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Council Tax arrears - please help.

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  • Council Tax arrears - please help.

    My house was repossessed in May 2015. I left in May 2014. I have lung disease, the heating system from the 1970's collapsed and I couldnt afford the 8k to replace it. Not having heating was putting me at risk, the house was damp etc. I found a rented property to move to and gave the key of the house back to the Bank. They then took a year to go through court to formalise a repossession. It also has a sale progressing which the bank ignored.

    Today I have received an email from the chap at the council to say I owe 4k in council tax. This is from the year 2014 - 2015 - even though I wasnt there and the house was unliveable. It also includes council tax from when I first bought it - I bought it December 2004 and moved in a year later as it needed loads of work. So the Council Tax for that time was secured on the house.

    What do I do?

    They are saying they will send the Bailiffs and I have nothing. They are saying they will not accept a repayment plan. My family are dead so I have no way of borrowing any money from anywhere. I get Tax Credits and DLA. My car is a motability car. I have two young children and a partner with mental health issues. We are on the point of breaking and all I can think is if I wasnt here my life insurance would cover it.

    Will I go to jail?

    I had a car crash in May and I have a broken back - there is a legal claim going through as the driver who hit us has admitted full liability but it can take two years they say.

    Help? Anyone?
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

    @Debt Camel may be able to help?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

      Hi and welcome,
      No you most certainly will not go to jail, what you have described is a bit complex , I do know most councils do not offer or offer very little CT discount for empty or
      uninhabitable properties.
      Someone far more up to speed will be along soon and help with this as the repossession is a tricky bit.
      I will say the councils did offer a discount back in 2004 and you need to check your council to see what that was then and also I would imagine prove you were not living there.
      You are going through so much and I really feel for you but I am not the one to offer practical help, but you will get it.
      Take care .
      Enaid x

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

        How large is the shortfall from the repossession?

        Do you have other debts apart from the mortgage/mortgage arrears/repossession/sale costs and council tax arrears?

        If you just handed back the keys then you may well be liable for the council tax.

        I get Tax Credits and DLA
        Is your partner working? What other benefits are you getting as a family? presumably Child Benefit, what about Housing benefit, Council Tax Support?

        I suggest you
        (a) put in a formal complaint on the council's website that you want to offer a repayment plan, that you are happy to provide and income & expenditure sheet, that because of your health issues and your partner's mental health issues you should be treated as vulnerable but at present the council tax department is refusing to listen to your repayment proposal
        (b) contact your local councillor, or if you now live in a different local authority one of the councillors from your previous address. Explain your problem and ask them to help.

        You won't go to jail unless you do an ostrich act and try to ignore the problem.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

          Hi,

          Thank you for coming back to me.

          There is no short fall on the repossession.

          I went into the council offices in March 2014 and told them I had to leave as I was in and out of resus with my breathing. They told me Council Tax wasn't payable on houses which were uninhabitable.

          They haven't given me a break down of how they have reached £4000. They were sending all post to my old address even though in March I told them where I was moving to. When I got the letters via a redirect I responded straight away. I have asked lots of questions and they haven't answered any of them. They have instructed bailiffs but have put that on hold for the time being.

          The other worry I have is I am a Director of a CIC and when they needed to rent some storage I signed the lease. It only lasted 4 weeks and they have been hit by business rates they weren't expecting. The same council have issued the bill in my name. So if they instruct Bailiffs for that too - it means I have no way of stopping them getting into my house - Ive told the Council it's not my debt and they are refusing to listen - even though ironically the Council are the funding organisation who paid for the unit!

          Can I refuse to let Bailiffs in? Can they take my motability car? What is a reasonable repayment offer?

          - - - Updated - - -

          Yes, we get Housing Benefit, no Council Tax Benefit, Child Benefit, my OH gets ESA and I get DLA and tax credits as I am trying very hard to work as I won't give in to being sick.

          Thank you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

            I went into the council offices in March 2014 and told them I had to leave as I was in and out of resus with my breathing. They told me Council Tax wasn't payable on houses which were uninhabitable.

            They haven't given me a break down of how they have reached £4000. They were sending all post to my old address even though in March I told them where I was moving to. When I got the letters via a redirect I responded straight away. I have asked lots of questions and they haven't answered any of them. They have instructed bailiffs but have put that on hold for the time being.
            All points to put in a formal complaint to the council. And to raise with your councillor.

