Enforcement agents and unpaid business rates
Why enforcement agents are involved in collecting business rates
If you have an unpaid court order (liability order) because of a non-payment of business rates, the council can instruct enforcement agents to collect any outstanding debt.
What will happen if my debt is passed to enforcement agents?
If your debt is passed to an enforcement agent you will have to pay a fixed fee of £75.00 when they issue the letter. The letter, known as an enforcement notice, will give you at least 7 days’ notice of the agent’s intention to visit your property to take control of goods. If you receive an enforcement notice you should immediately contact the enforcement agent in order to make payment in full or agree a payment plan before they visit your property.
If the enforcement agent visits your property you will incur further fees of £235.00 (plus an additional 7.5% for any balance over £1,500.00). The enforcement agents will attend your property in order to take control of goods, including everything involved in identifying, valuing and taking control of your belongings.
Removal or sale of your goods may still be avoided at this stage if you make payment in full or agree payment via a short-term arrangement known as a ‘Controlled Goods Agreement’. If your possessions are subject to a Controlled Goods Agreements then you cannot dispose of them without the enforcement agent’s permission.
If you fail to maintain a payment arrangement and you have signed a Controlled Goods Agreement, the enforcement agent may re-visit your property in order to take the goods listed on the agreement.
If the enforcement agent attends your property to remove goods for sale you will incur further fees of £110.00 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt that exceeds £1,500.00). You may also be charged additional disbursements such as storage fees and auctioneers fees.
Entering your property
Enforcement agents may enter or re-enter premises on any day of the week after 6.00 am and before 9.00 pm via any door or usual means by which entry is gained.
Goods the enforcement agents can take
The enforcement agent is allowed to remove any goods, other than those required to meet your family's and your own basic domestic needs. This includes clothing and bedding and goods required personally by you in your employment, such as tools. This is provided the total value of the tools is less than £1,350.
What happens if enforcement agents can't collect the business rates
If the enforcement agents cannot collect the business rates or there are insufficient goods to clear the debt, we will consider alternative recovery options. This may include bankruptcy, liquidation, placing a legal charge on your property or committal proceedings.
How to make a complaint
If you don't think that the enforcement agents have followed the above process, contact the Business Rates team.
You can access further information on enforcement agents and fees at the Citizens Advice website.