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liability order help

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  • liability order help

    Hi, I'm looking for some help with a Rundles liability order on council tax arrears if somebody can help please.

    In October 14 I rented my first house with my partner, signed a 6 month tenancy, had to leave my job due to sexual harassment and my partner subsequently got offered no work (he was a security guard), in the January 15. We then had to claim the necessary benefits to get by but wasn't able to as we had voluntarily left work and the job centre did not deem my sexual harassment enough to warrant leaving. As well as my partner receiving no work. Also rang council tax to let them know I had no income at all and they put my account on hold. Appeals needed to go through which took far too long, landlord became hostile and I was threatened quite a few times over the course of a few weeks, then finding out I was pregnant whilst using protection, and my partner not assuming any responsibility, no attempt to find work, he did literally nothing. At which point I had awful depression and the anxiety disorder I'd previously had worsened to the point I had panic attacks daily. I then made the decision to vacate the property as asked by the landlord in April 15 and left my partner. Stayed with a friend, notified council as I was also looking for a council property and claimed benefits from my friends house until July 15 when I moved into my current home. Applied for the necessary council tax reductions which meant I didn't have to pay anything. Also recieved ESA, housing benefit, and discretionary payment. I'd forgotten about the previous few months at the old property not paid through all the stress and recieved no contact from the council for this, even though they knew exactly where I was currently living.
    I have now recently recieved a liability order from Rundles at my current address stating they've visited and contacted many times with no reply, even though they haven't at my current address, I've no idea if they visited the previous property. They are saying I owe around 1800 and would visit from 22nd onwards to remove goods to the value of. I have nothing worth taking besides a small tv. I was panicking and not knowing anything rang them up to arrange some sort of payment plan, I am still currently on benefits including child benefit, child tax credits, housing benefit, reduction in council tax, ESA, but they refused my offer and stated I would have to pay 156 per week which is just ridiculous as I don't even recieve that. I then phoned up the council to see if there was anything they could do, she was as helpful as she could be but as the landlord has multiple dodgy companies, no contact numbers or email addresses, I'm unable to contact them for them to confirm I moved out in the April 15 therefore she said I am liable to pay the 1800. She also said council tax sent them a letter in august 15 for confirmation that I'd moved out and the landlord never replied which I was unaware of until now. So they have left them be all this time without contacting me until they now want to seize goods.
    What else can I do? And what will happen now? They say my account is on hold for two weeks but then they will come round. I'm only 21 and my daughter is 10 months and I'm absolutely terrified of being at home alone and they turn up. I have crippling anxiety as it is which I was trying to work through until this happened and now I'm back at square one.
    Sorry for the long post, I wanted to include as much info as possible. Thank you in advance.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: liability order help

    Hi WorriedParent ...

    This is a mess, I agree, but one that I have met many times before.

    First thing, make a speedy appointment to see a Citizens Advice Bureau advisor and take all the details to that meeting. It is important that you close down the first address correctly ( i.e. with the date that you actually vacated ... did you use a removal firm or man with a van to move? Can they supply a confirmation of moving you on that day? Can the friend with whom you stayed give you a letter of confirmation of the same day? There is no way that you are liable for time outside that date unless you were under a tenancy agreement that had not expired. Get the CAB to contact the council direct and try and resolve the bill correctly first and foremost. Explain to the CAB that you remain vulnerable because you are a single parent, broken relationship ( was his name on the first ctax account? ), mental health problems, benefit income only.

    Once that is done, let the Rundles bailiffs call, advise them that you have nothing of value to remove and that you are refusing them legal entry to enter. If they do after that, call the police. Tell them that the matter is being dealt with by the CAB and the council will be advised in due course. Advise them that you have nothing of value and your income is welfare benefits only. If you have a car, make sure it is not declared on near the property. These people cannot force money out of you that you do not have, even if they look to you to contact family and friends to come up with money on your behalf. A family member or friend can indeed pay on your behalf but only if that is available and of course agreeable with you both.

    They should then return their papers to the council advising them of being refused legal entry and minimal disposable income to agree repayment on their visit. After that, you can ask the CAB to agree an amount for you to pay ( they will complete an income and expenditure statement and advise you accordingly ) but you must resolve this vacation date issue as not only will your bill reduce, but the landlord correctly picks the tab up at the right time as well.

    This is a messy situation that is nevertheless understandable and purely as a result of a bad relationship and poor mental health.

    If your ex partner was on the first bill, you can always direct the bailiff to his address if known, but I am sensing that his name did not appear?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: liability order help

      Originally posted by WorriedParent View Post
      Hi, I'm looking for some help with a Rundles liability order on council tax arrears if somebody can help please.

      What else can I do? And what will happen now? They say my account is on hold for two weeks but then they will come round.

      I'm only 21 and my daughter is 10 months and I'm absolutely terrified of being at home alone and they turn up. I have crippling anxiety as it is which I was trying to work through until this happened and now I'm back at square one.
      Sorry for the long post, I wanted to include as much info as possible. Thank you in advance.
      What is to happen now is that you need to try to get an appointment with the CAB or alternatively, call Stepchange and they will help you complete a financial statement. I am not sure from your above post whether it is the council or Rundles who have put your account on hold. What is important though is that you use this time to try to get any evidence together regarding the date that you moved out. This is very important as it could help to significantly reduce the debt.

