Non Domestic Rates Bailiffs
For business owners with arrears of non domestic rates, it is most important to try to reach a payment arrangement with the enforcement company on receipt of the Notice of Enforcement because, if a personal visit is made, many of the business items are at risk of being seized.
Can I refuse to allow the bailiff entry into my business premises?
Although you are not under any legal obligation to allow a bailiff into your business premises, the fact remains that if the business trades from a shop, office or warehouse etc it is very simple for a bailiff to gain ‘peaceful entry’ into the premises through an unlocked door.
Will the bailiff remove my business assets for my non domestic rate arrears?
It is the ‘threat’ of removal that a bailiff relies upon for payment and whether this is right or wrong, the fact remains that such a threat very often leads to payment being made (many times by borrowing from family or friends).
In relation to arrears of non domestic rates (NNDR), Regulation 4 of the Taking Control of Goods regulations provide very little protection for business owners. The items that are considered ‘exempt’ are listed below and it should be noted that exemption will only apply if the aggregate value of the items or equipment do not exceed £1,350.
Items that are exempt by law from being taken by a bailiff:
The full list of ‘exempt’ items can be found under Regulation 4 of the Taking Control of Goods regulations 2013 and include the following:
Items or equipment (for example, tools, books, telephones, computer equipment and vehicles) which are necessary and for use personally by the debtor in the debtor’s employment, business, trade, profession, study or education, except that in any case the aggregate value of the items or equipment to which this exemption is applied shall not exceed £1,350;
My business assets are secured by the bank or finance company.
With many medium and large businesses, it is common for business assets such as machinery, vehicles, stock, cash etc to be secured by the companies bank as collateral for overdraft facilities. If so, those assets will be exempt from being taken into control by a bailiff/enforcement agent. A copy of the agreement with the bank/finance company would need to be shown to the enforcement agent.
Bailiffs fees for non domestic rate arrears
If a bailiff makes a personal visit to enforce a Liability Order for non domestic rate arrears, the following fees may be charged:
Enforcement Fee of £235. This fee is chargeable when the visit is made. If your debt is over £1,500, the bailiffs can also charge 7.5% of the amount you owe above £1,500. For example, if you owe £1750, bailiffs can add on 7.5% of £250 at this stage.
Sale stage fee of £110. This fee is charged to cover attending to remove your goods for sale, valuing them and arranging for them to be sold. If your debt is over £1,500, bailiffs can also charge 7.5% of the amount you owe above £1,500.
Will the bailiff take my car?
Motor vehicles are always a problem. They are an attractive and valuable asset and are easy to identify given that in most cases, the car may be parked at the business premises meaning that the bailiff does not have to gain access into the property. Given the importance of a motor vehicle and its value we have a separate page on this subject which can be read here.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online
If you have any queries about the enforcement by a bailiff of council tax or NNDR please feel free to contact us. You can email a question to us using our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, can contact our helpline. Details are on our Contact page.
Lastly, our Simplified Guide to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.