Has your cup of tea been ruined by the postman dropping off a Rochdale Borough Council debt letter? Before you think about paying your Rochdale Borough Council debt, read our guide to understand the processes and your debt solutions.
You might not have to pay Rochdale Borough Council a penny!
What Is a Rochdale Borough Council Debt Letter?
If you have received a debt letter from Rochdale Borough Council, this letter is a notification that you owe money to the council. The letter is sent to make you pay, and if you don’t, they will take further action.
These letters can feel intimidating and cause anxiety, but with our help you can deal with Rochdale Borough Council debt letters in the right way.
Why You Could Have Rochdale Borough Council Debt
A Rochdale Borough Council debt letter may be sent for a number of reasons, but the most common reasons to receive one of these letters are:
- Council tax in arrears
- Unpaid council car parking fines
- Council rent in arrears
Just like this Money Savings Expert forum user discovered:
“I challenged Rochdale Council over parking a foot onto a yellow and after 117 days they have come back saying they have rejected my challenge and expect me to pay.”
There could be other reasons why you are in debt with Rochdale Borough Council, but these are the most common.
But I Don’t Live in Rochdale…
You might have received a Rochdale Borough Council debt letter without even living in Rochdale. Most of the time, this is because you previously lived in Rochdale and your debt is still outstanding from that period.
Sometimes the debt can be years old, but Rochdale Borough Council are only just chasing it now because they have been unable to locate you.
Yet, it is not impossible that your Rochdale Borough Council debt letter has been sent by mistake…
Is My Rochdale Borough Council Debt a Mistake?
There are times when businesses and councils will chase debt and make a mistake. This often happens when the debt is older, and they have difficulty tracking down the person that owes the debt. Mistakes usually happen when they send debt letters to:
- People with the same name or a similar name
- People who have lived at the same previous addresses
When somebody leaves the Rochdale area, they usually give a forwarding address when ending their council tax payments. It could be that someone who previously lived at your address (inside or outside the Rochdale Borough Council area) had an unpaid debt.
Even in this situation, you should not ignore Rochdale Borough Council debt letters!
Contact the Rochdale Borough Council Debt Department
Some questions regarding Rochdale Council debt can be answered via the council’s Corporate Debt Management Policy.
However, you may prefer to contact a council worker directly. For these types of queries, you can email them using firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rochdale Council on 0330 303 8870.
Can Rochdale Borough Council Come to My Home?
Rochdale Borough Council could come to your home to discuss the debt, but they cannot claim they have the right to enter your property.
If they did show up, you are within your rights to refuse to answer the door or refuse to communicate with them.
Can Rochdale Borough Council Repossess My Items?
No – Rochdale Borough Council are not law enforcement agents. Only one of these agents can execute a court order to collect debt at your home. Even if there was a court order for your debt, a worker for Rochdale Borough Council still does not have these powers.
Do Rochdale Borough Council Use Debt Collectors?
It is possible that Rochdale Borough Council will not chase you for the debt themselves. They may employ a debt collection agency to request payment and communicate with you.
There are hundreds of debt collection groups working across the UK, so if they did choose to use one of these companies there is no way of knowing for certain which agency they would use.
However, these collection agencies still do not have the powers of a law enforcement officer. They cannot come to your home or repossess items. They have the same powers as Rochdale Borough Council have. They only take over the task of chasing the debt out of convenience for the council.
What Does My Rochdale Borough Council Debt Letter Mean?
Whether you have received a debt letter directly from Rochdale Borough Council or from a debt collection group that they have employed, it means exactly the same thing.
The letter is a typical letter from the debt collection industry, known as a Letter Before Action. It is simply a notification that you owe the debt and it must be repaid (usually a repayment end date is stated). If the debt is not paid the letter states that further action will be taken.
Debt letters like these can be scary, but there is an effective way to deal with them.
What Happens If I Ignore the Debt Letter?
Ignoring the debt letter is not one of those ways…
Ignoring the debt letter even if you are 100% confident there is a mistake will only make the situation worse. Taking action and replying is the best move to make, even if you cannot afford the debt right now.
To understand why it is crucial to respond, you need to know the usual process of debt collection when letters are ignored.
The Process of Debt Collection Explained
Debt collection usually follows the same process when letters are ignored:
- Business or debt collection agency send the LBA
- They then go to the county court to get a CCJ for the debt
- The CCJ is then enforced by law enforcement agents by requesting payment or repossessing items to be sold to at auction to pay off the debt.
But You Can Avoid All of This!
However, stage two and three of the process can be easily avoided by responding to your Rochdale Borough Council debt letter.
Even if you do not have enough money to pay now, responding will make the situation better. But how should you respond? Well that depends on the circumstances and the letter itself.
So, Should I Pay Now?
