You got council tax bailiffs unexpectedly or without any warning

 

No Final Notice or reminder.

The law says the authority must send you a "Final Notice" or a "Reminder" by post to your current address before making an application to a Magistrate for a Liability order against you.

Regulation 23(1) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 provides for a mandatory "reminder notice" to be sent before commencing enforcement action, or, in the alternative, Regulation 33(1) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 provides a "Final Notice"

The council must send either a Final Notice OR a Reminder. Not both.


Make a formal complaint giving the above regulations. If the council admits sending them to the wrong address or a previous address then that is evidence they have not complied with the above regulations. Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978.

The bailiff should have notified the council when they traced you to your current address. Instead, they jumped straight to enforcement, which is incompatible with guideline 12 of the Taking Control of Goods: National Standards 2014.

 

 

No Notice of Enforcement.

Paragraph 7(1) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 says,

Enforcement agents may not take control of goods unless the debtor has been given notice.

 

Regulation 6(1) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 says;

notice of enforcement must be given to the debtor not less than 7 clear days before the enforcement agent takes control of the debtor’s goods.

 

 

If your have been visited or charged for enforcement without being given notice, then everything that follows is invalid.

The enforcement fees are also invalid as well. Regulation 3 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 stated the fees regulations only applied when the bailiff used the Schedule 12 enforcement procedure. Enforcement fails because of a breach of Paragraph 7(1) of that Schedule

 

You can make a formal complaint and ask the council to comply with Regulation 6 and withdraw from enforcement action until seven days clear has passed.

It is the practice of bailiff companies to say they sent the Notice of Enforcement by post, and you have to "contact Royal Mail". If the bailiff company is unable to give a tracking number, then it is unable to show what time the notice has been given. Paragraph 7(3) of Schedule 12 which states;

(3)The enforcement agent must keep a record of the time when the notice is given.

 

If you have not been given a Notice of Enforcement, the bailiff cannot recover enforcement fees from you. Regulation 3 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 states;

3. These Regulations apply when an enforcement agent uses the Schedule 12 procedure.

 

If you are fobbed off with excuses. Then bring an action in the courts under Paragraph 66 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which states;

66(1)This paragraph applies where an enforcement agent—


(a)breaches a provision of this Schedule,

 

 

It is the practice of many councils to rebuke claims that no statutory final notice or a reminder was received, so you can make a sworn statement of truth before a solicitor or a Commissioner of Oaths and the council should revoke the liability order and cancel the bailiffs.

If your address on the liability order is wrong, then you can ask the council to quash the liability order with the magistrates court under Section 82 of the Local Government Act 2003. This is necessary to relieve you of the high fees (up to £100) you have been charged for its application. If the council does not comply with the law then you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to intervene.

 

If the original council tax debt is more than 6 years old the liability order is unenforceable because the debt carried on it falls under the operation of Section 9 of the Limitation Act 1980. The debt cannot be revived in the courts with a fresh application for a new liability order.

Otherwise you need to stop enforcement action by making a simple letter clearly marked "Formal Complaint"

Telephone the council and ask for the amount shown on the liability order.

If you dispute the liability, for example because you did not live at the address the council thinks you did, then make your grounds in your formal complaint letter enclosing supporting evidence where possible.

 

Ignore any reply you get from the bailiff company, it will be their effort to frustrate the process or to annoy you. Post it on the forums if you would like it explained, but remember to mask out your personal details.

If your formal complaint is not resolved or their reply is not marked "Final Resolution" and/or fails to properly understand the nature of your complaint (whether by mistake or deliberate) or simply tries to exclude itself from following the complaints procedure, then you can start a fresh new formal complaint and ask the authority to pay you £120 for wasting your time. Treat this as a completely separate formal complaint.

If you are still fobbed of with excuses, you can interpret the council is vexatious so ask the Local Government Ombudsman to intervene under Section 26 of the Local Government Act 1974 and they can pay compensation.

 

See their bailiff complaints fact sheet and tell them this is a time-critical matter and an early remedy is needed.

If the bailiff is acting under a liability order that is defective, or has the wrong address on it, then you may be able to apply to a court for an Injunction under Paragraph 66 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. This needs a solicitor and an assessment to determine the grounds the bailiff is not acting under an execution of duty. Contact me.