Reminders, summons and bailiffs

If you do not pay your Council Tax, you could face legal action. Find out how to avoid this, and how to pay any money you owe.

If you are having trouble paying Council Tax, find out how we can help.

Reminder to pay Council Tax

If you do not pay your Council Tax instalments in full and on time, we will send you a reminder.

The reminder tells you to pay what you owe within seven days. If you do not do this, you stop being able to pay by instalments and you may have to pay the whole of your outstanding balance immediately.

Find out how to pay the money you owe for Council Tax.

What happens if you do not pay

Tell us if you are trying to pay your bill

You should tell us if you're trying to pay your bill or need financial support. If you let us know, we can reconsider what action we are taking.

Contact the Council Tax team

Going to court

If you still do not pay, we will send you a court summons. This means you have to go to court, and also have to pay court costs.

If you pay in full at this point including any court costs, we will tell the court that you have paid. You will not have to go to court.

If there is outstanding debt on your Council Tax account on the hearing day, the case will go ahead.

At any point, you can ask us for help to pay your Council Tax. It's better that you contact us sooner, instead of waiting to go to court.

In most cases the district judge will issue a liability order. This tells you that you have to pay and gives us permission to take action to get the money you owe us. We will also ask for another amount for court costs, which will be added to your account.

How we collect the money you owe

We legally have to collect all the money you owe us for Council Tax.

We have a team that focuses on collecting money. They can use these methods:

  • attachment of benefit – we take money from your Jobseekers Allowance, Universal Credit or Income Support
  • attachment of earnings – your employer is told to take the money from your salary or wages and pay it directly to us

Enforcement agents

Also known as bailiffs, enforcement agents will write to you and call you to get the money you owe us.

Enforcement agents have the power to take ownership of your possessions. They can sell these at auction to make up the money you owe. They will also add their charges to your account.

If you still do not pay

If we still cannot get you to pay, we can apply for you to:

  • be declared bankrupt
  • be sent to prison
  • have a charging order set against your property