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Bristow and Sutor enforcement visit warning letter

bluetempler asked:

Hi all,

Today a bailiff from above compant arrived at my doorstep with an enforcement visit warning letter for my partner.

She has gone bankrupt but he said this bill (council tax) was not covered.

What is this letter and where do we stand.

My partner phoned him to say she was bankrupt and had nothing, but he then started talking to her about prison.

Any advice please?

stoneybroke replied:

He is making false threats.

I would report him with threatening behaviour.

Post him a denial of access template and put on gates to.

Good replied:

Is the the bill pre bankruptcy or post. If it is post then it does not encompass the bankruptcy order.

All the best

Good.

bluetempler replied:

Hi,

Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

The debt is before the bankruptcy.

Is there anyway they can over ride this?

I didn’t think it was possible.

stoneybroke replied:

Do u know if the debt was included in the bankruptcy?

bluetempler replied:

Hi again,

My partner said the bankruptcy is at the stage where there seeing if she has any expendable income.

She has already been to court and paid fees etc etc, and has received letter saying shes bankrupt.

So are the bailiffs just trying it on?

bluetempler replied:

Hi stoneybroke,

Yes, she said it was included.

zero3 replied:

Go to the The Certificated Enforcement Agent Register online, and you can check if the agent that visited you holds a bailiff certificate.

If they are working for B/S just type Bristow or sutor in the search box and then search the list for the name of the agent who signed the enforcement visit letter.

It will tell you which court granted him his certificate. Most likely to be Worcestershire combined court.

If he has overstepped the mark then you can get in touch with the court and ask them to check his fitness to hold an enforcement certificate.

stoneybroke replied:

Well, u will have been appointed a trustee over the bankruptcy.

Maybe have a chat with them because if the debt is included in the bankruptcy I don’t c how they can make u pay it in the bankruptcy agreement.

stoneybroke replied:

Bankruptcy

October 2014

Fact sheet no. 1

Other effects of bankruptcy

Utilities

Your electricity and gas suppliers may insist that you have pre-payment meters installed.

If you had a fuel pre-payment meter before you were made bankrupt and this had been set to collect arrears, it should be adjusted to take account of current usage only after you are made bankrupt.

Your telephone company may allow the supply to remain in your name but may insist on a deposit. It may be necessary to stop and then re-start the telephone supply. It may be possible for another person, for example a spouse, relative or third party, to take responsibility for payment of the telephone bill.

All outstanding electricity, gas and telephone bills at the date of bankruptcy are treated as ordinary debts and included in your bankruptcy.

Council tax

You will still be liable for your present and future council tax. But any council tax arrears due at the date you became bankrupt are included in the bankruptcy. The council will not be able to enforce this debt once you are bankrupt.

If, before you were bankrupt, you lost the right to pay your council tax by instalments because you did not make the payments on time, you will have become liable to pay the whole year’s council tax. This debt will be included in the bankruptcy and you will not be liable for any payments towards council tax for the rest of the financial year, as long as you remain bankrupt.

Bank accounts

See our information sheet:

Basic bank accounts.

You may have to close your bank or building society account when you are made bankrupt. Your trustee may allow you to open another account, usually an ‘instant access’ type, where there is no cheque book, cheque card or overdraft facility.

What will happen to my credit rating?

Credit reference agencies hold information about bankruptcy for six years from the date your bankruptcy was granted. This can significantly affect your ability to get further credit.

Details of your bankruptcy will also appear in the Register of Insolvencies, which is a public register. Your details will remain on this register until one year after your trustee has completed their duties.

How long will my bankruptcy last?

Information:

letters from creditors

Under the rules in the Consumer Credit Act 1974, your creditors will usually have to keep sending you annual statements, as well as arrears and default notices in a set format. This will happen even when you are bankrupt. Don’t worry, this does not mean that there is a problem with your bankruptcy. If you receive other letters from your creditors demanding payment, contact us for advice.

Your bankruptcy will normally last for one year. After this time you will no longer be liable for the debts included in the bankruptcy. This is called ‘discharge’. Some debts will not be written off at the end of your bankruptcy. See the next section Will any debts be excluded from my bankruptcy? for more information. 😉

bluetempler replied:

Hi,

I have just checked the register and he is not on there.

He is Mark Taylor from bristow and sutor and nothing shows.

zero3 replied:

Hi bluetempler,

I have just double checked for you and he is on there:

Mark Taylor Worcester Combined Court 26/03/2014 25/03/2016 Bristow & Sutor

bluetempler replied:

Hi,

Oops, thanks for spotting that for me.

