Bailiffs in the UK collet an estimated four million debts a year. New laws which come into force on Sunday 6th April will change the way they can enforce debt repayments.
The new legislation includes a ban on bailiffs entering any homes at night and from using physical force. Bailiffs won’t be allowed to enter homes when only children in or take household essentials, such as washing machines.
There is evidence of some bailiffs using aggressive tactics and excessive force when collecting debts. There are currently no training standards and there are differing cost structures and charging processes between bailiffs. The new laws are designed to offer stricter regulation within the industry and will introduce mandatory training and certification.
The new laws will ban landlords from using bailiffs to seize property for residential debts without first going to court. Bailiffs have to tell the court their likely means of entry into a property, the amount of force required and goods involved before the granting of a warrant. They will have to give seven days’ notice before taking any possessions. Also, fixed fees will be introduced to stop bailiffs adding excessive chargers onto the amount owed by debtors.
Karen Dyson from the Citizens Advice Bureau said they “deal with over a thousand inquiries about bailiff problems every week.”
Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling commented on the changes saying; “Aggressive bailiff activity is unacceptable… people will still have to face up to their debts, but they will no longer need to fear their home being raided at night, the threat of violence or having their vital household equipment seized.”