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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I hope you can help. I have recieved a Final Notice

Customer Question

I hope you can help. I have recieved a Final Notice from an enforcement agents, stating that they will be calling without further notice to remove nmy Goods and Chattels for non-payment of council tax. In early May 2014, I contacted my borough council informing them of my financial difficulities (at that time I'd missed two payments). I informed them that I would continue to make all payments which I did so, only to learn in Nov. '14 that my borough council had sent my details to enforcement agents, whilst I was still paying the borough council as per their payment schedule.
I have been in dispute with my borough council regarding this as I have made all payments to the council and showed them the evidence of this of my direct bank payments to them.
I would greatly appreciate some advice as I do not see why I should be incur further debt for a bill that I have fully paid.
I lauched a formal complaint regarding this
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I basically want to know what my legal options are: Firstly how can I stop the bailiffs considering that I have paid my the council tax.

The borough council continued to accept payments from me, yet sent my details to an enforcement agents, is this legal?

Secondly, can I go to court to get this stopped in some way?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Did you pay in full ?
Did you pay bailiff fees?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I paid the council tax in full, as per payment schedule. I have not paid any bailiff fees as I paid the council in full.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Did they get a liability order?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean? Who? The borough council or the enforcement agents?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
The Council.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have no idea. What is a liability order?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
An order allowing the bailiffs to act.
You will really need to get to the bottom of that. You can call the council and ask in the morning?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok, I'll contact the borough council in the morning. Are there any other questions you'd like me to ask the council?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Really just the date of it if there is an order.
Other than that the questions would be for the bailiffs but first things first.
I am not in court tomorrow morning so I can look at this then.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Jo C., I have obtained this information from the borough council regarding the liability order. However I did not recieve any of this at the time. I can send you the letter in it's entirity if you wish:

A summons was correctly issued to you on the 18th August 2014 for the sum of £408.00 plus summons costs of £95.00 for a hearing date of 23rd September 2014. As the summons remained unpaid a liability order was obtained at the court hearing on the 23rd September 2014 for the balance of the year’s council tax of £306.00 plus a total of £123.00 costs, which included a further £28 court costs.

On the 29th September 2014 a notice of liability order was sent to you. This advised you that liability order had been obtained and gave one final option for payment to be made in full or an arrangement made. The Council are able to accept payment arrangements at this stage as they are not subject to the statutory instalment scheme. The notice also states what other recovery action is now available to us to collect the outstanding sum, following the issue of the liability order.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, that is all I need to know.
They are saying that you are liable for bailiffs cost because they did get a liability order and instruct bailiffs before you paid council tax. As with everything else, once there is judgment against a person, paying off the substantive debt does not remove liability for the cost of enforcement.
That is the issue here.
On the face of it, you would seem to be liable I'm afraid.
Liability orders are very hard to appeal at the best of times as there is no direct route but even if you had done so you would still have been liable for the council tax.
If you think the bailiffs are overcharging then that can be challenged in court but you are liable for something unfortunately.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did not recieve any of the documentation (summons) at the time. The only instance of awareness was when an enforcement agent attended my property in November '14. So are there no other options or avenues I can explore?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Not to remove a liability order.
It is possible to judicially review a decision to seek a liability order but that is really only something you want to pursue if you are not the liable person.