If you get into payment difficulties and you can't afford your instalments, contact us straightaway.
We may be able to help you by making a different payment arrangement. Remember that paying by direct debit ensures that your payments are made on time every month.
If you pay late we will send you a reminder or final notice. If you do not pay you lose your right to pay by instalments, and this could result in you being summonsed to appear in the Magistrates' Court and charged court costs.
You only need to attend court if you have a legally valid reason for not paying. The valid reasons are: that we have not billed you properly, or that you can prove that the bill has already been paid. Not having any money is not a valid defence. If you make a payment arrangement with us before the court date you will not have to go to the court hearing.
The council must still attend court to get a liability order (an order that says you are liable to the rate) but, as long as the arrangement is kept, no further recovery action will be taken. The cost of the liability order will be included in the payment arrangement. We do not tell credit reference agencies about liability orders so your credit rating is not affected.
If you do not make a payment arrangement, or we cannot agree how you will pay, we will usually try to collect the money in one of the following ways:
- Asking our Enforcement Agents to collect the debt, which may result in them removing and selling some of your possessions. You will also have to pay their fees.
- Commencing insolvency proceedings through the High Court.
- Applying to the County Court for a charging order on your property that enables us to force its sale or repay your business rates out of the proceeds of any future sale. This will also result in you paying additional fees.
If you do not pay we can return to court. The court may decide to send you to prison, order you to pay, or tell us to write off part or all of the debt.