No, not yet – and maybe you won’t have to.
These debt letters are designed to make you worried and inclined to pay. The threat of court action is usually enough to make people open their wallets and get rid of the debt.
But there is a process you can exhaust first, which may make the debt unenforceable.
First, Request Rochdale Council to Prove of the Debt
The first thing you can do is ask Rochdale Borough Council to provide proof of the debt. Sometimes Rochdale Borough Council or the debt collection agency they use will not provide this and hope you simply acknowledge the debt and pay.
If you are aware of the debt and are willing to pay, you don’t need to request proof. But you could request proof just to buy you more time and assess your debt solution options.
If you are not aware of the debt or think there has been a mistake, requesting proof of the debt is a must!
And that’s because without proof you don’t have to pay.
How to Request Proof from Rochdale Borough Council
To request proof from Rochdale Borough Council or their chosen debt agency, you can write them a letter. In the letter make sure to include:
- A statement that you received their letter
- Include your reference number if you have one
- Ask for proof that you owe the money
- State that without proof they cannot contact you again
- Also state that future communication without proof is harassment
- Harassment will be reported
Is There an Easier Way to Request Proof from Rochdale Council?
If you don’t want to write a prove the debt letter yourself, you can use one of the many great templates found online. These templates already address the main points. All you have to do is add some of your personal details.
These templates are easy to find by browsing debt charities and debt forums where the forum users often leave website links to templates that they have had success with.
Rochdale Council already Provided Proof
Do not send a prove the debt letter if Rochdale Borough Council have already provided proof that you owe the debt. This would be illogical, and the council could take this as you being unwilling to pay. Thus, moving to stages two and three from the debt collection process outlined earlier.
In this situation, the best course of action is to pay the money you owe. If the amount owed is not substantial and you can afford to pay it without financial hardship, it is recommended to pay it all. Paying it off in one payment will prevent any interest from accumulating and save you money.
There is also the mental health benefit of clearing your debts.
But understandably, not everyone can pay off all their Rochdale Borough Council debt in one go. Thankfully, there is way to not pay off all your debt at once and still avoid being taken to court.
Agree to a Rochdale Council Payment Plan
One way to do this is to agree a payment plan to pay off your Rochdale Borough Council debt. Most of the time, debt collection agencies and Rochdale Borough Council will expect you to suggest a payment plan, especially if the amount of money owed is significant.
When you do enter into a payment plan, you should only agree to pay what you can afford. Work this out by calculating your expenses and income. By agreeing to pay more, other debts can build up, such as unpaid rent, unpaid utilities or even mortgage arrears. For these reasons and more, it is essential that you do not commit to paying too much.
For help working this out, you could choose to contact some of the great UK debt charities. More information towards the end of this Rochdale Borough Council debt guide.
Consider Your Other Debt Solution Options
You don’t have to pay your Rochdale Borough Council debt with a payment plan. There are other debt solution alternatives, including:
- Debt Relief Orders
- Using the snowballing method
The method which is most suitable for you will depend on individual circumstances. A breakdown of all these options and more can be found via the debt guide at Money Nerd.
Get Help from UK Debt Groups
The average person is not going to know about all of these debt solutions, and you’re not expected to. Online resources can be great at breaking down what they mean and who should consider which debt solution.
For example, an IVA is an excellent choice for people with multiple debts.
But further support and guidance can be found using the UK’s stellar debt charities, namely:
- National Debtline
- Step Change UK
- Christians Against Poverty
You can also seek debt help from Citizens Advice!
When You Don’t Have to Pay Rochdale Borough Council Debt
There could be a scenario where your Rochdale Borough Council debt will not have to be repaid. This occurs when the debt has become too old for the courts to enforce it, also known as statute barred debt.
What Is Statute Barred Debt?
Statute barred is the name given to a debt which is at least six years old and has not been paid or acknowledged by the debtor within the last six years. For the debt to be statute barred, there must have never been a CCJ issued on the debt.
These types of old debt cases cannot be taken to the courts, meaning that Rochdale Borough Council would not be able to obtain a legal order and no enforcement officers can come calling. This loophole exists to give the courts more time and put them under less pressure.
They want to keep their resources for recent cases, not very old debt claims.
So, Is My Rochdale Borough Council Debt Cleared?
No, just because a statute barred debt cannot be legally enforced, this is not the same as having a debt wiped or cleared. The debt exists, but there is no legal course of action that Rochdale Borough Council can take to recoup the money owed.
You should write to Rochdale Borough Council to tell them that your debt is statute barred. Template letters can be found online.
The Golden Rule when Dealing with Rochdale Council Debt
The key takeaway when dealing with Rochdale Borough Council debt is to take action as soon as you get the letter.
This applies even if you know they have made a mistake!