One of the biggest ever changes to how bailiffs operate has now come into effect, with “cowboy” bailiffs outlawed and replaced with new and improved enforcement officers. For those who have experienced a surprise visit from that minority of bailiffs who insist on abusing their powers with intimidation tactics and forceful entry into debtor’s homes, this is reason to celebrate. So, what can you expect from these supposedly new and improved bailiffs?
Firstly, many of the most troubling things bailiffs have been reported as doing, such as coming to homes late at night, seizing vital household items and entering homes where only a child is present, have been formerly banned. This ruling has made people much more aware of the rules the enforcement officers must obey, and the reason many bailiffs were able to get away with unethical practices before was because of the mystery surrounding previous regulations. Now, debtors will know when a bailiff is acting out of turn and will be able to refuse them entry when appropriate.
But it’s not all good news as, along with potentially fairer and more restricted bailiffs, fees have been increased exponentially. This means that a non-refundable £75 will be charged as soon as arrears are passed on to bailiffs, and a further £235 will be added to debts when an enforcement agent comes to visit the home. For people already in debt – the reason for their trouble in the first place – these extra charges will only serve to drive them even further into arrears, adding time that it will take for them to complete repayments and adding untold amounts of stress and worry to their lives.
Despite the government tackling one problem – aggressive and unprofessional bailiffs who use unlawful tactics in order to collect debts, often from vulnerable people – rising fees and reducing aid has resulted in the country’s poorest households entering into a seemingly endless spiral of debt that has no light at the end of the tunnel. For those families who see no way out, however, Council Tax Advisors are here to help with guidance, advice and practical ways in which they can escape their debts and avoid bailiff action hitting them at all.
We understand the complicated nature of council tax, and this is why we’re the best people to come to for advice on debt and arrears. With fees rising and fewer families receiving the aid they so desperately need, it’s more important than ever that they have somewhere to turn.