Category: Council Tax

Bailiffs: What can they really do?

The Truth About What Bailiffs Can Really Do!

If you’ve been visited by an bailiff enforcement agent, it can be a very stressful situation, both for you, and your family. An enforcement agent is someone who has been authorised by the Council to visit your property with the sole purpose of recovering unpaid debts, such as Council Tax arrears. It’s important to know your rights and what bailiffs legally can and can’t do. Firstly, remember that bailiffs are regulated on what they actually do and not what they say. This means that they can sometimes give you conflicting and misleading information.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what they can and can’t do.

Note: Bailiffs are now also referred to as Enforcement agents, they carry out the same duties.

Can bailiffs force entry into my property?

In most cases, bailiffs are not allowed to force entry into someone’s home. However, in some scenarios, they are allowed to use ‘reasonable force’. This only applies if they have been granted a court order, or if you have previously given them permission to enter your home upon visiting. They are not allowed to push past you or break your windows. If they only have a liability order, make sure you do not let them inside, as this will make matters worse. A liability order allows them to chase you for unpaid council tax debt.

If you’re received a bailiff letter or visit, call Council Tax Advisors today for FREE advice and mediation – we’re able to negotiate an affordable and sustainable repayment plan for you.

What if they keep adding on fees every they visit?

Enforcement agents are allowed to add fees, fortunately, these fees can only be applied once onto each account. This means that if you owe council tax arrears for just one year, you should only expect one set of fees to be applied. As an example, if you owe council tax arrears for a period of 4 separate years, you will likely receive fees for each individual year. Here’s a breakdown of the current fee structure:

  • Compliance Stage – Once your case is passed to the enforcement agent from the local authority, you will be charged £75
  • Enforcement Stage – If a bailiff visits your property, they can charge you £235 for this visit. There is also an additional 7.5% for debts that exceed £1,500.
  • Sale of Good Stage – If a bailiff removes items from your home or prepares them for sale, they will charge you £110, plus an additional 7.5% for debts that exceed £1,500.

Can enforcement agents take my car away?

If you’re in council tax debt, bailiffs do have the power to clamp and remove your vehicle if you own it i.e. it is not on any type of finance. The clamp will be removed and/or the vehicle returned, once you have repaid the outstanding debt. Some people mistakenly believe that if they park their car on their driveway, or at their neighbour’s address, this will prevent the car from being clamped, this is incorrect. We advise that if you do own a vehicle, that you park it as far away from the property as possible, within walking distance should be fine. Essentially you want to get the vehicle out of sight.

Remember, if a bailiff incorrectly clamps or removes someone else’s vehicle, who is not liable for council tax, you need to contact the council, and enforcement agency directly to make a complaint for unlawful action. If a vehicle has a log book loan attached to it, or it’s on hire purchase, no action can be taken as these are not fully owned by you.

Bailiffs have threatened me with locksmiths and removal trucks

As mentioned previously, if an enforcement agent only has a liability order and you have not let them inside your home previously, they can’t enter. Most cases don’t go beyond this stage, they can only enter your home with a locksmith if they have been granted a court order to do so. Generally speaking, it should only escalate to this stage for much larger debts. Unfortunately, even if you only owe £600 + fees, bailiffs will still say that they’re going to return with a locksmith and removal vans. They use this as an intimidation tactic to scare people so they find the money by any means necessary.

Sometimes bailiffs will give you misleading information, if you’re unsure about what to do and need help, speak to one of our specialist advisors. We’ve helped thousands of people resolve their council tax arrears and bailiff issues.

OK, but he said he’s coming with two removal trucks tomorrow

Don’t be alarmed. They’re trying to intimidate you. If you’ve been told by a bailiff that they will return with a removal van, just ignore them, the key thing to remember is, NEVER let an enforcement agent inside your property. If they want to park outside your home for 2 hours, let them sit there and continue with your day as you normally would.

Key Advice

  1. Always keep your doors and windows locked at all times
  2. Do NOT let a bailiff / enforcement agent inside your property
  3. If they do show up, do not engage with them, give us a call

Each individual case can differ, if you’re experiencing bailiff and enforcement issues, contact our expert advisors, we provide FREE advice and mediation services, we’re able to do the following:

  • Contact the local authority (council) and enforcement agent on your behalf
  • Get bailiff and enforcement action placed on hold for up to 28 days
  • Mediate and negotiate an affordable and sustainable repayment plan for you

Call us today or alternatively complete the form on our website to request a call back

 

 

Earnings arrestment orders – what are they and how do I stop one?

earnings arrestment orders scotland

How to stop an Earnings Arrestment Order

Have you received a letter from a sheriff officer such as Scott and Co or Stirling Park about an earnings arrestment order (also know as a wage arrestment) for unpaid council tax? Are you unsure what to do next? This article will explain what an earnings arrestment order is, why you’ve got one, how to stop an earnings arrestment and where you can get help with it.

When do you get an earnings arrestment order?

An earnings arrestment order is one of the ways that a council can recover unpaid council tax. Before an earnings arrestment order can be put in place, the council must have followed a procedure that is set out in law.

The first time and second times you miss a monthly council tax payment, the council will send you a reminder letter. The letters give you seven days to pay the outstanding amount.

