To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what safeguards exist against the forced sale of council tax debtors' property as a result of charging orders; and if he will make a statement.
A local authority cannot apply for a charging order if the outstanding debt is less than £1,000. The making of a charging order is at the discretion of the court. The court will consider all the circumstances of the case, including the personal circumstances of the debtor and whether any other creditors of the debtor would be likely to be prejudiced by the making of an order.Enforcement of a charging order by sale is a separate step. In deciding whether an application to enforce a charging order should be granted the court may have to balance the interest of the creditor with that of members of the debtor's family. The court may also have regard to the size of the debt outstanding in relation to the value of the dwelling to be sold.Under both procedures the debtor has an opportunity to attend court and make representations.