Can Bailiffs Force Entry for Council Tax Debt?

If you owe council tax there is a very good chance the council will take court action against you. This article answers the question, can bailiffs force entry for council tax debt?


Can I expect bailiffs for council tax debt?


If you owe council tax there is a very good chance the council will take court action against you. The first stage will be a liability order where the magistrate’s court will judge whether you owe the money. Bailiffs can then enforce that order. The council may choose to get an attachment of earnings against your wages or appoint bailiffs to collect the debt.

You need to deal with this debt quickly as non-payment of council tax is technically a criminal offence – dealt with by magistrates court rather than a county court. Bailiffs are expensive and will add their fees to the debt.

The first thing to do is to pay your council tax. If you cannot do this, you should contact the council and make an arrangement to pay it. If you are being harassed by a bailiff you should complain to that company, and to the council – and ultimately to your local councillor.


Can bailiffs force entry for council tax debt?


If someone attends your property to collect a debt for someone who does not live there you can advise them, prove this to be the case, make a complaint if they are unwilling to accept proof that you live there. You don’t have to let the bailiff into your house and you could provide details of the other person’s new address if you have it, but you are not obliged to do so.

You should speak to the council if this is Council Tax for the property that you live in now, or have lived in previously, and check if you are also liable for the debt.


Can a bailiff climb over a fence for council tax?


The bailiff has a right to climb over the fence when enforcing the council tax liability. Whether the court can suspend the warrant or not depends on the type of debt. Rather than contacting the court directly, you should negotiate with the council regarding repayment of the debt. They can then take the debt back from the court and stop bailiff recovery action.


I’ve paid my half of the council tax debt, why are bailiffs still chasing me?


If two parties were both liable for the Council Tax bill at that property then you can both be chased for the full amount of the debt until all of the debt is paid. “Joint and severe liability” is the legal term for this, and basically means that each person is equally responsible for making sure the Council Tax is paid. Each person named on the Council Tax Bill can be “severally” held liable if it remains unpaid. This means that they can be pursued individually and the council can recover all of the money from any of the individuals named. The debt will be pursued until it is all cleared and the bailiff will pursue you for all of the debt and separately the Council may be taking action against the other party for all of the debt.

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