If you do not pay your first or second missed council tax payment within seven days of receiving the reminder letter or if you miss a third payment, you will receive a final notice. The final notice will state that you have 14 days to pay the entire amount that is outstanding for the rest of the year.

If you miss a council tax payment for any reason, you may find it helpful to seek independent debt advice. Independent debt advisors such as Council Tax Advisors can provide free and impartial advice about how to sort out the problem.

If you do not pay your council tax after receiving a final notice or do not get in touch with the council to try to arrange payment, the council can apply for a summary warrant from the Sheriff Court.

The summary warrant will be sent to you by a sheriff officer.

Sheriff officers are private companies who have been given the power by the Sheriff Court to enforce court orders such as summary warrants. Councils hire sheriff officers to enforce summary warrants for unpaid council tax on their behalf. Two of the biggest firms of sheriff officers in Scotland are Scott & Co and Stirling Park, but there are many others and they can even be individuals working for themselves.

The summary warrant sent to you by the sheriff officer will include details of the amount of council tax you owe, plus a 10% penalty. It will also have details of the sheriff officer you need to contact to arrange payment of the debt.

When you receive a summary warrant, you have 14 days to get in touch with the sheriff officer and start to put a repayment plan in place. If you would like help with this, contact Council Tax Advisors who can negotiate on your behalf free of charge.

If you do not come to a repayment arrangement with the sheriff officers, they can ask you for information such as the name and address of your employer, your National Insurance number, your bank account details or the name and address of anyone else who is liable to pay your council tax with you. You must provide the information they request within 14 days or you may be fined.

At this point, the council will go back to the Sheriff Court to obtain a charge for payment. This usually lasts for 14 days. If you have not made arrangements to repay your council tax before then, the sheriff officer has the power to take the money you owe using the information you have given them. There are several ways they can do this. They can freeze your bank accounts, take money from your bank accounts or remove belongings from your home and sell them. They can also put an earnings arrestment order in place.

What is an earnings arrestment order?

An earnings arrestment order is an instruction to your employer to deduct money from your pay packet. Your employer automatically deducts a set amount from your wages and sends it to the court. This amount will be deducted from each pay packet until the debt is repaid. The court will decide how much money will be deducted from your pay packet each time. The total amount that you owe will be the amount of council tax that is outstanding, plus administration fees for the sheriff and your employer and interest.

The amount that will be deducted from your wages each time is calculated using a set formula. It depends on how much money you earn, including commission, bonuses and statutory sick pay. It doesn’t take into account any other debts or outgoings you may have. You will always be left with at least 60% of your net income (your income after tax). If your earnings change, so will the deductions.

Earnings arrestment orders cannot be placed on some people. If you are self employed, receive unemployment benefit or are in the armed forces, you cannot have an earnings arrestment order.

Before an earnings arrestment order is valid, all the steps in the previous section of this article must have been carried out. You must also have received a Debt Advice and Information Package (DAIP). This gives advice on dealing with debt and the options open to you. If you do not receive a copy of the DAIP, the earnings arrestment order is not valid.

An earnings arrestment order can have very serious consequences. Some employment contracts may say that an earnings arrestment order is a disciplinary matter. This may mean you could lose your job.

How can you stop an earning arrestment order?

There are several ways you may be able to stop an earnings arrestment order being carried out.

You can ask your council to put a repayment plan in place. If they agree to this, you can apply to the Sheriff Court for a suspended attachment of earnings order. However, if you don’t keep up the repayments you have agreed with the council, it can apply for another earnings arrestment order.

You may be able to claim that having an earnings arrestment order could lead to disciplinary action from your employer meaning that you could lose your job. This would mean that the council would not get the money that is owed to them.

You could consider a Debt Arrangement Scheme, which is a debt payment programme managed by the Scottish Government. When you have a debt payment programme (DPP) in place, you commit to repaying your debt based on your disposable income (the money you have left after paying all your bills) each month. A DPP can last any reasonable length of time, depending on the amount you owe and how much you can pay. You apply for a debt payment programme through an independent money advisor and they negotiate with your creditors (the people you owe money to) on your behalf. When a DPP is in place, all interest, fees, penalties or other charges owed are frozen. Your creditors are also prevented from taking any further action against you.

If you have debts of at least £5,000, you could consider putting a Trust Deed in place. A Trust Deed transfers your rights regarding your assets to a registered trustee. The registered trustee negotiates the repayment process with your creditors on your behalf. Each month for an agreed period of time, you will pay a sum of money agreed between the registered trustee and your creditors (the people you owe money to). The registered trustee must be a registered insolvency practitioner.

Where can you get help about an earnings arrestment order?

If you have received an earnings arrestment order, the most important thing to do is get help. Organisations such as Council Tax Advisors, which is the UK’s leading Council Tax advice organisation, provide all the help and support you need. First and foremost, their help will mean you are no longer alone. They have all the information you need at their fingertips and can advise on all the options open to you. They can negotiate with the council and the sheriff officer on your behalf. They can help to put affordable repayment plans in place. They may even be able to have your earnings arrestment order removed. And, in the case of Council Tax Advisors, all their services are free of charge. So if you have got problem debt or are worried about an earnings arrestment order, get help today. Independent and free advice from Council Tax Advisors is only a phone call away.

Ultimate Guide To Stop Wage Arrestment in Scotland – Stop Action Today

wage arrestment scotland

How to stop a Wage Arrestment for Council Tax

Are you struggling with council tax debt in Scotland?

