Bailiff Fees: Council Tax
The fees that a bailiff/enforcement agent can charge when enforcing a Liability Order for council tax or non domestic rate (NNDR) arrears are outlined under the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. These regulations provide a strict three stage fee process as detailed below:
Compliance Fee: £75
Once a Liability Order has been granted, the local authority can pass instructions to their contracted enforcement agency. Upon receipt of an instruction, the enforcement agent must send you a Notice of Enforcement . This notice must give you give you ‘seven clear days’ notice that a visit will take place to take control of goods. A Compliance Fee of £75 is added to the debt at this stage. If payment in full or a payment proposal is not agreed during the strict time frame outlined in the Notice of Enforcement (referred to as the ‘Compliance Stage’ ) the account will be referred to an bailiff/enforcement agent and the fee as outlined below will be added to the debt.
Enforcement Fee: £235 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt over £1,500)
If full payment or a payment arrangement is not set up by the end of the ‘compliance stage’ or if a payment arrangement is broken, the account may be passed to an individual bailiff/enforcement agent. At the time of the visit, an enforcement fee of £235 will also be added to the debt. If the enforcement agent is enforcing more than one Liability Order or Warrant of Control he may only charge one ‘enforcement stage’ fee. He cannot apply ‘multiple’ charges.
Sale Stage Fee:£110 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt over £1,500)
This fee may be charged when a bailiff/enforcement agent attends your premises to take control of goods. The fee covers the preparations for the removal of goods. Additional charges may also be applied for storage charges and locksmith’s fees.
Can the bailiff/enforcement agent charge ‘multiple’ fees?
The simple answer is NO. Regulation 11 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 provides that the enforcement company should ensure that all debts appearing on their records be enforced by the bailiff/enforcement agent at the same time. Consequently…..only one Enforcement Fee of £235 may be charged.
To clarify the position, if you have two Liability Orders, then the bailiff company must send a separate Notice of Enforcement for each debt. A Compliance Fee of £75 is applicable for each account. However, if a personal visit is made to the property, then wherever practical, the enforcement company must ensure that all debts appearing on their records should be enforced by the bailiff/enforcement agent at the same time and most importantly…...only one Enforcement Fee of £235 may be charged.
Enforcement Fee of £235 and ‘vulnerable debtors’
Regulation 11 (above) and Regulation 12 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 are most important and have been put in place to protect individuals who may be vulnerable.
Regulation 12 protects vulnerable debtors who may have been unable in the early stages to seek advice (from the local authority, magistrates court, debt counsellor/debt charity etc) about the debt. If a bailiff makes a personal visit (which incurs an enforcement fee of £235) and identifies the debtor as ‘vulnerable’, Regulation 12 provides that he should give the debtor a chance to seek advice before removing goods. If he fails to do so, the ‘enforcement fee’ of £235 is not recoverable.
The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 can be read here.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice
If you have any queries about the bailiff fees being charged (and in particular if the bailiff attempts to charge ‘multiple fees’), you can email a question to Bailiff Advice using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Please refer to our Contact us page for further details.
A simple overview of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 including details of bailiff fees, the notices that must be given by the bailiff and items that are ‘exempt’ from being taken into control (by the bailiff) can be read here.