Once a debt has been assigned to an Enforcement Agent (EA) you will need to discuss the debt with them directly. If you contact the council and your debt is with Enforcement Agents, in most circumstances you will be told to contact the EA company directly.
An EA can visit your home and has a right to peaceful entry to your home. They cannot force entry unless they have a signed Control of Goods Agreement. They have the power to remove certain goods to clear the debt, if you are not able to pay in full. If you are a tenant the EAs cannot remove goods belonging to your landlord but proof of ownership will need to be supplied.
We may consider taking the debt back from the EA if we have evidence that you are vulnerable. Information on vulnerability can be found in the Council Tax Collection and Recovery Policy statement.
A person is considered vulnerable if he or she:
- has a physical or mental disability or difficulty understanding the English language - this means they cannot defend themselves. If this is the case we will point them in the direction of support, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.
- understands the proceedings but there are extenuating circumstances, such as a recent bereavement in the family.
What can Enforcement Agents charge for?
To find out, download our what Enforcement Agents can charge for factsheet.
What happens if the Enforcement Agents can't collect the money?
If the Enforcement Agents return your case to the council because they have not been able to collect the debt and you have insufficient goods to sell to clear the debt then the council can take you back to the Magistrates' Court. At the hearing you will have to show why you have not paid your Council Tax.
The Magistrates could:
- make a court order against you
- order the council to remit part of all of the Council Tax owed
- issue a warrant for your arrest
- send you to prison.
At court a means enquiry will be heard and if the court is satisfied that your failure to pay was a result of your willful refusal or culpable neglect, you could be sent to prison for up to three months.