Council tax debt can place severe strain on both you and your family. The payments can quickly pile up if unpaid and the tactics that can be used to recoup this debt can be particularly harsh.

One such tactic is known as wage arrestment.

Under this process the council can ask your employer to take regular deductions from your wages to repay the debt you owe.

If you are facing the prospect of wage arrestment, or are concerned about it being used to recover council tax debt, this article explains in clear terms exactly how it works and how it can be avoided.

If you would like to speak to a specialist adviser about wage arrestment you can call, or complete the form on this page, to access free, immediate professional advice.

The worst possible response to council tax debt is inaction

By speaking to our advisors you can avoid the increasingly drastic tactics that are used to recover this debt. You place yourself back in control.

There are no easy solutions to debt, but by taking positive steps you can avoid the most negative consequences.

If you need to understand just how wage arrestment is used, and what you can do if you are at risk of having it used against you, then read on to find out more.

If you are ready to take action and find a solution to your council tax debt in Scotland, then contact us today for advice and information. Call us or complete the form on this page.

What is wage arrestment?

Wage arrestment is increasingly being used to recover council tax debt in Scotland.

Under this tactic your employer is instructed to deduct money from your wages. Your employer must deduct an amount from your net earnings (that is your earnings after tax and national insurance) on each pay-day. This deduction must then be passed on to the council to pay off your council tax debt.

Although widely used for council tax debt wage arrestment can be used for other forms of debt as well.

Indeed it is part of a set of procedures that are collectively known as diligence against earnings.

  • Wage arrestment is used to collect a single debt
  • Current maintenance arrestment is used to enforce the payment of maintenance, such as that awarded by a court during a divorce settlement
  • A conjoined arrestment order is granted by the court to enforce payment of two or more of the same type of debts

The important point to note here is that a conjoined arrestment can be used for two or more wage arrestments that are in place at the same time but not for an earnings arrestment and current maintenance arrestment.

Need to speak to someone about wage arrestment? Our team of advisers are available to talk today. For a confidential, free consultation call us or complete the form on this page.

When can wage arrestment be used?

The usual process prior to a wage arrestment for council tax debt is as follows:

  1. Reminder
  2. The normal method for paying council tax is in 10 monthly instalments. If you miss a payment, the council should send you a reminder giving you seven days to pay the outstanding amount.

  3. Final notice
  4. If you fail to pay the missing instalment after a reminder, however, you will lose your right to pay by instalments. In this case you will receive a final notice giving you 14 days to pay the whole amount outstanding for the remainder of the financial year.
    (It is still possible with some councils at this point to negotiate to pay in instalments if you contact them directly.)

  5. Summary warrant
  6. If this lump sum is not paid then the council can apply to the sheriff court for a summary warrant. This is a certificate from the sheriff court stating the amount of council tax you owe.

    You do not have to be told that the council are applying for a summary warrant. Likewise you will not have the opportunity to negotiate with the court before one is granted. You will only know about it the summary warrant when you receive notification of it in the post.
    The summary warrant is issued by the sheriff officers. It will state the amount due and who to contact to arrange to pay this. Your payments are no longer made to the council but to the sheriff officers. The amount due will have increased as there is an automatic penalty fine of 10% when a summary warrant is issued.

  7. Arranging repayments
  8. At this stage you can arrange to repay the money at a rate that is comfortable for you. If you decide to do so make sure you come to an arrangement that you will be able to stick to. It is better to pay a little regularly over a longer period of time than to try to stretch yourself and risk missing payments.

  9. Charge for payment

If you do not come to a repayment arrangement the sheriff officers can ask you to provide any of the following information:

• The name and address of your employer
• Your national insurance number
• Your bank account details
• The name and address of anyone else who is liable to pay your council tax with you

There is an additional fine if you fail to provide this within 14 days.

In the meantime the council will obtain a charge for payment. You should get advice to check that these legal documents are correctly filled in because if your name or what you owe is incorrect the documents may not be valid.

Also, when this charge for payment is served on you it must be accompanied by a Debt Advice and Information Package explaining your rights and encouraging you to go for advice. If this is not done any attempt to arrest your wages is illegal.

You can check what the Debt Advice and Information Package should look like by downloading this PDF from here.

Once this charge for payment expires, usually after 14 days, sheriff officers have powers to get the money from you by:

• Arresting your earnings
• Freezing your bank accounts
• Taking money from your bank accounts
• Removing belongings from your home and selling them

It is not too late to act once a charge for payment has been issued. Before it expires you can still make arrangements to put in place a repayment plan. Doing this will prevent the actions listed above from being taken.
There are many stages where you can take control of your debt rather than having it managed for you. If you need to speak to a skilled adviser for a free consultation call us or complete the form on this page.

Who can receive a wage arrestment?

The fact is that most of us can receive a wage arrestment: in brief, anyone who is employed (apart from serving members of the armed forces) can have their wages arrested.

• You must be employed as opposed to self-employed (self-employed people cannot have their earnings arrested)
• You must not be on benefits (such as unemployment benefits)
• You must not be in the armed forces
• Your debt must be more than £50

How much of my wages can be taken?

There are strict rules about how much money can be taken from your wages, and also procedures in place to govern what happens if more than one creditor tries to arrest your wages.