            The other worry I have is I am a Director of a CIC and when they needed to rent some storage I signed the lease. It only lasted 4 weeks and they have been hit by business rates they weren't expecting. The same council have issued the bill in my name. So if they instruct Bailiffs for that too - it means I have no way of stopping them getting into my house - Ive told the Council it's not my debt and they are refusing to listen - even though ironically the Council are the funding organisation who paid for the unit!
            Did you sign as a director or in a personal capacity? If the former, so far as I am aware you have no personal liability, it's the same as a limited company. If the latter you need to discuss your situation urgently with the CIC treasurer as you should not be responsible for this.

            Can they take my motability car?
            No, you are only leasing this car it doesnt belong to you

            What is a reasonable repayment offer?
            the one which an income & expenditure sheet for your household shows you can afford.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

              Can I ask then - when I found about this - the Council put the Bailiffs who were due to arrive on hold until they had responded.

              When the Bailiffs now arrive and they clamp my Motability Car what do I do? They came once and did it for a PCN and I was able to prove that it was a Motability car. They really didnt care - they still carried on being quite horrible. One of them pushed me and said "be careful love your shoe laces are done, you'll trip." Then they moved their van across my gate so I couldn't get out, even on foot, to get my six year old from school who was left waiting there for an age.

              I tried complaining but they wouldn't give me badge numbers and the Bailiff company denied all knowledge of them.

              So if it happens again and to be honest I am so fearful of them coming - what do I do?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

                Nice people tend not to end up employed as bailiffs. You know your rights - they can't take your car. Do not let them into the house. If they park their van so you can't get out, call the police.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

                  Originally posted by Debt Camel View Post
                  Nice people tend not to end up employed as bailiffs. You know your rights - they can't take your car. Do not let them into the house. If they park their van so you can't get out, call the police.
                  And tell the police that as the car is Motability the bailiffs have no right to clamp or otherwise obstruct your use of it, nor have they any automatic right to enter your house

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

                    Ok! Thank you. Am feeling very nervous about the morning and the fact it may bring men to my door. I live quite remotely now. Thank you again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

                      Originally posted by mumisskint View Post
                      Ok! Thank you. Am feeling very nervous about the morning and the fact it may bring men to my door. I live quite remotely now. Thank you again.
                      Have you got a mobile phone that you can record (sound or pics) on?? Or a webcam?? You could record them
                      And a blue badge?? You could put THAT in the car on the dashboard??

                      There is nothing that says you have to let them in the house ... you could either just ignore, or talk through an open window
                      Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.

                      It doesn't matter where your journey begins, so long as you begin it...

                      recte agens confido

                      ~~~~~

                      Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

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                      But please include a link to your thread so I know who you are.

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                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

                        If you are in fear of them call 999 refuse the entry

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Council Tax arrears - please help.

                          I worked as a revenue enforcement officer for 23 years and as such I was employed as a certificated bailiff in house. My council did not instruct external enforcement agents ( as they are now called ) in the main. Your situation is complex and you have pretty much zero means and as such you should be sitting around the table with council officers to put all this forward and let them see the human issues first hand. However, as I have myself found out recently, having the opportunity for a face to face discussion is not always welcomed by councils.

                          I am surprised that this was brought to your attention by an email. I would not be accepting any liability on the back of that. You and your partner could be regarded as 'vulnerable' but you will have to prove that case as many people claim it in defence. IF I were dealing with this, I would be taking a detailed time line of events and taking advice from council tax officers. The fact that you were not living there may give you a short term empty rate but very little. You still owned the title to the property even though you were not there and possibly up to its sold. Councils usually put a property into 'mortgagee in possession' exemption on the ctax once its repossessed although local variations may now apply.

                          Regarding the sending of enforcement agents ( bailiffs ) you simply have to tell them that you are refusing them legal entry. From what you say, you have very little of value to distrain upon. The car may be an issue but they cannot distrain upon something that is leased via motability.

                          I retired last year from this job but in my 23 years, no one has gone to jail for possibly the last 20. The threat of jail remains there but you have to be guilty of 'wilful refusal to pay' or 'culpable neglect' and I believe you are guilty of neither.

                          Have you addressed this problem via your local Citizens Advice Bureau? They could become an intermediary to argue this case through.

                          https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
                          Last edited by Snoopy1948; 6th January 2016, 22:29:PM. Reason: typos!

                          Comment

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