Town collections agents in Litvínov start confiscating debtors’ property
Yesterday staff of the financial department of the Litvínov town hall, assisted by patrol officers, began confiscating property from debtors residing at the troubled Janov housing estate. Two teams of court-appointed collections agents from Plzeň are also involved.
Town hall staffers dressed in jackets and caps marked “Tax Administration” are collecting debts owed for unpaid fines and social benefit overpayments. The collections agents are acting on the basis of court decisions and are permitted to confiscate property valued at up to the amount of the debt owed for back rent.
The tax administrators started work at 9 AM at one of the flats in the Janov housing estate. "Only the daughter of the debtor was at home, but his wife and brother-in-law arrived later. Our staff found and confiscated money and a video player. The value of the cash and the equipment corresponded to the amount owed," town spokesperson Eva Maříková told ČTK.
Town collections agents did not find the debtor they were seeking in the next flat. He had already sold it to another man while remaining permanently registered there. "The debtor is registered there, the case remains open. The new owner of the flat was faced with the possibility that the collections agents might confiscate the property in the flat and he might then have to prove which property is his own,” Maříková said, adding that the town hall would be evaluating the case later in the day and would update its status.
According to Mayor Daniel Volák (ODS), the town has begun to collect on 400 debts owed by 200 people for unpaid fines and overpaid social benefits in the amount of CZK 3.5 million. "The collections will last until all the money owed is accounted for,” he said.
The total debts owed to the town hall in Litvínov (population 27 000) come to CZK 50 million. Half of the debts consist of unpaid fines or fees as well as social benefits that were disbursed without authorization, while the other half consists of back rent and utilities. "The confiscated items will be stored. Their original owners can buy them back and thereby redeem the debt. Should they not be interested, the town will auction off the items and deduct the proceeds from the debt,” Maříková said.
Municipal collections agents have been working since the end of August in the nearby town of Chomutov as well. Litvínov and Chomutov have declared “zero tolerance” for debtors, female prostitutes, drug addicts, people who disturb the peace, and those who commit crimes and misdemeanors.
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