The amount taken depends on how much you earn. Any payments for commission, bonuses or statutory sick pay will be considered as part of your wages.

You can get more advice about how much can be taken towards your debts by speaking to one of our specialist advisers.

Need to know just how much of your wages may be at risk? Speak to a adviser today: call us or complete the form on this page.

How will my employer react?

It’s unlikely that any employer is going to look favorably on what is an increased administrative burden. It is their legal duty to deduct whatever the courts insist from your wages. Your employer can also deduct a £1.00 administration fee every time the money is taken from your salary.

Wage arrestment can be uncomfortable for you at work but it is not likely to be more than that. However, you may, as a condition of your employment, have a clause in your contract that states that wages arrestment is a matter for which you should be disciplined. This is often the case in work in, for example, financial institutions.

In such circumstances you can apply to the court for a Suspended Attachment of Earnings Order. If you can supply compelling reasons why the wage arrestment should be suspended, you may be able to prevent it. One such reason may be dismissal or disciplinary proceedings at work.

If you need advice about any aspect of wage arrestment contact us now to speak to our team of advisers. Call us or complete the form on this page.

Who are ScotCall Debt Collection Agents and What Powers Do They Really Have?

ScotCall, now known as Fidélité CM, is an award winning credit management business and debt collection agency. This company effectively utilises technology in order to create a network of agents, a customer portal and agent tracking. Fidélité take their responsibility as a debt collection agency seriously and are therefore associated with the highest regulatory standards. Conducting regular audits and continually challenging their work practices, you can rest assured that Fidélité operate within the industry guidelines and maintain all of the relevant codes of conduct. The agents at Fidélité are professionals and will utilise their technological solutions to provide their clients with fast and efficient collections.

Fidélité debt collection agents will be sent to your door on behalf of their clients to collect any outstanding arrears on primary or secondary debt streams. These agents have the ability to provide their financial and utility clients with an effective and bespoke locate and collect services. When Fidélité debt collection agents contact you, they will be looking to understand your current financial situation and provide you with accurate information on how to resolve your account. The debt collection agents have been trained to make collecting your outstanding debt a positive experiencing that will provide you with the information you need. However, it is important to know exactly what you rights are if a Fidélité debt collection agent does visit your home.

Falling behind on credit or utility repayments happens to thousands of UK residents every year. With the cost of living on the rise, it can be all too easy for debt to increase. If your outstanding has got out of hand and the situation is beginning to spiral out of control, you may be visited by a Fidélité debt collection agent to reclaim the debt. Despite popular belief, debt collection agents do not have unlimited power and ultimate authority. It is imperative to understand that a Fidélité debt collection agent has no right to enter your home without your permission. They must be invited in by you and you only. If you do allow the Fidélité collection agents to enter your home peacefully they have the right to begin claiming your possessions in order to repay your outstanding debts to their clients.

Once you have let the debt collection agents in one, they are entitled to re-enter your home whenever they choose to return again. This is exactly why letting in a Fidélité debt collection agent is not a decision that should be made under pressure. If you do not grant entry to the Fidélité agents on the first occasion, you will still be well within your rights to reject them again at t a later date. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that debt collection agents are still able to take possessions from outside of your home, such as your car, if you have failed to come to a satisfactory repayment agreement.

It is common misconception that debt collection agents can force entry into your home whenever they want. On the other hand, it is crucial to bear in mind that if Fidélité or their client take your outstanding debt to the court, they will be given a court order that will allow them to enter your home using “reasonable force.” They will also be able to use reasonable force if you have already granted them peaceful entry once before. There are many rumours that are born out of fear of debt collection agencies regarding the collection process. If a Fidélité has to use to enter your home, they will not be able to use physical violence or be able to break windows.

The most effective way of dealing with Fidélité debt collection agents is to try and arrange a repayment plan with them directly, in a neutral environment. It is likely they will contact with you via phone or post before it gets to the stage of a home visit. This is the best time to deal with Fidélité debt collection agents openly and honestly. Regardless of your financial circumstances, the Fidélité agents want to work with you to find an appropriate outcome that suits you, their creditors and themselves. Dealing with Fidélité openly is the fastest way to deal with your outstanding debt. You can even pay your outstanding debt by utilising Fidélité’s online customer portal. However, if you and the debt collection agents cannot come to a realistic agreement regarding your repayments, or Fidélité reject your repayment suggestions, it may be time to seek advice from a highly qualified debt advisory service.

Council Tax Advisors CIC have an extensive experience dealing with Fidélité debt collection agents and have all the knowledge and advice you need to tackle you debt problems. We are a specialist debt advice Community Interest Company. CTACIC will be able to help you create a realistic repayment plan that works for you, your creditors and Fidélité debt collection agents. We can act as a buffer between you and the debt collection agents by providing you with continuous advice and support. If you are concerned about Fidélité debt collection agents visiting your door, contact CTACIC here today.

The rising tide of council tax bills – get help before the bailiff comes knocking

For most people, debt isn’t something they planned. For most people, one minute they were managing to pay all their bills every month, even if sometimes it was a bit of a stretch. The next minute, they had to start making decisions about which bills they could afford to pay and which bills they couldn’t. They find themselves falling behind on gas or electricity bills or have stopped paying their council tax bills.

Does that sound like you? Have you had to start doing things like ignoring your council tax bills because you just can’t afford to pay them?

