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.