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Enforcement agent action

Why are enforcement agents visiting my property?

If you haven't been in touch by the time the magistrates issue a liability order, and an attachment of earnings or benefit is not possible, we will ask enforcement agents to collect the outstanding sum of money.

They will add the costs of doing this to the total they collect from you. The more action they have to take, the more the costs will be.

We will also instruct enforcement agents if other arrangements to collect the money fail, for example, you make an arrangement to pay but don't keep to it.

Usually they will visit your home to try to collect cash or a cheque for the amount owed in the first instance. They may accept instalment payments, but don't have to.

The alternative is that they remove items belonging to you and sell them at public auction to raise the money you owe both them and the council. This is known as taking control of goods and can be done:

  • by any certificated enforcement agent (a person approved by the court)
  • any day of the week between 6am and 9pm 
  • anywhere in England and Wales

An enforcement agent can't force his or her way into a property unless they have previously been allowed access.

When enforcement agents are in a property they can take goods up to the resale value of the Council Tax owed.

They can only take goods belonging to the person named on the liability order, but it is up to that person to prove if any goods on the property don't belong to them. This is not the enforcement agent's responsibility.

Controlled goods agreement

After "taking control of goods" the enforcement agent will probably let them stay on the property, as long as you make a satisfactory payment arrangement and keep to it.

Removal of goods 

The enforcement agent actually removes the goods from the property.

There are certain goods which they are not allowed to take. These include:

  • fixtures and fittings
  • tools, books, vehicles and other equipment that is necessary for your personal use in your work or business
  • food, clothes, bedding, and any furniture or household equipment that is necessary to meet the basic needs of you and your family.

If enforcement agents can't find enough goods to remove, or can't gain access to a property they will tell the council. We then have no choice but to start committal action.

We only ask enforcement agents to act on our behalf if we have to. You may be able to prevent it happening. Contact us if you are summonsed. Ignoring a summons will make things more difficult later.

Once the enforcement agent has been instructed, you will have to deal with him or her direct. We will not be involved again unless the enforcement agents are unable to recover the whole debt, and then it is possible you will have to go back to court.

If you want to complain about the action taken by enforcement agents, please write directly to the enforcement agent company and they will investigate your complaint in accordance with their own complaints procedure. Please send a copy of your letter to us for monitoring purposes.

A leaflet detailing the Association of Civil Enforcement Agencies complaints procedure will be sent with their reply, and this will tell you what to do if you want your complaint reconsidered.

Contact Council Tax

Email: council.tax@dover.gov.uk

Phone: 01304 872199