I was asked recently to advise a client as to the best place to serve the notice of enforcement when dealing with Non Domestic Rates (NNDR) and Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR).
When liability orders are passed to the bailiff companies they often issue the notice of enforcement to the billing address. This is fine in most cases as it is usually a head office or home address. However, a problem could occur as this notice may not have been served in accordance with the regulations.
The Tribunal Courts & Enforcement Act 2007 does not mention correspondence addresses in the methods of giving notice.
Take for example a retail unit where the company asks all billing to go to an accountant’s or bookkeeper’s address. If the notice of enforcement is served on this address then any subsequent enforcement visit will likely be invalid. This would be because the notice of enforcement was not served in accordance with the regulations.
We have also had an instance where the debtor was a Ltd company but the billing address was the directors home address; again a situation not catered for in the regulations.
The regulations state:
Method of giving notice and who must give it
8.—(1) Notice of enforcement must be given—
(a) by post addressed to the debtor at the place, or one of the places, where the debtor usually lives or carries on a trade or business;
(b) by fax or other means of electronic communication;
(c) by delivery by hand through the letter box of the place, or one of the places, where the debtor usually lives or carries on a trade or business;
(d) where there is no letterbox, by affixing the notice at or in a place where it is likely to come to the attention of the debtor;
(e) where the debtor is an individual, to the debtor personally;
(f) where the debtor is not an individual (but is, for example, a company, corporation or partnership), by delivering the notice to— (i) the place, or one of the places, where the debtor carries on a trade or business; or (ii) the registered office of the company or partnership.
—(2) Notice must be given by the enforcement agent or the enforcement agent’s office.
Whilst the regulations are clear about which places are acceptable it is always best to cover all or as many eventualities as possible.
In my opinion best practice would be to send one to the correspondence address, then send a copy to the trading address or email one to the companies email address. That way the business has had every chance of being informed about the debt and is afforded the opportunity to pay without incurring enforcement fees.
Enforcement Bailiffs through our training division Inhouse Enforcement Solutions (IES) can provide consultancy and training for Enforcement Agents and back office staff.
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Enforcement Bailiffs Ltd has over twenty five years of experience in the execution of warrants especially in the commercial rent sector.
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