Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Hertsmere Borough Council denies sending bailiffs out to residents unless no alternative
Hertsmere Borough Council has denied it has sent bailiffs out to residents more than 2,000 times in the past year.
The Money Advice Trust released figures last week which stated Hertsmere Borough Council has referred bailiffs to 2,348 residential properties in the borough, which contains 41,623 houses.
However Hertsmere Council clams the figures were taken out of context and did not reveal the true situation.
Corporate communications manager Catherine Feast said the figure of 2,348 did not refer to the number of properties that had action taken against them.
Instead it indicated the number of court orders or cases that were passed to the council's two external bailiffs. She added the council estimated the orders were only issued to 1,200 to 1,500 council tax payers in 2012.
Many of these were visited more than once, or the orders referred to debts outstanding from previous years.
The Money Advice Trust accused councils across the country of being irresponsible in managing debt collection and asked them to only use bailiffs as a last resort.
However Hertsmere Council said it only used bailiffs in the one or two per cent of cases, in which debtors had refused to heed summonses or had disregarded arrangements for paying the bills.
Ms Feast added: "We sympathise with anyone who struggles to pay their bills and will work towards helping them if they are in financial difficulty.
"We would much rather come to a mutual arrangement than use bailiffs, however that is sometimes the only option left to us, having explored other avenues and been left with no alternative.
"Council tax pays for a range of services for our communities and without it, our services would have to be reduced."
Comments are closed on this article.