Does that mean they can seize our belongings?

stoneybroke replied:

Not unless u let them. In best u read the bailiffs section. They get real pushy bailiffs. Learn how to deal with them incase they do visit.

bluetempler replied:

Hi,

Ok, and thank you very much for your advice.

stoneybroke replied:

Advice Now Web 0023 OpUsually you will find that if you owe someone money, they will be fairly reasonable as long as you stay in touch with them and show that you are willing to repay your debts. However, sometimes you might not take action early enough, or you might find yourself faced with a pushy or aggressive creditor who won’t accept your offers of repayment. If things get really bad, they may send a bailiff round.

Auctions

If possible, you don’t want the bailiff to take your things to sell at auction. They are likely to sell for far less than it will cost you to replace them, and you have to pay a fee – which only adds to the debt. It usually works out as a very expensive way to pay off a debt.

In many cases the company, organisation, council or person you owe money to (the law calls them the ‘creditor’) will have to take court action against you before they can do this.

The bailiff’s job is to get you to pay the debt; if necessary by taking away some of your belongings to sell at auction in order to produce enough money to repay the creditor.

If a bailiff visits you, you have a number of legal rights. Sometimes these rights depend on the type of debt the bailiff is collecting. In this section we give you an overview of bailiffs’ powers.

When can a bailiff come round?

• In most cases, bailiffs are allowed to come round at any time of the day or night and on any day of the week except Sundays, Good Friday or Christmas Day. (Government guidance on how bailiffs should behave called ‘The National Standards for Enforcement Agents’ recommends that bailiffs only come between 6am and 9pm. However it is a voluntary code and not enforceable by law. You can find these standards in ‘Links to other websites’).

• If the debt involves unpaid rent, bailiffs are not allowed to come round between sunset and sunrise, and not on a Sunday.

• If the debt involves unpaid VAT then bailiffs may only come round between 8.00am and 8.00pm. If you run your business outside these times, then the bailiffs can start removing your things at any time and on any day when you are trading.

Where can a bailiff take my belongings from?

In general, bailiffs can go anywhere in England or Wales to find your belongings. In practice, they will have either a business or home address for you, and this will probably be the only place they visit.

If the debt is for rent arrears, then a bailiff can only take belongings from the rented property for which the arrears are due. If you remove your belongings to try and avoid the bailiff getting them, then they have a right to look for them at another address.

How can they go about it?

Most bailiffs do not have the right to force their way in to carry out their job. They may only enter peacefully and with your permission. This rule applies in most cases, but there are a few exceptions:

• Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs can get permission to force entry on their first visit (the law calls this ‘initial entry’) for income tax arrears.

• Civil court bailiffs can force initial entry to premises that are not a home (the law calls these ‘non-domestic premises’); but this is rare.

• If you have already allowed a bailiff in once and they have identified and reserved the goods they want to sell (the law calls this ‘levying distress’ or ‘seizing’ goods) then if you refuse to let them in when they return to collect these goods, they can use force to re-enter.

• Bailiffs who have authority to remove possessions to pay a fine imposed by the magistrate’s court, for example as punishment for committing a criminal offence, have the power to force entry to your home or business address. But they should only do this as a last resort and where it is reasonable and necessary.

Any other use of force by a bailiff would make the removal of your belongings illegal.

Beware!

In most cases, the law does not allow bailiffs to force their way into your home unless you have let them in peacefully before.

Some bailiffs will try various tactics to get around the rules. They may:

• attempt to walk straight into your home as soon as the door is open;

• decide not to try to enter the house itself but to seize goods outside, such as a parked car on a driveway;

• enter through windows or skylights that are left open;

• use ladders to climb up to upstairs windows or over back walls.

Once they are in, a bailiff is allowed to break open internal doors including to cupboards or attics.

If bailiffs enter your home or business illegally, there are some situations when you may be able to start court proceedings to get your possessions back and get compensation. But you will need to get advice. See More help and Advice.

What can a bailiff take?

Bailiffs can take items such as TVs, cars, bikes and games consoles. In practice, they probably won’t be interested in most household furniture because the resale value is very low.

They cannot usually take your basic household goods (such as your washing machine, cooker, vacuum cleaner or fridge, clothing and bedding) or things you use to make a living (such as tools, or a computer).

They can’t take things that belong to your children or to someone else. But they may be able to take things you own jointly with someone else. The proceeds of the sale of jointly owned goods have to be divided between the owners, so only half can go to pay off your debt.

January 2014

stoneybroke replied:

What should you know when it comes to dealing with a visit from the bailiffs?

When can a bailiff come to my home?

If you have council tax arrears, the local authority can authorise the bailiffs to take your goods once a liability order has been made. They don’t have to go back to the court for authorisation.

Will I get notice of a visit?

