called a liability order. If you are still unable to pay and no solution can be found, the council have the right to send debt collection agents from Bristow and Sutor to either discuss repayment options, or, as a last resort, to seize your property.

BRISTOW AND SUTOR RIGHTS OF ENTRY

Bristow and Sutor Enforcement Agents are only given rights of entry to your home on rare occasions, such as if the Magistrates have issued a liability order on behalf of the council, or, in the case of business premises, if there is a Magistrates, High Court, or County Court fine payable. Bailiffs also have rights of entry to premises where they have been inside the property before. In these cases only, will Bristow and Sutor have the right to enter your home using what is called ‘reasonable force’. ‘Reasonable force’ can mean using a locksmith or other specialist equipment to try to gain entry to your home. They can attempt to get into your home on any day of the week during their operating hours between 6am and 9 pm. If you are worried about forced entry by bailiffs then please contact Council Tax Advisors for help and advice on 01452 687 340 or fill in the contact form on this website.

Man 7

“We would just like to say a big thank you for your help and support over these last few months. If it wasn’t for your company we would have still been struggling to get any result with the issues we had”
Dean

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WHAT FEES CAN BRISTOW AND SUTOR CHARGE?

On top of any money you owe to the council, you may also be liable to pay Bristow and Sutor Enforcement Agent’s fees at each stage of the debt recovery process:

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

COMPLIANCE

In the case where bailiffs are not acting under a High Court order, and the debt is below £1500, they can charge you £75 just for writing to inform you of your debt and issuing an enforcement notice.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

ENFORCEMENT

If the case goes to the enforcement stage, when bailiffs have the right to enter your home or business and take control of your property and belongings, a £235 fee will be due.

Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

SALE or DISPOSAL

At the sale stage, when the bailiffs can remove and sell off your property to cover the cost of your debt, a fee of £110 will be payable.

If Bristow and Sutor are acting under a High Court order there are some differences to the charges:

  • Stage 1: Compliance £75
  • Stage 2: First enforcement £190
  • Stage 3: Second enforcement £495
  • Stage 4: Sale or disposal £525

If your debt is over £1500 and there is no High Court order in place, a percentage fee of 0% will be charged at the compliance stage, 7.5% at the enforcement stage, and 7.5% at the sale stage.

If the debt is over £1500 and there is a High Court order you will be charged 0% at the compliance stage, 7.5% at the first enforcement stage, 0% at the second enforcement stage, and 7.5% at the sale or disposal stage.
The bailiffs may also charge you for other costs they have incurred, called disbursements, such as for removals, storage of goods, locksmith and court fees.

Fees and disbursements can be taken out of any money raised from the sale of your belongings seized by the bailiffs, and if the costs are not all covered by this you will have to find another way of paying it.
Old, disabled, ill, or any other potentially vulnerable people must be offered help and advice before bailiffs can take possession of their belongings or charge any fees. Council Tax Advisors offer help to vulnerable people who are at risk of having their belongings removed. If you or someone you know is a vulnerable person who has received demands from bailiffs and you would like advice, contact us on 01452 687 340 or use the online contact form on this website.

If at the enforcement stage the debt has been paid or the debt recovery process stopped for whatever reason you will no longer be required to pay fees for stages that have not already started. However, if the bailiffs have already visited your home, this counts as the beginning of the enforcement stage and you will be charged the appropriate fee.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU RECEIVE A COMPLIANCE NOTICE FROM BRISTOW AND SUTOR

If Bristow and Sutor have written to you this means that the local authority has given them permission to make contact with you. The letter they send is called a Compliance Notice and you will typically have seven days from the date on the letter to come to an agreement about payment.

In addition to any money you owe the local authority, you will also have to pay Bristow and Sutor’s fee for each liability order they have received in relation to your case. For example, if the council has issued 10 liability orders you will be liable to pay an additional £750 in fees. It is very important that you do not ignore a Compliance Notice, as this could result in further action from the bailiffs. If you have received a Compliance Notice from Bristow and Sutor and want some advice on how to act, contact the Council Tax Advisors right away for help on 10225 667 667 or fill in the online contact form. .

Man 3

“I would like to say a massive thank you to everybody at council tax advisors without your help and support I still wouldn’t be able to sleep at night and would be living in constant fear of a knock at the door.”
C Cooper

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HOW TO DEAL WITH A NOTICE OF ENFORCEMENT FROM BRISTOW AND SUTOR

If you have not been able to agree payment of the Compliance Order from Bristow and Sutor within seven days, they can then issue you with a Notice of Enforcement. Sometimes you may be sent a letter warning you that the bailiffs intend to visit you, however, sometimes the enforcement agents will visit without any warning. If you are out the first time they visit they will post a notice through your door, alerting you to take immediate action to pay your bill.

Should you be at home when Bristow and Sutor visit, you do not have to invite them in. Even if you feel under pressure, it is important that you do not agree to pay a high amount that you know you cannot afford, as the enforcements agents will finalise the arrangement and you may find yourself in a worse position than before. Instead you should call Council Tax Advisors on 01452 687 340 for advice on what you should do.

