What happens if you don't pay your rates
Land & Property Services (LPS) is responsible for collecting rates. It is a ratepayer's legal obligation to pay their rates bill. LPS can take legal action to get unpaid rates.
If you don't pay your rates
If you don't pay your rates or contact LPS to make an arrangement to pay your rates bill, LPS will take legal action against you. A court process means:
- additional costs for you to pay
- your credit rating could be affected and you may not be able to apply for credit or a loan
- you could be made bankrupt
- your home could be repossessed
- LPS can refer your debt to a debt collection agency
To contact LPS:
- telephone: 0300 200 7801
- text relay: 18001 0300 200 7801
You can also visit an LPS rating office.
If you miss a monthly payment
If you pay by monthly instalments and miss a payment, LPS will send you a reminder for the amount due. If you pay this within seven days, the instalment arrangement remains in place.
If you can't pay the arrears within seven days, you should contact your local LPS rating office. It may be possible to make a different payment arrangement.
Final notice for payment
If you don't pay the arrears or contact LPS, you will receive a final notice payment.
If you don't have a payment arrangement for instalments, LPS will send you a final notice 40 days after the original rates bill was issued.
When you receive a final notice
When you receive a final notice:
- you lose the automatic right to pay by instalments
- you have ten days to pay the full rate amount
You should contact LPS who may be able to agree a payment plan.
Legal action to recover unpaid rates
The law says you must pay your rates. If you don't pay the full amount or make a payment agreement with LPS, they will take legal action against you for unpaid rates. The legal action is a court process, involving different stages.
Process in debt proceedings
LPS will issue a Process in Debt Proceedings against you. They will charge you extra costs without sending any other reminders.
Paying rates before the court hearing
When you receive a notice for court, and pay the debt and any extra costs before the court date, LPS will not take any further legal action against you.
Court hearing about unpaid rates
If you don't pay the debt and costs, the case will go to the magistrate's court on the day stated.
If you want to dispute the debt or have a legal matter to bring to the magistrate’s attention, you are required to go to court. If not, you don’t need to go to the court hearing. The court will usually award a decree. You will receive notification shortly after the hearing.
If you have difficulty paying your rates bill, you should contact LPS immediately:
- 0300 200 7801
LPS will review your circumstances and might be able to make a payment arrangement with you. Don't wait until you receive notice about court, as this incurs extra costs for you.
Notice of Intention to recover unpaid rates
If you don't clear the overdue amount or make an arrangement to pay this, LPS will ask the Enforcement of Judgments Office to issue a Notice of Intention.
If you don't pay the amount and costs within ten days, LPS will lodge the debt for enforcement with the Enforcement of Judgments Office.
Enforcement of Judgments Office
When LPS lodge the debt with the Enforcement of Judgments Office, this could result in:
- your name appearing in Stubb's Gazette, which will affect your credit rating
- additional costs of £150 to £250 depending on the amount owed
- Attachment of Earning Order, where regular payments will be deducted from your salary/wages
- an Order Charging Land, the debt will be recovered if the property is sold
- a Garnishee Order served on a bank or building society to make it pay out money from your account to clear the debt
- a Seizure Order which enables the Enforcement of Judgments Office to seize personal property or valuables to cover all or part of the debt
- a Statutory Demand for debt over £750, which could lead to bankruptcy proceedings against you