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We may instruct an enforcement agent (previously known as a bailiff) to collect an outstanding business rate debt from you if a liability order has been issued in your name.

We use the following two enforcement agent companies:

Enforcement stages and fees

There are three stages of enforcement:

1. Compliance stage

As soon as we instruct an enforcement agent you will be charged a fixed fee of £75 per case. The enforcement agent will write to you to arrange payment of the debt, either in full within seven days, or in instalments.

You can avoid further fees by paying the debt in full either over the phone or online:

Any payments or offers of repayment should be made to the enforcement agent and not the council.

2. Enforcement stage

If you ignore the first letter from the enforcement agent or do not keep to any arrangement made, the case will move to the enforcement stage. An enforcement agent will visit you to collect the debt. Additional fees of £235 plus 7.5% for any debt over £1,500 will be charged at this stage.

If you cannot pay the debt, the enforcement agent may make a payment arrangement with you or enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement – this means that they will make a list of your possessions that is equal in value to your debt. You cannot sell or dispose of the possessions on the list without the agent’s permission.

3. Sale or disposal stage:

If you do not stick to the terms of the payment arrangement, the agent will remove your possessions and sell them at public auction. Additional fees of £110 plus 7.5% for any debt over £1,500 will be charged and all outstanding fees will be paid from the proceeds of the sale.

Further costs, such as locksmith, storage and auctioneers fees may also be charged.


These fees are set by the Ministry of Justice and cannot be changed by us or the enforcement agent.

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Stage  Flat fee      Additional fee 
Compliance  £75  n/a 
Enforcement £235  7.5% for any debt over £1,500
Sale or disposal  £110  7.5% for any debt over £1,500 

If the enforcement agent cannot sell enough possessions to cover the amount owned or cannot gain entry to your property, they will return your case to us so we can take further enforcement action.  We will either:

  • apply to the Magistrates Court for a Committal Order for you to be sent to prison for up to three months

  • petition for you to be made bankrupt or your business to be wound up.