Bailiffs have such a bad reputation that it’s often hard to discern the truth from all of the gossip, rumour and negative stories. One thing’s for sure, though – some bailiffs have a tendency to overstep their jurisdiction and, because the vast majority of homes they visit have no idea what their rights are in the moment, they are often able to get away with doing whatever they want in order to collect what they came for. But that could be about to change, with new rules for bailiffs coming into effect in April 2014.
Following a consultation on aggressive bailiffs taking place last year, new rules have been brought in to help keep a small section of bailiffs from abusing their perceived powers. New measures are set to stop bailiffs from entering homes where there are only children present and from visiting debtors’ homes late at night – they will only be permitted to visit between the hours of 6am and 9pm.
Other rules prevent landlords from using bailiffs to collect property for rent arrears without first going to court, stop bailiffs from taking essential domestic items such as fridges, cookers and washing machines, prevent bailiffs from selling collected goods until seven days has passed and stop them from forcing entry to a property without first proving that such reasonable force is necessary.
Justice Minister Helen Grant said on the matter: “There are some very good, reputable bailiffs around, but we know there is bad practice out there that needs to be dealt with. For too long bailiffs have gone unregulated, allowing a small minority to give the industry a bad name. These laws will help to clean up the industry and ensure bailiffs play by the rules. They will also make sure businesses and public bodies can collect their debts fairly.”
These new measures could change a lot about the way bailiffs operate, but it is still imperative that those struggling with council tax arrears or anticipating an unwelcome visit seek professional, independent advice about repayment options, their rights when bailiffs come knocking and how they can avoid unpleasant confrontations. Council Tax Advisors are here to offer trustworthy help and guidance, so contact us today to find out more about how you can rid yourself of bailiff issues for good.