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(22 Posts)
TantrumsAndBalloons Wed 27-Feb-13 05:50:31

No bailiff can break down your door.

For magistrates warrants, bailiffs are allowed to use a locksmith the gain entry once it has been established the person lives there and is refusing to make any effort to pay but they never do that anyway.

Council tax bailiffs have no power of entry and cannot enter the property unless you invite them in.

CookieM0nster Tue 26-Feb-13 21:36:23

Hi SkeletonButterfly, I am so sorry to hear about your predicament.
Over the last few years, (since having kids and becoming a SAH mum) I have found both Mumsnet and the websites invaluable for advice and support. Here is a link to their guide on IVA's :
The MSE site has loads of helpful tools, like simple spreadsheets to help you budget and like here, very supportive forums.
It's natural to dream of a miracle solution to debt, but unfortunately it is when you are are your lowest that you need to be incredibly guarded about people apparently offering you deals that sound too good to be true. A few years ago a friend of mine took out a loan from someone on her doorstep because it seemed affordable, (she 'only' had to repay £10 per week), but when we sat and calculated the interest she was repaying on her debt, it was 50% of what she had borrowed. Up to that point she had genuinely thought of this guy as her friend...
I agree with everyone who has posted above me, the first step is the most difficult and you have taken that now! Best of luck x

SolidGoldBrass Tue 26-Feb-13 20:47:54

It is not true that bailiffs collecting council tax can break down the door. I have seen off more than one set of council-tax bailiffs myself. Some are reasonable and decent companies, but quite a lot are greedy fucking liars who will try to overcharge you. They are private companies making a profit out of poverty, so don't feel bad about defending yourself against them and outwitting them.
They cannot charge you hundreds of pounds on top of what you owe the council. They cannot 'levy distress' if you don't let them in. You haveto make yourself aware of the law, always be polite, but stand your ground - oh and pay the debt, obviously.

OP, first read this sitewhich is excellent on bailiffs, andthen get on to Step Change Debt Charity for sorting out debts.

MandaMilner Tue 26-Feb-13 20:36:52

Just to correct FairyJen, or it might vary from council to council, but Council bailiffs are very very different from 'normal' bailiffs (eg if you haven't paid your phone bill) They have a lot more rights as they are 'Government', and can break down your door if you do not answer- they do not need police to enter and if you phone the police, they will only aid them in. They certainly do not need any warrant like 'normal' bailiffs. Your best bet would be Citizen's advice as they normally will phone the council on your behalf whilst you're sat there and they are more sympathetic and helpful. Our council employ a load of nob ends who would have you hung if you didnt pay.

stumpweasel Tue 26-Feb-13 18:54:25

Please think long and hard about an IVA - I would urge you to talk to CAB first. IVA's are not always the answer (despite what the ads would have you believe) and can make things worse if you don't find a reputable company to set one up for you. I appreciate your credit history isn't uppermost in your concerns but an IVA will have serious long term effects.

Once you've put your budget together, try talking to your creditors, you may be able to agree repayment plans with them - they will see more money this way than if you go the IVA route. If you can, include in your budget a tiny amount of fritter money - aim to save it for a rainy day - but even if it's just enough for one tiny bar of chocolate a week or a month, a small treat can be hoarded and enjoyed when you're really low. I've found absolute denial makes me worse.

Best of luck out there - I know it will be hard but I believe you will pull through.

SkeletonButterfly Tue 26-Feb-13 15:18:44

I called the council today - they would not accept a payment plan as I had reneged before (completely understandable).

So I called the bailiffs and they were really helpful and pleasant - set up a payment plan and will be free of Council Tax debt in 31 weeks

Now, I need to knuckle down about my other debts and speak to National Debt Helpline or similar - I am thinking I will need an IVA as I just do not have enough money after bills for any payments on debts.

specialsubject Mon 25-Feb-13 20:28:11

I'm afraid you ARE extravagant if you 'fritter', with the bailiffs calling.

don't panic - it's only money and thus the problem can be solved. But as you note, you need to 'get real' and that starts with facing the problem.

good luck.

SkeletonButterfly Mon 25-Feb-13 19:56:55

Oh no I know I am, little things like a few bits of choc for the toddler in tesco, things that are on offer.