Unfortunately, there are serious consequences if you ignore your council tax bills – you could even end up with the bailiffs at the door. However, there are things you can do to get back control and avoid a visit from the bailiffs.

We’ll tell you more about what you can do if you cannot pay your council tax bill in this article. But if you’d like to speak to someone to get free advice and support about your situation now.

The serious consequences of ignoring your council tax bills

If you can’t pay your council tax, ignoring your council tax bills may seem like one way of dealing with the situation. But it is never a good idea because the bills will not go away.

You’ve probably heard that if you can’t pay your council tax, you can expect a visit from the bailiffs where they collect some of your possessions to sell to repay your debt. It’s certainly true that the thing that many people who can’t pay their council tax fear the most is a visit like this.

But did you know that bailiffs (or enforcement agents, which is their official name) have several other powers to try to collect the money from you apart from carrying out ‘exceptional attachment’ (the official term for them collecting your possessions to sell)?

For example, bailiffs can have an attachment of earnings order put in place. This means that money can be deducted directly from your pay packet until the debt has been repaid. If you are unemployed or receive benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit or Universal Credit, bailiffs can arrange for money to be taken directly out of those.

All these things sound very scary – and they are. But it is important to know that calling in the bailiffs is the last resort for councils trying to collect unpaid council tax. In fact, bailiffs can only be appointed after your council has tried to collect the money from you in other ways. These ways are all laid out in law. So if you have been ignoring your council tax bills because you can’t afford to pay them, now is the time to take action before it gets to the point before the bailiffs can be called in.

Read on to find out what you can do.

What you can do about paying your council tax bills

If you are struggling to pay your council tax bills, the best thing you can do is contact your council to tell them. You can negotiate with them to put a repayment plan in place. It is important to make sure you can afford to keep up the payments you agree with them. If you won’t be able to afford the payments, you will find yourself falling behind again and having to deal with all the stress and worry that comes with it.

To make sure you can afford to make the payments you agree with your council, arm yourself with the information you need before you contact them. Do this by drawing up a budget and working out what you can afford to pay. If you would like help with this. We help hundreds of people a day so we’ve got the experience to help you draw up a budget and work out what payments you can afford. We can also negotiate with your council on your behalf so you don’t have to deal with this. All the help we offer is free of charge so you’ve got nothing to lose by calling us.

Other options for when a repayment plan isn’t an option

If you haven’t been paying your council tax bills because you are having to deal with lots of other debts, arranging a repayment plan with your local council may not be the solution you need. You might need to look at how you can get all your debts under control at once.

There are a few different ways to do this. There are Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), Debt Relief Orders (DROs) and there is bankruptcy. The one that is right for you will depend on your circumstances. We can help you decide which one you need.

When you take the first step towards getting control of your debts all at once, you will feel a huge weight lifting from you because you will be starting the process of stopping the stress of being in debt.

Get help to tackle your council tax bills

For most people, it was something unexpected that caused their circumstances to change and for them to have fallen into debt. It might have been an unexpected large bill. It might have been redundancy or a long term illness. Whatever it was, they find themselves going from someone who was in control of their finances to someone who wasn’t.

If that sounds like you, the chances are that you’re feeling lonely, scared and out of control. It’s time to start taking back control by contacting Council Tax Advisors. We will give you practical help and invaluable advice to help you get back on track. We don’t charge for any of our services, so take the first step today.

In debt with Council Tax? Act today to avoid tomorrow’s knock at the door!

Bailiff Debt Advice

Are you in debt with your council tax? This article will tell you what can happen if you have unpaid council tax, including when you might get a knock at the door from the bailiffs. It will also tell you what you can do about sorting out council tax debt.

But the most important thing you can do if you have got council tax debt is to get help. If you call Council Tax Advisors today you can start sorting out the problem. We provide all the support and advice you need free of charge.

The problem with council tax debt

You probably know that it is important to pay your council tax. In fact, if calls to our helpline are anything to go by, you were probably paying your council tax right up until the moment when you simply couldn’t afford to pay it because of all the other bills you have to pay.

But have you stopped to consider why it is important to pay your council tax? It is because it is a priority debt. Other priority debts include mortgage repayments, rent and gas and electricity bills. There are serious consequences if you don’t pay a priority debt. For example, you could lose your home if you don’t pay your mortgage or rent or you could have your non-essential goods seized by a bailiff to be sold to repay your debt.

If you have council tax debt, it is important that you get the problem sorted out as quickly as possible. You can start the process today by calling us. We will give you all the advice and support you need.

What happens if you don’t pay your council tax?

Before we look at the options for sorting out your council tax debt, let’s take a look at what can happen if you don’t.

After your council have tried to collect the debt from you several times (there is a formal process they have to follow to try to collect the money), they can apply to the magistrates court for a liability order. This is a legal demand for payment. If the debt is still not paid they can apply for an enforcement order. When an enforcement order is granted, they will appoint enforcement agents (also known as bailiffs) to collect the money on their behalf.

Bailiffs have certain powers to collect the money on the council’s behalf. They can apply to have an attachment of earnings order put in place. Attachment of earnings means that money will be deducted from your wages each month until the debt is repaid. For many employers, it is a disciplinary offence to have an attachment of earnings order against you. This could mean you could face disciplinary action or even be dismissed from your job. An attachment of earnings order could therefore have very serious consequences.