      Rundles have a job to do and that is to enforce the debt on behalf of the local council. The council can if they wish take the debt back but in reality, they tend no to do so and instead, wait for Rundles to return the warrant. This normally does not happen for approx 3-4 months and unfortunately, you will not get told when the account is returned.

      It is important to write to Rundles to outline your circumstance and if you can wait until the weekend, I will try to get something drafted for you.

      If you could answer the following question, I would be grateful:

      Are you receiving any medication for your anxiety?

      Do you have a car?

      If so, is the value below 1,350 (in some cases, a vehicle can be considered 'exempt' but its value cannot exceed 1,350)?

      Is the property that you are now living in privately rented or provided by the local authority?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: liability order help

        Before a bailiff may visit a debtor, the debtor has to be given 7 clear days notice (usually a minimum of 14), in writing, before tat visit takes place. This is to enable the debtor a small window of opportunity to either settle the debt or negotiate an affordable repayment plan.

        If the OP has not received notice at her present address then she should not have been visited. Whereas council tax correspondence may be sent to the debtors last known address, a notice of enforcement must be addressed to the debtor at the place, or one of the places, where the debtor usually lives or carries on a trade or business.

        If the OP has never received a notice then the first thing she should do is instigate a complaint to the CEO of the council immediately (yes she can send it to the recovery department if she knows who to send it to) The letter should be headed "Formal Complaint Stage 1" The letter should state that the OP has been visited by a bailiff. However, no prior notice of enforcement has been issued, pursuant to Regulation 8 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. The OP should ask that notice is now sent to her correct address in order for her to be afforded the compliance period in which to address the matter. The OP should further ask that the 235 enforcement fee is removed from her account. Finally, the OP should ask that enforcement is suspended whilst this complaint is being investigated.

        Send a copy of the letter to Rundles. Then make plans on how you are going to address the matter.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: liability order help

          Originally posted by Indebt View Post

          If the OP has never received a notice then the first thing she should do is instigate a complaint to the CEO of the council immediately (yes she can send it to the recovery department if she knows who to send it to) The letter should be headed "Formal Complaint Stage 1" The letter should state that the OP has been visited by a bailiff. However, no prior notice of enforcement has been issued, pursuant to Regulation 8 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. The OP should ask that notice is now sent to her correct address in order for her to be afforded the compliance period in which to address the matter. The OP should further ask that the 235 enforcement fee is removed from her account. Finally, the OP should ask that enforcement is suspended whilst this complaint is being investigated.

          Send a copy of the letter to Rundles. Then make plans on how you are going to address the matter.
          This debtor is suffering from anxiety and I am rather surprised to hear suggestions that she should be writing to the Chief Executive of the council. The account is already on hold and I would suspect that in time, the account will be returned back to the council. Bailiff fees will at that stage be removed.

          What she should be doing, is to get a detailed letter sent to Rundles (copied to the council). The letter itself will most likely hasten Rundles decision to return the account back to the council.

          From many years of experience, it is usually the case, that well written letters that omit endless references to legislation prove beneficial.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: liability order help

            Oh please.

            It was only the other day that you were promoting "well drafted letters".

            The account is on hold for 14 days. After that enforcement starts again, hence your questions about owning a car.

            Enforcement should never have taken place if the NOE was sent to a previous address. Are you seriously suggesting that this most crucial issue should be ignored or brushed under the carpet?

            If you want to push the vulnerability aspect then carry on but even your own post admitted that councils tend not to take debts back. With that in mind, surely we need to ensure that the OP is not charged the 235 enforcement fee. We will not achieve this by asking "pretty please, with a cherry on top".

            As I keep on telling you, a polite word and a formal complaint will go a lot further than just a polite word.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: liability order help

              Originally posted by Indebt View Post

              As I keep on telling you, a polite word and a formal complaint will go a lot further than just a polite word.
              With the greatest of respect, I do not need you telling me how to do my job.

              The advice that I give on here and on other forums (where I have been posting for a very long time) is based upon many years of experience assisting tens of thousands of debtors.

              A well drafted letter (or event complaint) has always worked for me and I have no reason whatsoever to alter my advise.

              PS: As difficult as it may be for you, please try to stop taking this thread off topic.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: liability order help

                It doesn't matter how long you have been doing something, if you can't get your head around the basics to begin with. Only yesterday, you were shown to be wrong yet again, in your constant attempts to knock my advice.

                You don't even understand the basics of joint liability-How can you claim that you don't need to be told how to do your "job"?

                Anyway-The advice is on this thread, it is up to the OP which route she wishes to take.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: liability order help

                  Thank you all for your replies.

