How are rates paid?
LPS sends yearly bills out in March. First payments are due in April.
You can either:
- Pay your annual bill in full or
- Split the payment over the year
How are rates calculated?
Rates are calculated by:
- Taking the value of your house in 2005 and
- Multiplying this by the domestic rate for your area
The domestic rate has two parts:
- The regional rate, set by the Northern Ireland Executive, and
- The district rate, set by your local council
The value of your home is used to figure out your property's share of public services like:
- Waste management
Am I entitled to a rates reduction or relief?
You may be able to get a reduction in your rates bill if you are entitled to:
- A 70% lone pensioner discount. This is when:
- You are over 70 and
- Live alone
- A 25% disabled persons’ discount
- This is if your property has been adapted for someone with a disability
- An automatic district rates subsidy
- This is if your household has been affected by significant rises in rates
You could be entitled to housing benefit for rates if all of the following is true for you:
- You own your home but did not buy it:
- Through a co-ownership or
- Rent to buy scheme
- You are eligible to claim UK benefits
- You have assets worth less than:
- £16,000, or
- Less than £50,000 if you are over state pension age
Your full rates should be covered if you receive:
- Income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance
- Income Support
- The guarantee element of Pension Credit
You are automatically assessed for rates relief if you do not meet all the criteria for housing benefits for rates.
Use our online benefits calculator to see if you can get support.
What happens if I am in arrears or miss a payment?
You are sent a reminder if you miss a payment. It gives you seven days to:
- Pay the arrears or
- Get in touch with LPS to make an offer you can afford
If you do not respond or pay, LPS can:
- Issue a final notice asking for the total rates bill
- This means you cannot pay by instalments
- Take legal action against you
- Pass the debt to the Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO), or
- Apply to make you bankrupt
- This is if you owe more than £5,000
Respond to any notice as soon as you can.
You cannot go to prison for not paying your rates bill. But you sometimes can if you do not comply with the EJO.
A final notice gives you ten days to either:
- Pay or
- Contact LPS and make a payment offer
LPS may begin court proceedings if you ignore the final notice. This adds costs to your bill.
You will be sent a process in debt proceedings if LPS start court proceedings.
- This notice informs you that you are being taken to court
- It includes:
- The full amount of rates you owe
- Any extra costs added to your bill, like court costs
- The time, date and location of the court hearing
At this stage:
- The hearing is cancelled if you can pay your full rates bill
- LPS is unlikely to agree a payment plan if you cannot
The hearing usually takes place at your local magistrates’ court.
The court grants a decree confirming what you owe.
You do not have to attend court unless you want to dispute what you owe.
Seek specialist advice from Housing Rights before your hearing if you are disputing.
LPS will give the EJO the debt to enforce if you do not:
They can also apply to make you bankrupt if you owe more than £5,000.