Council Tax: recovery of non-payment
Where more than £1,000 is outstanding under liability order(s) and the Council Tax payer has a legal interest in the property, the council may apply to the County Court for a charging order on the property.
The effect of a charging order is that if the property or other legal interest is sold the amount of the charging order is paid out of the proceeds.
Frequently asked questions
Q. What is a Charging Order?
A. A charging order is an order from the court placed on a debtor's property (house or land) for monies owed to us for Council Tax.
The court can place a charging order on your property so that when the property is sold you will have to pay that debt off first before any of the proceeds are given to you.
The order must be secured against the same property to which the liability order has already been obtained for the outstanding debt.
Q. When can the council apply for a charging order?
A. Before a court will consider an application for a charging order, the council must have obtained a Liability Order from the Magistrates Court.
Q. What process is taken to apply for a charging order?
A. An initial application is made to the County Court ‘without notice’ to the taxpayer. It must be issued in the County Court for the district in which the property is situated.
The council through its solicitors will then apply to the County Court for a charging order, once the court has considered the application and is satisfied with the application, they will make an interim charging order. The court will then fix a hearing date when consideration will be given to the making of a final charging order.
Q. Will I be forced to sell my house or land?
A. You are not under any obligation to sell your property once the final charging order is in place, however, there are some circumstances where we may apply to a court for force of sale. This is, however, rare and the Court would have to agree to the application before such an order would be served.
Q. The house is in joint names but the debt is in my name
A. If a charging order is made by the court then it will only apply to your share of the property.
Q. Am I charged interest?
A. If the council has taken the debt to the County Court, we may be able to add interest once a charging order is made.
Q. What if I pay the debt to to the council after a charging order is granted?
A. If you pay off the amount you owe under the charging order, the order will then be discharged. The amount you have to pay will include court fees and costs that have been added to the debt.
This is a general guide to Council Tax and is not a substitute for the relevant statutes and regulations.