New sweeping changes to the way bailiffs can enforce debt repayments came into force on 6th April 2014 in England & Wales.
Why have the new bailiff laws been implemented?
- The current laws relating to bailiffs are unclear and confusing
- The confusion can result in bailiffs and enforcement officers misrepresenting their legal authority
- There is also anecdotal evidence of bailiffs using excessive force to recover goods
- Regulation of bailiffs is fragmented with some elements of the industry being tightly regulated while others are informally regulated through trade associations
- There are currently no training standards
What is being implemented in the new bailiff laws?
- Landlords will be banned from using bailiffs to seize property for residential rent debts without applying to a court first
- Mandatory training and certification for bailiffs will be implemented
- Ensure that vulnerable people are treated differently and given assistance
- Introduction of clearer rules detailing when a bailiff can enter a property and what goods they can take
- Restrictions will be applied on when bailiffs can sell goods
- The new bailiff laws will require bailiffs to inform the court on the likely means of entry, the amount of force required before a warrant will be granted for forced entry
- Require bailiffs to give seven days notice before taking possessions, unless they have specific permission from a court
- Introduce fixed fees to end the ability for bailiffs to add excessive charges to the amount debtors have to pay
- Stop bailiffs entering homes where only children are present
- Bailiffs will only be able to attend premises between the hours of 6am and 9pm