And don’t forget that at this stage you will also be liable to pay the bailiff’s non-disputable fee of £235 for the enforcement visit! It soon adds up so that is why it is very important to get advice from Council Tax Advisors right away.

CONTROLLED GOODS AGREEMENTS AND WHEN BRISTOW AND SUTOR USE THEM

If at the enforcement stage an agent from Bristow and Sutor has been allowed to enter your home or business, either because you have let them in or they came in through an unlocked door then your belongings may be subject to Taking Control of Goods Regulations, also known as a Walking Possession.

This means that once the bailiff from Bristow and Sutor has entered your home or business they will make a detailed list all of your belongings and estimate the value of them in an inventory. This list can be included on a ‘Notice After Entry or Taking Control of Goods’, or on a ‘Controlled Goods Agreement’. No matter where the details are listed, the information must be clear enough for you to be able to identify everything on the list.

If you enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement with Bristow and Sutor, this will allow you time to repay what you owe. You can keep your belongings during this time; however, your property will still be under the control of the bailiffs until you have paid in full. If you break the agreement Bristow and Sutor are allowed to return to take away your possessions to cover the costs of your unpaid debt.

There are certain items that the bailiffs are not allowed to remove, including:

  • Refrigerator
  • Cooker/ Microwave
  • Washing Machine
  • Dining table and chairs
  • One telephone
  • Beds and bedding
  • Medical and safety equipment
  • Sufficient lamps and heating facilities
  • Assistance dogs
Council Tax Advisors - Council tax and debt advice

Only adults over the age of 18 can enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement, and must be authorised by the debtor if they are acting on their behalf. Also, items cannot be removed from a home where the only person living there is a child under 18, or a vulnerable person.

There is a time limit on when the bailiffs are allowed to take control of your possessions, and that is within 12 months from the date of the Notice of Enforcement. If you have made a repayment agreement with Bristow and Sutor but have broken it, the 12-month period within which they are allowed to seize your property begins from the date you broke the agreement. Enforcement Agents may be allowed to apply to the court to extend Taking Control of Goods for a further 12 months.

Council Tax Advisors do not recommend allowing bailiffs to enter your home, as this will put your possessions at risk. If you have already been given a Notice After Entry or Taking Control of Goods, or entered into a Controlled Goods Agreement you should urgently call Council Tax Advisors on 01452 687 340.

Couple 3

“We would highly recommend that anyone in a similar situation should contact you, it is incredible that you have helped us this much with no fee.”
Nigel and Kay Downham

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CAN BRISTOW AND SUTOR TAKE MY CAR?

Vehicles that are needed for work or study, valued under £1,350 will be exempt, if there is no alternative transport available. This rule does not apply if debts are for Business Rates. However, high value vehicles will be subject to removal except in the following circumstances:

  • It is a hire purchase car
  • The car belongs to someone else other than the debtor
  • It is used to transport a disabled person
  • It is an emergency vehicle
  • It is a vehicle used for self-employed business (not sole traders) or owned by a limited company
  • It is a motorhome, which is also your permanent home.

HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT BRISTOW AND SUTOR

If you feel that Bristow and Sutor have not acted within the law, or you want to complain about how they treated you, the Council Tax Advisors recommend that you write a letter to your local council, and also send a copy of the same letter to Bristow and Sutor.

BUSINESS RATES AND BRISTOW AND SUTOR BAILIFFS

If you are in arrears with Business Rates, your local council may appoint Bristow and Sutor enforcement agents to arrange repayment with you. In the case of owed Business Rates, bailiffs will have many of the same powers as for collecting unpaid Council Tax, however, there are some differences. If you are unable to pay your Business Rates, or come to a payment arrangement, or any goods seized do not cover the debt, the council will begin insolvency proceedings and you could become bankrupt. In extreme cases you could even go to jail. It is recommended to contact Council Tax Advisors in the first instance; they will be able to put you in touch with specialist organisations that can advise on Business Rates debt and what you can do.

Lady 3

“Indeed for the first time I received letters from the council which were considerate. I thank them for all their professionalism and assistance in dealing with my matters. ”
H Singh

View more feedback

CONTACTED BY BRISTOW AND SUTOR FOR BENEFIT OVERPAYMENTS?

Bristow and Sutor may also contact you in order to collect any benefits that you have been overpaid. If for whatever reason your local council has paid you too much benefit, they should write to you explaining why they overpaid and how much you will have to pay back. You can make an appeal if you think that you have not been overpaid, otherwise you will need to make arrangements to repay it.

If you do not pay, the council can apply for a County Court Judgment, the cost of which you will also be responsible for paying. The council will appoint Bristow and Sutor Enforcement Agents to collect the money on their behalf, following the stages described above. However, there may be some differences, so if in doubt you should contact Council Tax Advisors on 01452 687 340 or fill in the contact form on this website.

HOW TO CONTACT BRISTOW AND SUTOR

If you need to speak with Bristow and Sutor directly they can be contacted in the following ways:

www.bristowsutor.co.uk
Bristow and Sutor, Bartleet Road, Washford, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 0FL.
0871 677 0070

Specific Local Advice

For help and advice with a specific Bailiff/Enforcement Agency, please select from the list below

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