If you receive any benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit and Universal Credit, bailiffs can arrange for money to be deducted from these.

Bailiffs can also carry out what is known as exceptional attachment. This is when they visit your home to take your possessions to sell them to recover the debt. There are plenty of rules and regulations around how a bailiff must treat if you they visit and the items they can and cannot take. Despite these, a visit from the bailiffs can be a very stressful and embarrassing experience that most people want to avoid.

If you would like to avoid any of these things happen, read on to find out what the options are when you seek help.

How can you sort out your council tax debt?

If you want to avoid attachment of earnings or exceptional attachment, it is important to seek help as soon as you can. Council Tax Advisors was set up to provide advice and support to people with council tax debt. We negotiate with bailiffs and councils on behalf of our clients and specialise in helping them get their debt problems under control. All the help we provide is free of charge and we help hundreds of people every day, so we are experts in what we do.

The first thing we always recommend people with council tax debt do is try to put an affordable repayment plan in place with their council. We can help them work out what they can afford to pay each month and we can also negotiate with the council on people’s behalf.

If you have got other debts apart from council tax debt, you might need to look at formal options that can help you get control over all of them. We’ve given you a summary of them below. If you need a formal debt solution, we can advise you on the one that is most suitable for you and give you all the support you need to put it in place.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is an agreement between you and your creditors to pay all or part of your debts using a single regular payment to an insolvency practitioner.

Debt Relief Order (DROs)

Having a Debt Relief Order (DRO) in place means that your creditors cannot recover their money without permission from the court. DROs are designed for people who owe less than £20,000, have less than £50 per month spare, have less than £1,000 of assets (this means homeowners cannot apply for a DRO), have lived or worked in England and Wales in the past three years and haven’t applied for a DRO within the last six years. With a DRO, you are usually freed from your debts after 12 months.

Bankruptcy

If you cannot pay your debts you can declare yourself bankrupt. You declare yourself bankrupt by applying to the court for a bankruptcy order. When the bankruptcy order is issued, you will have to follow certain bankruptcy restrictions such as not borrowing more than £500 without telling the lender you are bankrupt. You will normally be released from your debts and the bankruptcy restrictions will be lifted after 12 months.

Contact Council Tax Advisors today

If you are struggling with council tax debt – or any other kind of debt – the best thing you can do is take action. By contacting Council Tax Advisors you will be taking control of the situation and putting yourself back in charge.

Rossendales Bailiff Enforcement Agents – what to do when they come knocking!

Rossendales Bailiffs and Rossendales Collect Debt Collection Agency

Are you expecting a visit from bailiff enforcement agents from Rossendales? Don’t panic, read on. We’ll explain who Rossendales are, why their bailiff enforcement agents are visiting you and – most importantly – what you can do about it.

Who are Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents?

Rossendales Ltd provide bailiff and warrant services to local government and the public sector. They were established in 1972 and are one of the biggest bailiff enforcement agents in the country. They collect over £92 million on behalf of their clients every year.

As bailiff enforcement agents, Rossendales have the legal power to collect debt on behalf of their clients. They have over 140 clients including district and city councils, metropolitan and unitary authorities, London boroughs and consortiums.

They are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They pride themselves on working to their clients’ policies on social inclusion, customer care, equality, environmental issues and diversity. This means that if you deal with them you can expect them to treat you fairly and reasonably. At the same time, they know that their clients are under pressure to collect unpaid debt and will always be acting in their best interests not yours.

If you have got problem debt and things have reached the point where bailiffs are about to be used, the size of Rossendales means it is highly likely that it is one of their bailiff enforcement agents you’ll be dealing with.

However, even if you have received a letter from Rossendales and are expecting a visit from them, it is not too late to sort things out. We help hundreds of people who have problem debt every day. Call us for free help and advice on how to handle Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents.

When can you receive a visit from Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents?

Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents collect debt on behalf of public sector bodies such as councils.

This means they can become involved when court warrants are issued to collect debt such as council tax arrears, missed Child Support Agency payments, road traffic fines, tenant arrears and housing benefit overpayment.

If you have got problem debt in any of these areas and a court warrant has been granted to collect the money, Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents could be appointed by your creditors (the organisation you owe money to) to collect the money on their behalf.

If you have received a court warrant or a letter about a visit from Rossendales, don’t panic. Get in touch with us. We will give you all the advice and support you need free of charge.

What rights do you have when Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents visit your home?

Like all court bailiffs, Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents have certain powers given them by law. However, there is a lot of fear and mystery around what they can and can’t do. It is important that you understand your rights so you know the best thing to do if they visit your home.

If Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents visit your home you DO NOT have to let them in. You must invite them in. If you decide to let them enter, they can begin to take your possessions to repay your debt.

It is important to know that if you have let them enter your home once, they can enter your home again if they need to visit to collect more possessions to repay your debt. If you decide not to let them enter on their first visit, you can also refuse to let them enter on future visits. So it is important to consider your options very carefully on their first visit.

It is also important to know that Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents can collect possessions from outside your home (such as your car) whether you let them in to your home or not.

Many people believe that bailiffs such as Rossendales are allowed to use unreasonable force to enter your home. This is not true. Bailiff enforcement agents cannot force their way into your home by breaking a window or using violence. However, if they hold a court order, they can be entitled to enter your home using reasonable force. Reasonable force includes forcing a door. This means they can enter your home even if you have not invited them in.

