Black Star 3

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Ghost_Of_Durruti
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Joined: 17-02-06
Apr 10 2006 16:21
Black Star 3

I know, I know, we've only just got number 2 finished. But as promised, I knocked up a factsheet 'how to beat the bailiffs' - maybe it can go in number 3, or be printed up as a separate ting. Whatever comrades are happy with. Oh, and I've shamelessly ripped most of it off the web (national debt helpline), so expect a copyright lawsuit to follow red n black star

Beat the Bailiffs

This information concerns bailiffs who may call trying to collect council tax or community tax (poll tax) arrears. If a bailiff has contacted you trying to collect another sort of debt, the law may be different.

Council tax and Poll tax debts are usually collected by private firms on behalf of your local council. They will try to take your goods away and sell them, usually at auction, to raise money to pay the debt. The process they have to follow to say they want your goods is called 'distraining' or 'levying'. As most councils no longer pay these companies for their services, baliffs have their own expenses to meet, and will not hesitate to lie, cheat, and generally intimidate you into handing your possessions over. It is important you know your rights.

1) DO I HAVE TO LET THE BAILIFFS IN?

IF THE BAILIFFS HAVE NOT BEEN INTO YOUR HOME BEFORE TO COLLECT THIS DEBT, THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO COME IN. THEY CANNOT BREAK IN. YOU CAN CHOOSE NOT TO LET THEM IN.

DON'T open the door to them as they may try to push past you. If they get inside, they may have a right to enter again and may break in to take your goods.

DON'T leave windows open or doors unlocked - bailiffs can legally get in through these. Bailiffs CANNOT get the police to help them break in.

BEWARE some bailiffs may leave you a phone number, and arrange to come round to 'have a chat'. Don't let them in, even if they say it's only to use the toilet or make a phone call.

Bailiffs MAY try to break into sheds, garages, greenhouses etc., even though this is illegal. KEEP VALUABLES SAFE! They may be able to take cars, motor-bikes and other vehicles parked near your home.

Politely but firmly refuse to let the bailiffs in. Offer what you can afford to pay. If the bailiffs accept your offer, ask them to return to their car, and go out and pay them. Make sure you get a receipt.

DON'T SIGN ANYTHING! If the bailiff leaves papers for you to sign and return, you do not have to do this. You don't have to sign agreements posted through your door either.

2) THE BAILIFFS HAVE ALREADY BEEN INSIDE MY HOME

THIS IS MORE SERIOUS. If you have let them in before, and they did a valid levy, then bailiffs have the right to return to your home and if you don't let them in, they are allowed to break in.

Contact the bailiffs straight away and make an offer to pay the debt in installments. Show them a copy of your personal budget so they can see you are offering as much as you can afford. You will need to treat this as a priority debt as bailiffs could come back and take any goods they have listed if you don't pay. Get a receipt for any payments you make.

Contact your council and ask them to take the debt back.

3) WHAT THINGS ARE THE BAILIFFS ALLOWED TO TAKE?

There are some things that the bailiffs are not allowed to take at all; such as goods that are rented or hired. The regulations also say that the following items are exempt and can't be taken:

"Such tools, books, vehicles and other items of equipment as are necessary for use personally in employment, business or vocation"

"Such clothing, bedding, furniture, household equipment and provisions as are necessary for satisfying basic domestic needs of the person and family".

This list is not very specific so you may find that bailiffs have a different idea of what items are necessary for you to keep and what can be taken. You can complain about what the bailiffs take if you feel the items should have been exempt.

4) CAN THE BAILIFFS TAKE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT MINE?

The bailiffs can only take goods belonging to you if you are named on the liability order. This means that if the council tax debt is just in your name, the bailiff should not take goods which are owned jointly with someone else. If they want to take goods that belong to someone else (your children, partner, lodgers etc.) explain that the goods do not belong to you. If you can, show a receipt or note as proof. The owner of the goods may have to provide a sworn statement in the form of a "statutory declaration" to say this is the case. They cannot take goods which are rented or hired. This includes goods on hire purchase agreements. Show them a copy of your credit agreement if you can.

5) WHAT IF I HIDE THINGS OR GIVE THEM AWAY?

If the bailiffs haven't yet been in, you can hide things or take them somewhere else. If the bailiffs have already been in, you are committing an offence if you remove goods that they have said they will take. You can hide them on your premises but the bailiffs can search for them. However, if the bailiffs have listed exempt goods on a walking possession agreement, the agreement may be invalid as it applies to these goods. You may be able to remove the exempt goods only

HOW DO I STOP THE BAILIFFS?

You can try to make an arrangement to pay the debt back at a rate that you can afford.

You can offer the money directly to the bailiffs, although it is easier to get them to accept your offer if they have never been into your home. Always get a receipt for any money you pay.

Bailiffs cannot send you to prison . If the bailiffs have never been into your home and they will not accept your offer, all they can do is to pass your debt back to the council. It is important to make an arrangement to pay the council, or they may try other ways of recovering the money, such as taking money out of your wages or your benefit.

If you are on income support, pension credit or job seeker's allowance, some councils have a policy for not using bailiffs and will accept an offer from you or agree to accept direct payments from your benefits. Ask your council if they are willing to take the debt back from the bailiffs so you can pay them directly.

If the council won't help then contact your local councillor and ask them to take it up with the council for you. Explain what hardship you will be in if the bailiffs come to your home and take your belongings.

WeTheYouth
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Joined: 16-10-03
Apr 12 2006 16:14

cool, ill put it in the next issue.

WeTheYouth
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Apr 28 2006 00:10

As catalyst is nearly done, i am gonna start up on number 3 with a new layout and the brilliant article above. Will comrades please begin sending me articles for the next issue.

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Steven.
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Apr 28 2006 01:14

could you guys post your articles to libcom.org news? if you get a WMA login for it all your stories will be grouped together, have link to you on, etc.

WeTheYouth
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Apr 30 2006 17:24
John. wrote:
could you guys post your articles to libcom.org news? if you get a WMA login for it all your stories will be grouped together, have link to you on, etc.

yeah, when i get the articles i will put them up.

Also we have an article on vivisection for the next issue.

WeTheYouth
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Joined: 16-10-03
May 7 2006 22:31

This wont be finished by saturday, i will explain why when i see you all. Sorry.

WeTheYouth
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May 12 2006 09:43

I apologise it will be finished tonight.