Generally, yes. If you have a liability order for council tax arrears, for example, the local authority must send you a warning letter at least 14 days before the bailiff’s first visit. If you receive such a notice, do not ignore it. Get advice from an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau.

What times can they visit?

In practice bailiffs should not come before 6am, after 9pm, on Sundays and bank holidays, or on specific religious festivals. If they do, this could count as harassment.

What should I check if I am visited?

Ask to see proof of their identity, a copy of the original court order saying you owe the money, and a copy of their authorisation to take your things away. Check the dates of the documents to see if they are still valid.

Do I have to let them in?

No. You can choose not to and they are not generally allowed to force their way in. There are exceptions, for example where the bailiffs are collecting income tax or VAT and have permission from the court. But they can get in without your permission if they can do so without using force, for example through an unlocked door or open window. This is called peaceful entry and once in by this method, they can break open the doors of other rooms.

They can also force their way into other buildings on your property, such as a garden shed or detached garage, as long as they aren’t attached to your home. And if you live in a flat, they may have the right to break down your door once they have got in through the main entrance to the block.

So do not open your door and keep windows shut if you know they are due; speak through the closed door. Politely tell them you are not going to let them in and that you will try to sort out the debt in another way.

What if they force their way in?

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to complain to the person who instructed the bailiffs, report the matter to the police, complain to the professional body responsible for the particular bailiffs or take court action to get your goods back.

What if I move things so that they cannot get them?

As long as the correct court orders are in place, the bailiffs can usually take your things from anywhere in England and Wales. So if you move your goods to a friend’s house, the bailiffs can come there to get them – if they know where they are. However, you don’t have to answer their questions.

Can they take a vehicle from outside?

Yes. They can take it from wherever it is parked. But if you are still paying for a vehicle on hire purchase, they shouldn’t take it. You can prove the vehicle is not yours by showing the bailiff your hire purchase agreement.

What happens if they cannot get in?

The bailiffs may post a form, a “statement of means”, through your letterbox and ask you to fill it in with details of your income and expenditure. They will return this to the court, which will use it to decide on a reasonable repayment schedule. You do not have to fill in this form, but the court may later take this as a sign that you have been unwilling to pay.

Bailiffs will usually have a few attempts at getting into your property and, if they don’t succeed, will eventually refer your debt back to whoever asked them to collect it. The lender or court may then take further legal action against you.

What happens if the bailiffs do get in to my home?

In most cases, they can only take things that belong to you, but this includes things you own jointly with someone else. They cannot take your partner’s belongings. So make it clear to the bailiffs who owns what. The owner of the goods can swear a statement to say the goods belong to them.

Is there anything they are not allowed to take?

Children’s belongings, items still being paid for on hire purchase and, in most cases, “protected items” including clothing, bedding, essential household equipment, furniture that you need for basic domestic use, fixtures and fittings such as a built-in wardrobes, tools, books, work equipment and vehicles that you need for work. However, bailiffs will usually take any goods, leaving it to you to show that they belong to someone else or are protected goods.

Will they remove my things there and then?

The most common way bailiffs take legal control of your goods is to write a list of what they have seized and ask you to sign a “walking possession agreement”. Once you have signed, the bailiffs have control over your goods and can return to remove them at a later stage, even by breaking in. If you refuse to sign the walking possession agreement, the bailiffs can immediately remove the goods they have seized.

How soon will my belongings be sold and what happens to the money?

There is usually at least five days before the sale, which is normally by public auction. The money raised will be used to pay your debt and the bailiffs’ charges. Any money left over must be given back to you.

What if the sale doesn’t raise enough to pay off my debt?

You will still owe the rest of the debt to your creditor and they can take further action to recover the rest of the debt. But creditors or the court may also consider writing off the rest of the debt and it is worth asking them to do this.

What can bailiffs charge me for?

Different types of bailiffs have different rules, usually set down in law, about what they can charge. In general you may be charged for letters, visits to your home, taking legal control over your goods, transporting (council tax bailiffs can charge for bringing a van even if they didn’t actually remove the goods), storing and valuing the goods, advertising the sale and auction costs.

Can I complain about a bailiff?

If the bailiffs do not act correctly, you may be able to make a complaint against them or take court action against them or report them to the police. But the rules are complicated and often depend on the sort of debt and who is instructing the bailiffs. Even if you think something is unfair, the bailiffs might still be acting legally. You should seek expert advice on how to proceed.Citizens Advice offers online guidance on bailiffs at adviceguide.org.

Sparticus1 replied:

Hi All,

Could anyone please tell me if Bristow & Sutor are a certified or registered enforcenent agency for councils.

Many thanks.