Do I Have To Pay Council Tax To Swift Bailiffs?
If you have been contacted by Swift bailiffs regarding your council tax dues and want to know whether or not you are supposed to make any payment to them, you should read the following blog post for guidance on the matter.
Do I Have To Pay Council Tax To Swift Bailiffs?
Yes, if Swift bailiffs or Swift Credit Services have contacted you, you will have to pay them the council tax you owe to the local council authorities. Swift bailiffs get in contact with individuals who have council tax arrears and the local council has not been able to recover the amount from them over many months, or even years in some cases.
Bailiffs are hired by local council authorities to recover their outstanding debt when their efforts have not been successful. Since bailiffs have the same authority as the local council at the time of debt recovery, it is advisable to pay your council tax debt to them when they contact you.
If you owe the council some money and they hire bailiffs to recover the amount from you, you will be obliged to make the payment. Otherwise, bailiffs can recover valuables from your property and sell the out to recover the dent that you owe to the authorities.
That said, you should not feel threatened or harassed in the presence of bailiffs. While Swift bailiffs are authorised to recover council tax debt, they are expected to maintain a professional attitude, not visit unannounced or at an inappropriate time or force entry into a house.
They can also not coerce you to pay your council tax bill if you are unable to make the full payment in a lump sum amount. If you cannot afford to pay Swift bailiffs the entire amount of your council tax dues as a single payment, you can choose to either pay them a certain amount when they visit or agree to pay the remaining amount by a certain date. Alternatively, you can also request an instalment-based repayment plan to pay back your council tax dues.
If you don’t want to have your council tax debt rerouted to Swift bailiffs or have them visit your home, you should make sure that you clear your council tax dues with the local council office when Swift bailiffs contact you to schedule an appointment.
Why Do I Have To Pay Council Tax Debt To Swift Bailiffs And Not The Council?
You have to pay your council tax debt to Swift bailiffs and not the council because the council authorities have chased you for a substantial period and have now attained the services of bailiffs who will be responsible for recovering the amount from you.
The council authorities would have essentially taken the following steps before onboarding bailiffs to recover your council tax debt:
- sent you your council tax bill
- sent you at least one reminder for your unpaid council tax
- sent you a letter of summons
Being contacted by Swift bailiffs means that since your local council was unable to recover your council tax debt, they have obtained a Liability Order against you from the Magistrate’s Court which gives them authority to hire a third party to take action against you if you refuse to clear your council tax dues.
What Powers Do Swift Bailiffs Have?
Swift bailiffs are authorised to do the following:
- Visit your house for debt collection as per a time and date communicated at least a week in advance.
- Use reasonable power such as a locksmith to enter your house to collect the said items (this can only happen if they have visited you at least once before and given you time to pay your dues).
- Collect valuables from your house.
- Sell the collected valuables to recover the amount of debt you owe.
However, they cannot perform any of the following actions:
- Force entry into your home.
- Visit your house from 9 pm to 6 am.
- Visit your house if there are vulnerable household members or children under 16 years old alone at home.
- Use any other mode of entry than the door (e.g. use the windows to enter your house).
What Should I Do If Swift Bailiffs Visit My House?
If Swift bailiffs visit your home for council tax debt recovery, you should follow the below-listed steps for a smooth and successful interaction:
- Ask the visitor to provide you with proof of their identity. Bailiffs are required by law to carry a badge, ID card or enforcement agent certificate that they show to residents to confirm their identity when they make house visits.
- The next thing you should ask them is the name and contact details of the company that they represent. You don’t have to open your door to check their identification and can ask them to show them through the window or pass them through the letterbox.
- If you are not satisfied with the identification documents they provide or they are unable to provide them, you should immediately call 999.
- On the other hand, if you are satisfied with their identity confirmation, you still don’t have to open the door and can continue talking through the door, a window or step outside of your home to talk to them.
What Will Happen If I Can’t Pay Council Tax Arrears To Swift Bailiffs?
If you can’t pay council tax arrears to Swift Credit at Marston Holdings, bailiffs can collect valuable possessions from your property which can be sold or auctioned to recover your council tax debt.
You must understand that if Swift bailiffs have contacted you to recover your council tax debt, it is only after a Liability Order is issued by the Magistrate’s Court at the request of your local council and a series of failed attempts to recover the amount from you.
If you are still unable to pay your dues, the council is authorised to have deductions made from your wages; and in extreme cases, there can be a prison sentence of 3 months.
The above discussion helps to conclude that if someone is under council tax debt and is contacted by Swift bailiffs, they should try to clear their debt as soon as and as much as possible as further delays can only lead to severe consequences in the future.