We can instruct an enforcement agent, formerly known as a bailiff, to collect unpaid council tax or business rates after a liability order has been obtained from the magistrates' court.

An enforcement agent is likely to be instructed if a liability order has been obtained and:

  • you agree a payment arrangement but don't make the payments
  • you don't respond to a notice requiring you to contact the council
  • you fail to return a request for information form, or
  • we're unable to agree a payment arrangement as an alternative to taking this action

When an order is obtained, you'll be sent a notice confirming the recovery powers available to us, and the potential costs involved. Don't ignore this letter - contact us immediately if you're unable to settle the liability order in full.

If your debt is passed to an enforcement agent, a letter will be issued confirming this, and you'll have to pay £75. And if an enforcement agent then visits your property, it will cost you £235, plus 7.5% for any balance due above £1,500.

If you can't pay in full, the agent may agree an alternative arrangement to settle the liability order (plus any subsequent fees) within a reasonable time. The agent may also enter into a controlled goods agreement, where the agent makes a list of your possessions equal in value to your debt.

Where a controlled goods agreement is made, you won't be able to dispose or sell the possessions listed without the permission of the enforcement agent. If you don't pay as agreed, the agent may then enter your property, by force if necessary, to remove the listed goods. At this point, you'll face further charges for the removal of these items, and their eventual sale.

When the enforcement agent believes there aren't enough goods present to clear the debt, we'll consider other methods of recovery, including starting proceedings for your bankruptcy or committal to prison. These are likely to result in further substantial costs.

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Page last updated 04/04/2017