Council Tax & Business Rates - Bailiff Action
If your outstanding account has been passed to the Bailiff this means he will visit you at your business premises or home because:
- a Liability Order has been granted against you at the Magistrates Court; and
- you have either not paid the debt in full or have not made an arrangement to pay; or
- you have not adhered to an agreed payment plan.
How do I know if the Bailiff is genuine?
The Bailiff must identify himself to you. He should show you:
- an identity card;
- written authorisation from the Council; and
- a copy of the law setting out his powers.
If you are unsure if the Bailiff is genuine, please establish which company they are claiming to be from and call either Bristow & Sutor on 0871 677 0070 or Rossendales on 0844 7013980 and they will confirm the identity of the Bailiff.
What can the Bailiff do?
- The purpose of the Bailiff's visit is to collect payment of your Council Tax or Business Rate account or to identify goods that belong to you which can be sold to pay the debt.
- The Bailiff CANNOT break into your house by force, but he CAN come in through an open or unlocked door or window. He can also take any of the belongings outside the house (for example a car parked on the street).
What goods can the Bailiff take?
- By law the Bailiff may NOT take any tools, books, vehicles and other equipment you need for your work or business (except when collecting unpaid Business Rates).
- He can also NOT take any clothing, bedding furniture, household equipment; or food you need for your basic domestic needs or those of your family.
- The Bailiff may take anything else you own.
- If you are renting something or buying it on hire purchase, or if you can show it belongs to somebody else, tell the Bailiff. He will need to see paperwork or evidence as proof that they are not your belongings and he should leave them off his list.
- The Bailiff should only list items that, when sold at auction, cover the amount of the Liability Order and their fees and charges.
- Please be aware that your belongings will not be worth as much as when you first bought them. This means that the Bailiff may take more items than you would expect.
When is a locksmith involved?
- In certain circumstances, where an arrangement for payment has been defaulted upon, a Bailiff may involve a locksmith to gain entry into a property.
What can be done to avoid my goods being sold at auction?
The Bailiff will not take away or sell any goods as long as either:
- the debt is paid in full including all costs and fees; or
- you make (and adhere to) an arrangement with the Bailiff to pay the debt.
Where should I send my payments?
- Once your debt has been passed to the Bailiff for collection, payments should be made direct to the Bailiff's office, either by calling in, sending cheques through the post to them, by setting up a standing order at your bank (ensure you quote your reference number), or by using a debit or credit card over the phone or online. Please note there is a charge for making a card payment.
- Details of how to pay will be provided by the Bailiff Company when a payment arrangement is set up.
- Cheques should be made payable to the Bailiff Company. Please write your Council Tax or Business Rates account number on the back of the cheque.
Will goods be removed straight away?
- No. The Bailiff will not take any of your belongings away on the first visit.
- He will ask you to sign a 'Walking Possession Agreement' which will allow him to come back later to take away the goods listed if payment is not made or an arrangement is not adhered to.
- You will not be able to move any of the goods listed out of your home or sell them.
What will happen if I ignore the Bailiff and don't make any payments?
- Rutland County Council DC will commence committal proceedings against you which could result in your imprisonment for a period not exceeding three (3) months.
- The costs associated with this action will be payable by yourself.
How can I make a complaint about the Bailiff?
- If you think the Bailiff has done something wrong, you should first contact the Compliance Officer at the Bailiff Company.
- They will need full details of the complaint including as much information as possible.
- A response will be sent to you once an investigation has taken place.
What if I'm still not happy?
If you are not happy with the response you can make a complaint to the Council in any of the following ways:
- In writing to the Recovery Section, Rutland County Council DC, Catmose, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HP.
- By phone on the main office number of (01572) 722577 and our Customer Service Advisors will be happy to direct your call.
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On-line via the form on our Contact Us page
- In person at our main offices at Catmose, Oakham, during normal office hours.
- We will need details of the complaint, copies of the response from the Bailiff Company and any other details which you feel are relevant to the issue.
- We will then contact the Bailiff Company and a further investigation will be carried out.
- Once we have received a reply from them we will contact you with a full response.
For the collection of Council Tax, Non Domestic Rates and Overpaid Housing Benefit we have awarded a contract to Bristow & Sutor under ESPO 984L Bailiff services framework.
The contract commenced on 9th January 2012 and is in place for 4 years with an option to extend for a further additional 2 years.
If you would like more information about Bristow & Sutor, including details of how to make payment to them, follow this link Bristow&Sutor.
We also awarded a contract to a second bailiff, Rossendales, under the ESPO framework to follow up on Council Tax cases. For more information about the company, please follow this link Rossendales.
- We monitor the Bailiff's performance on a continual basis to ensure that the Bailiff is working within the terms and conditions of our contract.
- We have a Bailff Code of Practice in place which forms part of our Recovery Guidance notes which can be found on our Council Tax & Business Rates - Recovery of Unpaid Amounts page.
- This is in addition to the Bailiff's own code of practice and lays down the guidelines and procedures that the Bailiff is required to follow.