New Enforcement Charges

In 2014 new rules concerning the recovery of money from debtors were brought in.

CIVEA members enforce non-High Court orders, which relate to debts for things like council tax, child support, traffic offences or Magistrates’ Court fines.

Below we’ve outlined the process of a non-High Court order and the fees to expect:

Warrant is issued

If you have a debt that has not been paid, the individual body (usually a local authority) issues a court order (now known as a warrant) to start the process to recover the money. 

Warrant given to enforcement company

The warrant may then be given to an enforcement agent (previously referred to as a bailiff) or company to recover the debt. 

If so, a fee of £75 is added to the amount owed.

Compliance stage 

The first step in the three-stage enforcement process is the compliance stage where you are sent a ‘Notice of Enforcement’. 

This gives details of:

  • The outstanding debt 
  • How and when to pay by
  • What happens if you don’t pay
  • The extra fees you could then also expect to pay
  • Contact details for the enforcement agent or company
  • Contact details for free debt advice

You will have at least seven days (not including Sundays or Bank Holidays) before any further action is taken by the enforcement agent or company, unless a court has decided otherwise.  

At this point you should contact the enforcement agent or company immediately to arrange for payment to be made to them. 

Once a debt is with an enforcement agent, you are required to pay them, rather than the body you owe money to. 

If you are unable to pay you should still call the enforcement agent or company and explain why. 

Your ‘Notice of Enforcement’ also includes contact details for free debt advice services, so if you’re having difficulty then it might be a good idea to get in touch with them.

Enforcement stage

If the enforcement agent or company don’t hear from you by the date stated, they will move the matter to the enforcement stage. 

This means you’ll have at least one visit from an enforcement agent to arrange payment, and an additional £235 (plus 7.5% of the original debt over £1500) will be added to the amount owed. 

The enforcement agent will carry a copy of the warrant, their enforcement agent certificate and photographic ID.

They are not obliged to inform customers of the precise date and time they’ll visit. It could be anytime from 6am – 9pm on any day including Sundays, and religious or public holidays. 

Sometimes the enforcement agent will enter into a controlled goods agreement with the customer. This means a list is drawn up of what could be removed at a later date if you do not come to an alternative arrangement.  Making a controlled goods agreement gives you a final chance to pay your debt rather than having your goods removed. 

Sale stage

If full payment is not made you risk having your possessions removed for sale by the enforcement agent. This is the sale stage. 

A fee of £110 (plus 7.5% of the original debt over £1500) is added to the amount owed to cover costs for moving the possessions so they can be sold.  

Additional (actual) costs for other expenses, such as hiring a locksmith, storing goods or auction costs, may be applied. Further expenses are limited, and must be approved by the court.