                  My tenancy agreement was for 6 months, from October 15th 2014 - April 15th 2015, when I left. I did not use a removal agency, my friend helped as I only had a few boxes. I had sold whatever I could to get by at this point. My friend can confirm the date, although according to the council tax lady that I spoke to this isn't enough evidence. I also made JSA claim from friends address (I was told I couldn't claim anything else, although once I turned up for the interviews she agreed I was in no fit state to work and could claim ESA) I also was put on the waiting list for council housing, and stated all problems and difficulties that had happened in the recent months and classed as urgent. So I do have this evidence of moving, the landlord however is incredibly difficult to get hold of, no numbers, email address etc and did not respond to council tax letters, so I was informed the other day that I would be liable if they cannot get into contact with her. Is this true?

                  My partners name wasn't on the council tax or tenancy agreement.

                  Both the council and Rundles have said the account is on two week hold from yesterday.

                  I don't own a car or anything of any value as I just don't have the means to.

                  I received two letters from Rundles, same day, one of 794.98 and one of 1,074.71, which I now know is because of two different tax years. This is a 'Magistrates Liability Order' and they claim to have made numerous visits and letters, although not at my current address they are writing to. It says on the back that if I do not pay or agree a payment by Sep 22 an enforcement agent will visit and may seize belonging.

                  I plan to visit CAB but I'm not sure what I would be taking with me as I have no evidence other than the claims made and moving into a council property in July that I vacated the property. I would be more than happy paying what I owe, via payment plan, but don't understand why I would have to pay what the landlord owes just because they refused to contact them. And why couldn't they contact me last year to clear the whole mess up, as they definitely had my address as I had council tax, rent etc.

                  I think I answered everything, thank you all again!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: liability order help

                    If you leave an address, it is your responsibility to notify the council of a change of address. Councils will not search for you. By law, they are permitted to keep on sending paperwork to your last address.

                    The purpose of visiting the CAB is for help in filling out an income and expenditure list. You will then use this to show how much you can afford to pay each week. You need to be able to show the council that you were paying tax elsewhere, which may be a problem regarding the period that you were at your friends. This is exactly the reason why councils require notice in front-It cannot be proven after the event. You can try it but it will be at the councils discretion as to whether they accept it or not.

                    Either way, it looks like you will have two separate LO's. This will mean an additional 150 in bailiff fees, on top of the costs of obtaining two LO's. In addition, you will have been charged a further 235 for the visit that took place this week. I cannot do anything about the 150 but I can help get the 235 removed. You have to write to the council though-Rundles will just claim that they are entitled to send it to the last known address, they've done so before.

                    I cannot help in getting the debt returned to the council. If Milo can help then that is fine. In the alternative, you need the chance to get this sorted out without the threat of bailiff visits. This is best done by instigating the formal complaint. It is all very well writing pretty little letters but they invariably only end up in the paper shredder. A formal complaint enters an official procedure and is taken far more seriously. I speak from personal experience as well as helping many other debtors. If you have not received a notice of enforcement yet are being threatened with the removal of your goods, then you are perfectly entitled to issue a complaint. We cannot have councils and their agents going round breaching legislation to make it easier to recover debts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: liability order help

                      I did notify the council of change of address. That's why I thought they would've sent any outstanding bills to my new address, not old, as they knew I no longer lived there.

                      Nobody has visited me this week. I've received no contact from them other than these letters, no knocks on the door or calls, and I have been in most of the time, including when I received the letters. Or does posting a letter count as a visit?

                      Who do I write to at the council? Thank you for your help.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: liability order help

                        There is a suggestion in Post 6 that the account has been put on hold for 14 days which may explain why you have not had a "visitor" and in any case they are well known as not coming when they say they will as this ramps up the pressure.

                        I would also suggest you contact your local Councillor(s) who can take this up for you. There is nothing to stop you contacting them this weekend so they can act first thing Monday - best initial contact is by phone. Details of who to contact can be had @ https://www.writetothem.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: liability order help

                          Thank you for that. I'll definitely look into it right away.

                          I know, I was replying to a comment Indebt had made about additional fees could be added because of a visit this week, which hadn't happened. Thanks again.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: liability order help

                            Originally posted by WorriedParent View Post
                            Thank you for that. I'll definitely look into it right away.

                            I know, I was replying to a comment Indebt had made about additional fees could be added because of a visit this week, which hadn't happened. Thanks again.
                            The accounts are on hold for 14 days and frankly, I would not be considering complaining to the council at this present time. You need to put the bailiff fees to the back of your mind at this moment and instead, look at ways in which to provide evidence as to the date that you moved.

                            You have mentioned that you moved out on April 15th. If so, you would only be liable for 15 days council tax for that particular council tax year. This is by far the most important task that you should be concentrating on.

                            You have also mentioned that you made a payment proposal (which was rejected). How much did you offer?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: liability order help

                              They never even gave me chance to give an amount, just said they can't accept less than 300+ per month which is ridiculous. I could probably pay 100 per month at a stretch, but I don't exactly receive a lot of money.

                              Is there a way I can contact the council to request copies of letters they had sent to me if I can't find all the necessary ones? I have some but not all.
                              I have an address for the landlord which I've found from google, along with two other company names that they operate under (one of which dissolved) but no other contact details. Should I include this or should I write to them myself asking for a copy of the tenancy agreement/proof of vacating the property? I'm very unlikely to get a reply though, as they wouldn't even answer the council.

                              Comment

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