TfL Congestion Charge and Bailiff enforcement.

With so many enquiries being received  about Penalty Charge Notices issued by Transport for London for failing to pay the Congestion Charge, we decided to introduced this new page to outline the process from issuing of a Penalty Charge Notice right through to bailiff enforcement.

How much is the Congestion Charge?

The daily Congestion Charge is £11.50 (or £10.50 if paid using CC Auto Pay). If payment is made the following day, the charge increases to £14.

What happens if I fail to pay the Congestion Charge by midnight the following day?

If you fail to  pay the Congestion Charge by midnight the following day, Transport for London will send a formal notification – a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) to the registered keeper of the vehicle. You will have  28 days from the date of service of the PCN to either:

Pay the penalty or:

Challenge the PCN by making a representation either online or in writing.

If you pay within 14 days of the date of service you will receive a 50% discount and the amount payable will be £65.

Charge Certificate

If the penalty charge  is not paid in full within 28 days of the date of service, the 50% discount will be removed. A Charge Certificate will be issued and the amount of £130 becomes payable. You will have just 14 days from the date of service in which to pay this. Once a Charge Certificate has been  issued,  you can no longer make  representation or appeal the Congestion Charge.

However, if you did not receive the original PCN, or had made a representation or an appeal to Transport for London and had not received a reply, then you can file a  Statutory Declaration.

Order for Recovery

If the penalty charge (of £130) is not paid within 14 days of a Charge Certificate being served, Transport for London may apply to register the charge  as an unpaid debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre. The charge increases by 50% to £195 and a debt registration fee of £7 will be added.

You will then be sent an Order for Recovery. This is not a County Court Judgment and will not affect your credit rating. You have 21 days from the date of service in which to pay the penalty charge. If full payment (of £202) is not made, Transport for London will issue a Warrant of Control.

TfL Congestion Charge and bailiff enforcement.

Transport for London will pass the warrant of control to one of the three  private enforcement companies (Marston Holdings, Equita Ltd,  or JBW Judicial Services Ltd).

Once a case has been passed to an enforcement agent, they will commence enforcement activity; this is known as the compliance stage. At this point you will receive a Notice of  Enforcement which details the name and address on the warrant and how much money you owe. A compliance fee of £75 will be added to the debt increasing the amount due to £277. If you ignore this notice, an enforcement agent may visit your property to collect the outstanding debt. An enforcement fee of £235 will be added increasing the amount due to £513. At this stage, a bailiff can take control of a vehicle belonging to you to sell to recover the debt.

Congestion Charge..making a payment arrangement with the bailiff.

A payment arrangement can be set up with the enforcement company on receipt of the Notice of Enforcement. However, in order to avoid an enforcement fee of £235 being added, and the possibility  of your car being taken into control, this arrangement must be set up  before the ‘Compliance stage’ expires (this is the date given on the Notice of Enforcement  by when payment must be made).

If full payment or a payment arrangement is not set up by the date given on the Notice of Enforcement, the warrant will be passed to an individual enforcement agent so that a personal visit can be made. The debt will then increase to £513 to include the statutory enforcement fee of £235. Buy this time, it is much more difficult to set up a payment arrangement.

I moved address and have not received any notices from Transport for London.

If you had not received the initial penalty charge notice as you had moved address then you can submit an Out of Time witness statement to the Traffic Enforcement Centre. Full details of this procedure can be read here.

Transport for London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and bailiff enforcement.

Warrants of Control are also issued by Transport for London for non payment of Low Emission Zone (LEZ) Penalty Charge Notices. As above, if a Low Emission Zone PCN is not paid  within 14 days of a charge certificate being served, then TfL may apply to register the charge as an unpaid debt. An Order for Recovery will then be sent. Depending on the vehicle’s size, the amount owed increases to either £757 or £1,507. You will have just 21 days from the date of service in which to pay. Failure to pay (or to submit a Witness Statement/Statutory Declaration) will lead to  a warrant being issued and passed to one of four private enforcement companies contracted by Transport for London (Marston Holdings, Equita Ltd, Task Enforcement or JBW Judicial Service Ltd).

Note from Bailiff Advice Online:

If you have received a letter or a visit from a bailiff/enforcement agent in relation to a Transport for London (TfL) congestion charge that you were unaware of (usually because all notices had been sent to a previous address), you can email a question to us using our popular Question page.  Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Details are on our Contact page.