Reminders, summons and Enforcement Agents
The council will send you a maximum of 2 reminder notices in a Council Tax year - this runs from April 1 to March 31 of the next year.
If you miss a payment or your payments are made late, you will be sent by post a payment reminder notice. The notice will tell you the amount required to bring your account up to date. You must bring your payments up to date within 7 days of the date on the reminder notice. As long as you do this, you can continue paying by monthly instalments.
If you pay the first reminder but miss a payment or pay late again in the same council tax year, a second reminder will be sent to you by post. This will be the last reminder that you receive during the council tax year. Again, you must bring your payments up to date within 7 days of the date on the reminder notice. Once more, as long as you do this, you can continue paying by monthly instalments.
In both of the above situations, if you do not bring your payments up to date within 7 days, after a further 7 days you will lose your right to pay by instalments and the balance of your account to the end of the council tax year must be paid immediately, otherwise a summons may be issued.
If after receiving 2 payment reminders you brought your payments up to date within the required 7 days but you miss a payment or pay late again in the same council tax year, a final notice will be sent to you by post and your right to pay by instalments will be cancelled. The balance of your account to the end of the council tax year must be paid immediately otherwise a summons may be issued.
if you do not pay the Council Tax due as required on any of the notices described above, the council will apply to the local Magistrates' Court for a summons to be issued against you. The issue of a summons will incur legal costs of £128.50, which you have to pay and if you do not pay the full amount of council tax and costs before the court hearing and a liability order is issued, further legal costs of £13.00 will also become payable.
What if I can't pay my Council Tax?
If you are unable to pay the amount shown on the summons, you should contact us immediately to discuss your account. We can advise you and offer a payment arrangement. If the Council Tax remains unpaid, we will ask for a liability order at a magistrates' court hearing.
You can attend court, although the hearing is only to determine your liability, not your ability to pay.
If you have made a payment arrangement, the liability order will be held until the agreed payment plan is cleared.
You will receive a 14 day notice in the post, during this time we can also legally request financial information from you, including employment details.
Where this information is not provided by you or false information is provided, further action may be taken in the magistrates' court for this information. You could end up with a penalty and paying additional costs.
14 day notice
Where payment of the amount shown on the summons plus costs is not made, or a payment arrangement has not been agreed, a 14 day notice will be issued and failure to respond to this will result in further recovery action being taken.
We can get your employer to pay your unpaid Council Tax directly from your wages and we can apply to take money from benefits as well as using enforcement agents, bankruptcy or liquidation, charging orders or committal to prison and you could end up paying further costs.
Bailiffs (enforcement agents)
The council has instructed and authorised the following enforcement agents to collect the council tax on its behalf. If you have been already contacted by an enforcement agent then you must contact them directly.
- Reventus Enforcement Agents
- CDER Group
Just - The Enforcement Market Integrator – all enquiries call 03444113263
Enforcement Agents('bailiffs') and fees charged
The Ministry of Justice, has made changes to the fees that enforcement agents can charge. These changes came into effect on 6 April 2014.
Full details of the regulations are available from: 'The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, Statutory Instrument No. 1'
Collection of Council Tax debt can be broken down into stages
Fees - compliance stage
If you get behind with your Council Tax and a liability order is issued by the magistrates' court this can be passed to an enforcement agent for collection. If this becomes necessary, once they receive the liability order, a fee of £75.00 becomes payable. This fee is payable on each liability order referred to the enforcement agent.
On receipt of each liability order, the enforcement agent will issue a written notice of enforcement that provides you a minimum period of 7 clear days in which to pay the outstanding Council Tax or reach an agreement for payment with them.
Although the new regulations stipulate the period for contact is 7 clear days; we have instructed our enforcement agents to allow an extended period of contact up to 21 days.
During the compliance stage, the enforcement agent may also contact you by other means including telephone, text, fax or email.
Fees - take control of goods
Following the expiry of the compliance stage, the enforcement agent will visit your property to seek to 'take control of goods'. This action will add a further fee of £235. If the debt you owe exceeds £1500, further fees will be payable.
At this stage you may still enter into a payment plan acceptable to the enforcement agent, known as a "Controlled Goods Agreement". This will prevent immediate removal of the goods seized.
If the enforcement agent is unable to agree a payment arrangement or collect the amount outstanding, they must take control of your goods (your possessions) and if this is necessary and they are taken to a place of sale or are sold a further fee of £110 will be payable. If the debt that you owe exceeds £1500 further fees will be payable in addition to the £110.
Compliance stage - £75
A fee of £75.00 is incurred and becomes payable by you once a liability order is received by the enforcement agent.
Enforcement stage - £235
£0 - £1500
Sale or disposal stage - £110.00
£0 - £1500
If you have any questions about this, please contact us by phone 020 8708 5670 open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We may then be able to come to an agreement to avoid the use of enforcement agents.