Council Debt

Council debt is something that no one should ever brush aside or leave to the last minute.

Council tax is a high priority payment. When someone forgets or possibly refuses, to pay their council tax, they enter into council tax arrears and will be dealing with a “priority debt.”

Unlike most creditors, councils take no time at all being strict with getting you to pay council tax, and it helps to learn how to deal with council debt. As part of our personal finance solutions, Hillcrest Finance can help those who need help paying back council debt.

If you want advice on handling this debt, we’re going to examine some of the most common questions people ask when they need help. If you’d like to speak with an advisor on handling council debt today, get in touch right now, and we’ll be happy to help.

Why would someone end up with council debt?

In the majority of cases, an individual finds themselves in council debt because they don’t have the means to pay their council tax on time, whether in bulk or across instalments.

Anytime you know you’re not going to be able to pay council tax, you should get in touch with your local council straight away to let them know. If there’s a record that you’ve been in touch and are having problems, they may help you by either deferring payment for a few weeks or seeing if you can have your payment structure changed to pay lower amounts over a longer period.

The missing payment scenario

Many people have found themselves in arrears to the council often dispute that they simply did not know they had to pay a certain amount by a specific date. Councils are very litigious and will send reminders typically two weeks from payment due date.

Unless there are extenuating/rare circumstances where there’s proof the council have made a mistake or not informed you, they have powers in place to claim their debt back.

How can a council claim on debts?

The first action a council takes after missed payments is a final order, in which they’ll ask for the remaining tax for the year in one payment. Depending on where you live, you may give either one to two weeks’ notice to pay this debt.

If this order isn’t paid, or you haven’t been able to work a payment adjustment with the council, they will go to court and ask permission to get their payment in a variety of means, which include:

  • Jobseeker’s allowance
  • Universal or pension credit
  • Your wages (known as an attachment of earning)

It is rare for a council to go directly to your employer with the court’s permission, but it can happen.

Can I get my council bill brought down?

Yes. You should contact your council and ask if they can help.

They will typically see if you qualify for discounts like a disability reduction or single person discount (that’s where only one person lives in the property), but it is more common to find the council will simply ask for full payment.

In cases where you’re attempting to come to an arrangement, a council may expect you to send proof of your outgoings and income to show you do indeed have trouble. The clearer you are with your council, the more likely they’ll help to co-operate.

How much debt can council arrears create?

It will depend on your financial situation and how much debt you owe to other creditors. Generally speaking, when debts are above £5000, it is seen as a serious problem and could result in creditors forcing you to declare bankruptcy. If you have debts at any level, Hillcrest Finance can help.

If you’re based in Scotland and owe more than £5,000, we recommend reading about getting a Trust Deed.

Want to discuss how you can deal with council debt? Talk to Hillcrest Finance right now.

Call our advisors right on 0141 478 0862 if you’d like to discuss Personal debt solutions. You can also get in touch via our contact page.

Get in touch with us about your council debt