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Government sets out plans to crack down on rogue bailiffs - again

Tuesday, 3rd April 2018

Ministers have announced that they will be launching a call for evidence following concerns raised by the advice sector that some bailiffs are aggressively pursuing debts. Review of government reforms highlights the positive impact of changes but also reveals lingering concerns over aggressive, intimidating and inappropriate behaviour when collecting money from debtors - particularly from vulnerable people.

The call for evidence, which will be launched shortly, will look to those directly involved to share their experiences to help stop this in its tracks. Debts which enforcement agents (formerly known as bailiffs) enforce include council tax arrears and unpaid debts owed to individuals and businesses.

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said: "The majority of bailiffs act professionally and within the rules, but we have been told by those working on the front line that this may not always be the case.

"Aggressive tactics will not be tolerated, and through our call for evidence we will identify where the problems are and, if necessary, take action to ensure all bailiffs operate professionally and with proper respect and sensitivity."

The last bailiff reform

In 2014 the Government introduced reforms to strengthen protection from rogue enforcement agents, while at the same time making sure that debts could still be collected fairly.

The reforms centred on the implementation of Part 3 and Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The reforms provided legal protection by introducing a comprehensive code governing, amongst other things:

  • when and how enforcement agents can enter somebody's premises
  • the safeguards to prevent the use of force against debtors
  • what goods they can and cannot seize and, if necessary, sell
  • and what fees they can charge.

The reforms also stopped enforcement agents entering homes when only children are present, and introduced mandatory training and a new certification process for enforcement agents.

The first review of those reforms was published (2 April), demonstrating positive progress since 2014. This includes better awareness around debtor rights and how to complain, more clarity for debtors about the fees that can be charged, the processes that should be followed, and where to go for advice. It also found the overall effectiveness of proper enforcement has improved, with a greater proportion of debts now being successfully enforced. Full details of the press release can be found here (external link) 

Bailiffs / Enforcement Agents - know your rights

New bailiff laws as from 6 April 2014 - Bailiffs have been around for centuries but sadly English law has not been sufficiently brought up to date to deal with their activities. All that changed on 6th April 2014 when 'The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013' came into force. Out go ‘Bailiffs ‘ and in come ‘Enforcement Agents’  -  other changes include ........

To read more visit (DebtWizard link) Bailiffs / Enforcement Agents - know your rights

How to listen - LBC John Stapleton (for Nick Ferrari) Monday 2 April 2018

Mike Thomas was talking to John Stapleton on the LBC morning show about the need for improvement and and revealed the tricks a bailiff/enforcement officer will do to get into the home and, how once in the property under 'peaceful entry', how this gives the bailiff the power to renter the home using force.

You can listen free on the LBC Catch-up App (this app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices.) Look for 'John Stapleton Monday, 2 April 2018' and for Mike's slot click the bottom of the screen on your Phone/IPad and set the timer 28.25 - 31.40. Free catch-up for this show up ends 9 April 2018.

 




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