Knowing that in some circumstances bailiff enforcement agents such as Rossendales can use reasonable force to enter your own can make your debt seem even more frightening. If that’s the case, it’s important to seek advice as soon as you can. We help hundreds of people in debt each day so there is nothing to be embarrassed about. And because our service is free, you don’t have to worry about the cost. Call us now.

What can you do if Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents visit your home?

If you receive a visit from Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents, your best course of action is to be open and honest with them.

Try to arrange to repay your debt with them. If you cannot afford to repay the debt in a lump sum, try to arrange a repayment plan. If you try to arrange a repayment plan, you must make sure that you can afford to make the payments so you do not get into any deeper debt.

However, Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents can refuse your repayment suggestions and suggest their own instead. If you cannot afford their suggestions, it is even more important to contact us for our help.

We have lots of experience in dealing with Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents on behalf of people in debt. We can help you create a repayment plan that you can afford and is approved by your creditors (the organisations you owe money to) and Rossendales bailiff enforcement agents.

Perhaps even more importantly, our help will mean you are no longer alone. We will act on your behalf, saving you stress and fear. We will give you all the advice and information you need. In short, we will help you sort out your debt and help you get your life back on track.

Owe money to Rossendales bailiffs? Don’t panic, free help is here!

Stop Rossendales Bailiffs

Have you had a letter from Rossendales bailiffs saying that you owe them money? Not sure what to do next? Council Tax Advisors is here to help. In this blog we’ll explain who Rossendales bailiffs are, the process that led up to you receiving a letter from them and the powers that they have. Most importantly, we will also tell you how you can deal with them.

We help hundreds of people who have problem debt and many of them have been contacted by Rossendales bailiffs. The advice and support we give is free of charge. So if you have got problem debt and have been contacted by Rossendales bailiffs, get in touch with us today. We can help!

Who are Rossendales bailiffs?

Rossendales are one of the biggest bailiff companies in the country. This means that if you have got problem debt and the bailiffs have become involved, Rossendales may well be the bailiffs you are dealing with.

Rossendales have over 140 clients including district and city councils, metropolitan and unitary authorities, London boroughs and consortiums.

Rossendales provide enforcement services. This means they have the legal power to collect debt on behalf of their clients. They collect over £92 million on behalf of their clients every year.

As a reputable company of bailiffs, you can expect Rossendales to treat you fairly and reasonably. However, they will always act in the best interests of their client not you. So if you would like advice on how to deal with Rossendales bailiffs, get in touch with us today for free advice and support.

When do Rossendales bailiffs get involved?

Rossendales bailiffs collect debt on behalf of public sector bodies such as councils.

This means they can become involved to collect debt such as council tax arrears, missed Child Support Agency payments, road traffic fines, tenant arrears, legal aid debt and housing benefit overpayments.

Rossendales bailiffs will only become involved after your creditor (the organisation you owe money to) has tried to collect the money you owe to them in other ways. Let’s take unpaid council tax as an example.

The council must have sent you reminder notices about the unpaid council tax. The council will send you a reminder notice giving you seven days to pay the first time you miss a payment. If you don’t pay within seven days, you’ll have to pay the whole year’s council tax instead. You’ll be sent a second reminder notice if you miss another council tax payment. If you miss a payment for the third time the council will send you a final notice saying you must pay the whole year’s council tax.

If you do not pay the unpaid council tax after these notices have been sent, the council can take legal action. They will ask a magistrate for a liability order, which is a legal demand for payment.

If you do not pay after receiving a liability order, the council can apply for an enforcement order. This allows them to appoint bailiffs such as Rossendales to collect the money from you.

If you have reached this point, it isn’t too late. We will give you all the advice and support you need free of charge.

What can Rossendales bailiffs do?

Because Rossendales are enforcement agents, they have got certain legal powers to try to collect the debt from you.

Once an enforcement order has been granted, Rossendales bailiffs can ask for information from you so they can arrange to have the unpaid council tax taken directly from your wages or from any benefits you receive. These benefits include Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit and Universal Credit.

The enforcement order also means that Rossendales bailiffs have got the right to visit your home and take goods to sell to repay the debt.

What are my rights when Rossendales bailiffs visit my home?

Knowing that bailiffs have been appointed and may visit can be very scary. But knowing your rights may help you feel more in control.

Like all bailiffs, Rossendales can only visit between 6.00am and 9.00pm. They must also give you at least seven days’ notice before their first visit.

You do not have to let Rossendales bailiffs into your home. You do not even have to open the door to them. You can communicate with them through a chained door, a window or a letterbox. However, even if you do not let the bailiffs in, they can still take things from the outside of your home such as your car.

Once you have let Rossendales bailiffs into your home for the first time, they are automatically permitted to re-enter if they need to return to collect more possessions to repay your debt. This means you should consider the decision to let them in for the first time very carefully.

Rossendales bailiffs cannot force entry into your home by pushing past you or breaking a window. However, if they have been given a court order or if they have been allowed to enter on a previous occasion, they can use “reasonable force” such as forcing a door.

When Rossendales bailiffs visit your home, you might think it is too late to repay your debt. This is not the case.

There are several options.

