Frequently asked questions
These answers are provided as a guidance only and should not be relied upon in law. You are advised to seek legal representation for further clarity.
Why have I received a letter or visit from ARP Enforcement Agency?
We have been instructed by the Local Council Recovery Team to collect a debt which is outstanding to them. We have been issued with a warrant of control instructing us to collect payment or take control of (legally seize) your goods in respect of this debt.
What happens now?
You must contact the Enforcement Agency to prevent the enforcement process escalating.
Arrangements made and kept at compliance stage means that an enforcement agent will not visit your property, and fees are kept to a minimum.
You are pursuing someone who does not live at this address
We are sorry to have troubled you.
We will ask you to supply information as to your identity and occupancy so we can remove your address from our records e.g. a copy Council Tax bill or Tenancy agreement.
If you know the person that the letter is addressed to and/or have a forwarding address and/or telephone number, providing those details will assist us remove your property from our records and cease further contact.
You are not of course obliged to do anything other than ignore notices addressed to someone else but if we don't have evidence then we must make our own enquiries which could include attending your address.
I do not agree that I owe this
Your Local Council says that you do owe this sum and we have to act on their instructions and pursue payment unless and until they tell us otherwise. Your Local Council may be able to assist if you have clear evidence that you are being pursued for payment wrongly.
I've paid the local authority already - why should I pay again?
You will never be asked to pay the same debt twice. We will need confirmation from the Local Council that you have indeed paid. Please be advised you will be liable for any costs incurred by us if payment was not made until after the date on which we were instructed. Failure to pay these costs will result in further enforcement action and additional costs.
I can't afford to pay because I am on a low income?
The Enforcement Agent will seek to assess your situation and may take control of your goods. If there is genuine hardship this will be taken into consideration when discussing any arrangement possibilities.
We would suggest that you contact the Benefits service at your Local Council.
An Enforcement Agent visited while I was out and left a notice of attendance. What should I do?
Please contact the Enforcement Agent in charge immediately on the telephone number provided on the paperwork left at your property.
The Enforcement Agent may arrange for a convenient time to call back to discuss the debt with you. This may include discussing different options on how to pay.
If you do not make contact, the Enforcement Agent will make further visits to make contact.
We can assist and help you – but only if you contact us.
What if I refuse to let the Enforcement Agent in?
If you refuse to open your door or make contact with us we will make various visits both in and outside office hours and weekends. Your account will incur additional fees of at least £235.
We don’t need to gain access to the premises to take control of goods. There may be items outside your property which can be taken, including vehicles, caravans, garden furniture, etc.
The case will progress to sale stage if we remove items for sale. If this happens you will incur further costs of at least £110 plus other fees such as Auctioneer fees. The Money from the sale of goods goes towards clearing the fees outstanding and then the debt.
Ultimately the debt will not go away and the local authority has the further enforcement options available such as application for Committal to Prison, Bankruptcy, and Charging Order against your property.
Please talk to us – we can assist you and will always fully investigate options of payment by installments.
We may also be able to help you and refer you to the right advice agencies – please don’t bury your head in the sand.
Why does the Enforcement Agent ask me to sign a Controlled Goods agreement?
In order to leave goods in your possession the Enforcement Agent will ask you to sign a Controlled Goods Agreement. This is an undertaking by you that although still in your possession the goods are now subject to control and could be removed at a later date should you fail to pay. Should you refuse to sign this form the enforcement agent will have no alternative but to remove goods immediately.
If you remove my goods what happens next?
Goods which have been removed will be placed in storage which may incur a fee. You will have a further period to pay but if you fail to pay the debt and costs, the goods will be sold at auction. We will send you written notice of the sale. If there is a surplus it will be returned to you. If the sale fails to realise the full amount due you will be required to pay the balance.
I am self-employed – are my work tools and equipment exempt from removal?
From 6 April 2014 tools of the trade are only exempt to a maximum value of £1,350
Your system won't let me pay online or on the automated phone line?
There may be a problem with the card but if we have taken control and clamped your vehicle, or removed goods pending sale only a customer present transaction will be acceptable. Alternatively you will always be able to pay on line 24/7 on this web site.
I have forgotten to make payment(s) - what will happen?
You should contact us immediately, to explain why you have missed the payment and arrange to bring them up to date.
If you do not contact us you may lose the agreement to pay by installments.
Your account may be returned to an Enforcement Agent and further costs may be added to your account.
If you have entered into a Controlled Goods Agreement with an Enforcement Agent, goods which have been taken into control are at risk of being removed should you fail to pay your debt.
I have made an arrangement but cannot afford to keep paying regularly
You should contact us immediately.
Please let us know when your circumstances have changed. Our team can discuss your repayment options, but may also signpost you to where you can get Debt or Welfare Advice, and if there may be a benefit you are entitled to claim.
You should never reduce your payments without agreeing with us as your case will be issued to an Enforcement Agent and further costs may be incurred.
Will your actions affect my credit rating?
At this stage your debt is a confidential matter between the local authority, us and you. Once the debt is discharged the matter is closed.
Where can I locate the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) code of practice?
All members of the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA), representing almost the entire market employing enforcement agents (formerly known as bailiffs), have signed up to our Code of Practice. The CIVEA Code of Practice is a commitment by our members to continue driving up standards and setting a high bar for anyone who wants to join the profession. More information regarding this is available via our online CIVEA code of practice document .