help with bailiffs

last week i opened my girlfriends flat door to step out and came face to face with a bailiff from equita.
i told him my girlfriend was not in
he then told me that we have one week to give him £500 for a council tax debt or he will be back to remove our property
however if we pay 500 he can make arrangements for the rest to be paid in installments. (we simply dont have a spare 500 to hand out)
spoke to my girlfriend later and she explained that she got behind on it a considerable time ago and has basically been hiding it from me (not happy)
after reading a couple of forums here i decided to ask for some advice
so she has worked out our bills and that leaves us with about 200 a month
so i asked her to phone the local council and see if she can arrange a payment plan and also get details of the actual debts as the bailiffs gave no actual details
here things get slightly worse some payments are with the courts and some are with the bailiffs owing roughly 1200 to each
the lady we spoke to from the courts was very stern and was demanding 150 a month - i have 2 problems with this
1st that only leaves 50 to deal with equita (how likely are they to allow us a payment plan ??)
2nd when the next round of council tax starts next year i wont be able to pay it as my repayments are already taking up any spare money (starting a never ending cycle of council tax debt)
the lady from the courts said that when we agree a payment plan their will be no alterations or deviations from the plan allowed

just to explain i accept the debt and am not trying to further avoid it - i would just like advice on reasoning with people that dont seem to care if i get into further debt due to repayment plans
p.s i have not spoken to the bailiffs at all yet (apart from on my girlfriends doorstep)

p.p.s we have two small children together and this already looks set to put a dampener on christmas so any advice would be gratefully recieved
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Comments

  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,457
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    Hi

    We need a bit more info and you need to make sure your GF is telling you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Firstly a few facts; Council tax debts are managed by the Council until they get a Liaibility order from the magistrates court and they are passed to a bailiff firm who parcel them out to individual bailiffs. You cannot have some CT debts with the court and some with the bailiffs, as the magistrates courts do not collected CT debt.

    Do you have any other debts that CT debt that are subject to a County Court Judgement?

    You may have only spoken to the bailiff on the doorstep but had your GF ever let the bailiff into the house? This is important becasue your rights depend on that answer; as does the costs of the bailiff action.

    Equita bailiffs routinely add illegal fees (maybe £200) to debts which they are not entitled to. Exactly what they can claim depends on whether they have been in the house, so we need to know.

    So which court have you spoken to?
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • DS4215
    DS4215 Posts: 1,085 Forumite
    It might be worth speaking to one of the debt charities, like CCCS. They can advise how to proceed and help you to produce a budget that you can work with.
  • firstly the coucil tax has not been paid for over 2 years so somehow it has now been broken down into 5 bills
    2 are currently being dealt with by the "revenue courts enforcement team" for birmingham city council
    (so may not actually be the courts at all - just an organisation that uses the word courts in the title)
    the other 3 have been through whatever processess are used before being passed onto equita - who are now trying to collect the outstanding debt
    no other ccj debts

    also the bailiff has never been in the house - she has never even met a bailiff
  • hallowitch
    hallowitch Posts: 1,286
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    phone the council and ask (write down the answers keep it for future reference you may need it )

    how many liability orders there are
    date of each liability order
    liable year and period of year liability order relates to (if you have moved house ask the address the liability order relates to)
    amount of each liability order
    Date each liability order was passed to Equita

    if you have a car(not on HP/finance ) do not leave it on your drive or near your house the bailiff can levy against it then remove it if you don't pay the debt
    I am not an expert I am self taught i have no legal training any information I post is based on my own personal experience and information gained from other web sites


    If you are in any doubt please seek legal/expert advice help
  • HappyMJ
    HappyMJ Posts: 21,115
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    firstly the coucil tax has not been paid for over 2 years so somehow it has now been broken down into 5 bills
    2 are currently being dealt with by the "revenue courts enforcement team" for birmingham city council
    (so may not actually be the courts at all - just an organisation that uses the word courts in the title)
    the other 3 have been through whatever processess are used before being passed onto equita - who are now trying to collect the outstanding debt
    no other ccj debts

    also the bailiff has never been in the house - she has never even met a bailiff
    As has been said you need a clear picture of what is outstanding. You say you have 5 bills. Is that for 1 property or more than 1 property. You might get 2 in a year if you move during the year.
    :footie:
    :p Regular savers earn 6% interest (HSBC, First Direct, M&S) :p Loans cost 2.9% per year (Nationwide) = FREE money. :p
  • i wish to apologise in advance if anyone thinks am ignoring posts i am not but i will be on and off the forum at funny times as im am working 12 hour night shifts at the moment
  • ok will call about the liability order questions

    the 5 bills are for one property as this is her 1st flat
    about the car I own a car and it is registered at this address so with the bill being in my girlfriends name and not mine does that mean that they can still remove MY car
    and we live in a tower block so do they have the ability to check the cars outside and see who they are registered to?
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,457
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    edited 31 October 2011 at 12:10PM
    Fine

    If I remember rightly the Council Tax collection at Brum is managed by Capita. Capita own Equita bailiffs.

    Since they have not been in the house, you need to make absiolutely dead sure that they do not get in; keep all doors and windows locked at all times.

    Do you own a car? if so you need to "sell" it to someone you trust explicitly other wise the bailiff will levy on it.

    What has almost certainly happened is that you have three LOs and that Equita has added several fees to each LO. An example put up elsewhere on the forum this morning, showing illegal fees.

    Having looked at the case I nete that no times of visits have been logged, however the dates recorded for visits are the 17.01.11, 07.02.11 and 11.8.11.
    Whilst on each report on each occassion indicates that no contact was made, you would have been left a letter.

    Our Ref: xxxxxxxxxxxx
    Liability order dated 05.11.09
    Debt: £155.85 - legitimate
    Statutory visit Fees: £42.50 - legitimate if no levy made
    Levy Fees: £27.00 - not permitted unless a levy was made and based on the comment in red this is not the case
    Enforcement Fees: £160.00 - have no legal basis.
    Card Charge: £2.00 - they can do this
    Total £387.35

    As long as they have attended for the three LOs on the same dates, they can actually only add one set of minimal fees for all three accounts - not three sets of illegal fees for three accounts. So they could have added £560 fees of twhich about £42.50 is legitimate

    But not paying CT for two years is mega stupid. Where has the money gone? What can your GF get together by finding stuff in the house that she can sell on e-bay, amazon and at car boot sales? You need to show willing ASAP.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,457
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    edited 31 October 2011 at 12:11PM
    about the car I own a car and it is registered at this address so with the bill being in my girlfriends name and not mine does that mean that they can still remove MY car
    and we live in a tower block so do they have the ability to check the cars outside and see who they are registered to?

    Yes there is a real chance they will levy on the car and they have access to DVLA records.

    You need to "sell" it urgently.

    And do make sure your GF has not been claiming single person's CT allowance?
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • hallowitch
    hallowitch Posts: 1,286
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    if you lived with your girlfriend during the time that any of the debts relate to then yes they can remove your car council tax is a Joint and several liability debt

    Bailiffs company's have the ability to do a dvla check to confirm ownership however this is not done till after a levy on a car has taken place (and only if you complain to them that they have levied a car not belonging to the debtor)

    If they levy your car you should receive a notice of seizure of goods and inventory listing your car it should be posted through your letterbox the day they levy it

    If your car has a designated space do not park it there
    I am not an expert I am self taught i have no legal training any information I post is based on my own personal experience and information gained from other web sites


    If you are in any doubt please seek legal/expert advice help
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