You can contact your creditor to pay. You can also pay the bailiff, although you must get a receipt from them if you do this. If you cannot afford to repay the debt in a lump sum, you can try to arrange a repayment plan. If you try to arrange a repayment plan, you must make sure that you can afford to make the payments so you do not get into any deeper debt. If you would like free help with any of this, contact us today.

Don’t deal with Rossendales bailiffs alone

For most people, debt is something they never planned. Being in debt and being contacted by Rossendales bailiffs can be a very frightening and lonely experience. But you are not alone! Council Tax Advisers receives hundreds of call a day from people who are in debt. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We can help by speaking to bailiffs on your behalf, negotiating with your council for you and arranging a repayment plan you can afford. Our services are free of charge and we are here to help you. So if you have got problem debt and would like help getting back on track.

Bailiffs – The Top 5 Myths Debunked

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One of the biggest problems people face when dealing with bailiffs is knowing what a bailiff legally can and cannot do. Over the years the public image of the bailiff has evolved into that a financial bogey man – an all-powerful figure ringing the death knell of your financial situation. While bailiffs do hold a lot of power – more so than a debt collector from a debt collection agency at any rate – they are still governed by a strict set of laws. By understanding these laws, and what bailiffs legally can and can’t do, you will find that dealing with bailiffs becomes much, much easier. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 bailiff myths and shone a light on them.

1. Bailiffs can force entry on their first visit

A bailiff does not have the power to kick down your door and enter your property uninvited. They cannot stroll up to your door for the first time and force their way in – that is entirely illegal. Once invited in, a bailiff can force entry the next time they visit your property to collect on your debt. If your back door is unlocked they can legally enter your home however, so make sure to lock your doors and seek expert advice as soon as you’re contacted by a bailiff.

2. Bailiffs can charge unlimited fees

This is completely untrue – the amount bailiffs can charge is all under statute and regulated by law. For each of the three stages of their collection process (compliance, enforcement and sale,) the bailiff can charge a fixed fee, set out by law, and a percentage fee charged on any money to be recovered over £1500. Fees can only be charged once for each of the stages.

3. There is a prison sentence for people who can’t pay their council tax

The British Government does not lock up people who don’t have the means to pay their council tax. People who don’t pay their council tax are summoned to court and undergo a means assessment. If you are found to be wilfully neglecting your repayments, then you may face a prison sentence. If you simply do not have the means to pay the council, that is a different situation entirely.

4. If you don’t pay your council tax your debt goes on your credit file

Council tax arrears do not affect your credit rating. Councils do not share tax details with credit reference agencies. Council arrears and fines do not affect your credit file in any way, shape or form.

5. It takes weeks to get an appointment with a debt counsellor

If you call us today to discuss your financial situation you will have the opportunity to talk to a debt councillor. We will be able to offer you all the advice you need for dealing with bailiffs on the very same phone call. The sooner you seek the independent expert advice you need, the sooner you can start solving your council tax problems. On top of this, we don’t charge for any of the advice we give, nor any of the other services we provide. If you need help with your debts and need to speak to a debt counsellor, make sure you call us today.

The role of a Sheriff Collecting Council Tax Arrears in Scotland

 

In Scotland there aren’t bailiffs. Unfortunately this isn’t quite as good news as it sounds. Much like Bailiffs are called repo men in America, Bailiffs are called Sheriff officers in Scotland and their roles are fairly similar.

What do Sheriff officers do? Sheriff officers are subjects of the court and are often employed by firms to enforce court orders, such as eviction notices or debt enforcement much like the bailiffs of England and Wales. If you are behind on your Council Tax, you may receive a visit from a Sheriff Officer following a letter to remind you of your payment.

So what powers do Sheriffs have? Much like Bailiffs, Sheriffs are not police. They don’t have the power to arrest, but they do have the power to remove items that belong to you, inside or outside of your home, to accumulate monetary worth to the value that you owe.

The main difference between Bailiffs and Sheriffs is that Sheriff often has the right to enter your home. With the right documentation a Sheriff can come into your home, and use reasonable force in order to enter whereas Bailiffs are not allowed to enter if you refuse. If you suspect that you’re going to be visited by Sheriffs, we suggest you make a call to Council Tax Advisors to get advice on your next steps, so you can avoid having your belongings confiscated.

Alternatively, if they have already come and you haven’t answered the door, you may be advised to pretend you’re not in for now – Sheriff’s may not force entry on a home (break down a door or smash a window for access) when you’re not in, unless they are enforcing an eviction.

If you have the money that you owe, it is still possible to call them when Sheriffs arrive and make a payment.

If a Sheriff has to break into your home to gain entry, the chances are the costs of this will be sent back to you as a part of the Sheriff’s fees.

Dealing with Sheriff officers such as Scott and Co is slightly more complicated than dealing with Bailiffs, and their rights are a bit more tricky, but Council Tax Advisors know how to handle all situations, so if you think you’re going to be visited by a Sheriff officer, or you already have been and don’t know what to do, seek advice from the specialists.

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You can get free debt advice from the Money Advice Service,
an organisation set up by the government to offer free and impartial advice to those in debt. Just click the link above to find out more.

Refresh Debt Services Ltd t/a Council Tax Advisors
Address : Milltown House, Milltown Industrial Estate, Warrenpoint, Co. Down, BT34 3FN

Refresh Debt Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No 674160
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