Q. How do I stand legally with regard to withholding my council rates for a month if my rubbish bin is not collected?
A. Your responsibility for council tax is not contingent on regular delivery of services. It is payable to the local authority irrespective of their failure to provide a service to your satisfaction. Payment of council tax should be a priority given the sanctions available to the council for non-payment.
If council tax due is not paid the council will send a reminder, then a second reminder, then a final notice; then they will issue a summons to obtain a liability order which provides the council with a number of powers including obtaining further financial information about the debtor, making an attachment of earnings order, using bailiffs to seize goods and the council can also apply to bankrupt the debtor. If your bin is not being emptied on a regular basis then the council should and probably will arrange for an additional collection to take place at their earliest convenience.
Andrew Hornsby, Associate
*This article was previously printed in The Stamford Mercury