We aren't into buying stuff or being extravagant but we do 'fritter' an awful lot hmm

Imnotaslimjim Mon 25-Feb-13 17:12:29

You do not need to give them a list of goods, or sign anything that they give you. And as PP's have said, don't let them in, even to use the loo

Offer them what you can, but be prepared for them to say it isn't enough. Try and offer slightly less than you can afford so you have a little leeway when they ask for more not speking from experience at all

Do sit down and make a busget plan though, sometimes its amazing how much we can spend on nothing without realising it (not saying you are, just know its possible)

SkeletonButterfly Mon 25-Feb-13 16:19:50

I am going to sit down with my partner tonight to create a budget and then will sort it out tomorrow and call them. I think we need a reality check!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 25-Feb-13 16:09:14

Please ring them.

Many years ago I was in your shoes and I made myself ill in the end with the worry and fear, I was terrified I'd be sent to prison for the debt. The fear of what might happen was far, far worse than the reality of confronting the debt. It took a few years and some tight times but with the help of CAB and a couple of other agencies I am now out of debt and able to breathe again. It is doable but you have to confront it.

SkeletonButterfly Mon 25-Feb-13 16:09:11

Oh my god I'm so screwed. Have already been in tears in the bank today and now this - it's all gone to hell in a hand basket.

Thank you for the advice though, it's good to know what to expect.

I haven't ignored summons I couldn't attend and they were taking payments through my wages but I changed jobs to help with money and they obv haven't sorted out an alternative as yet.

FairyJen Mon 25-Feb-13 16:05:14

Depends entirely on council I'm afraid. I've had debts recalled but sometimes this is not an option. Quite simply you do not have to tell a bailiff anything about your possessions. You can also move them to another address if you wish.

Until the bailiff turns up with a police officer and a warrant to enter property you are under NO legal obligation to allow them in!

Run the council explain nicely that they can work out a payment to get money or if they use bailiffs imply they will get nothing as your not going to allow them access.

If you can google the bailiff company, some are nicer/ more reputable than others. See what is said about them but bear in mind as soon a you contact them directly it will be confirmation of your identity and they will harass you continuously once this happens and every letter or visit is around £55 in bailiff fees!

LIZS Mon 25-Feb-13 16:01:48

possibly but it may already be too late to stop the action . Have you ignored previous letters including a summons perhaps ?

SkeletonButterfly Mon 25-Feb-13 16:00:10

I don't have letterbox or chain on door - on the letter it says that to discuss payment I have to have him list our possessions?! If I call the council will that make it stop?

FairyJen Mon 25-Feb-13 15:57:41

Whatever happens whilst you are sorting payment DO NOT let the bailiff into your home! Once they have entered once they can break in legally to collect your possessions! Also make sure all windows and doors are locked shut as they can gain access through open windows etc ( grey area in law IMO )

Speak to them through letter box or with chain on door ect.

SkeletonButterfly Mon 25-Feb-13 15:55:52

Thank you, I have been struggling with paying all my bills recently (low income and live in high rental price area) and we never seem to get our heads above water financially.

I know I need to call them thank you

LeBoob Mon 25-Feb-13 15:53:34

Ring them, they are generally really good and will assess what your income is and agree with you what you can afford. Unfortunately now the baliffs have been the amount will have increased, ring your council today and explain your situation, they will be happy you did & it will stop you jumping out of your skin at every knock on The door! Good luck

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 25-Feb-13 15:52:46

You need to ring the council tax department and speak to them. Hiding away won't help, they will keep coming back until they get a response from you. Taking the first steps to make contact is the worst step, after that it gets easier. Have you got a CAB you can ask for advice? They often have debt advisers that can help you. If you can't face making the call then ring National Debt Line on 0808 808 400

TantrumsAndBalloons Mon 25-Feb-13 15:52:21

If you pretended not to be the person, what did you say?
Did you say the person lived there? Did the bailiff ask for your id?

The bailiff will come back. And add more fees each time he does.

Obviously this has already been to court so you cannot set up a payment plan with the council/court.
The bailiff company may allow you to pay in installments but you have to ring them and be honest with them because they have a warrant from the court so it won't just go away if you ignore them.

As it is council tax, be aware that the bailiff cannot enter your property unless you invite them in. They cannot force entry, put their foot in the threshold or use a locksmith.

But every time you pretend to be someone else they will charge a visit fee.

LIZS Mon 25-Feb-13 15:47:57

Can you make an offer to council to pay by installment? Has it been to court already ?

SkeletonButterfly Mon 25-Feb-13 15:47:13

Hello all

I am hoping someone can advise of my next step. Have just pretended not to be me as a bailiff turned up at my door for non-payment of council tax.

It's quite a serious amount I owe - what do I do now?

Thank you for any help you can give me.

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