Recent bailiff reforms: A benefit to you or a benefit to debtors?

Recent changes in the bailiff Enforcement process are likely to affect the recovery process of your money. A number of changes to the bailiff process have been introduced this month which are bound to have a profound affect on recovering your money from debtors. Bailiffs are now banned from entering people’s homes at night andRead More

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Recent changes in the bailiff Enforcement process are likely to affect the recovery process of your money. A number of changes to the bailiff process have been introduced this month which are bound to have a profound affect on recovering your money from debtors.

Bailiffs are now banned from entering people’s homes at night and from using physical force against debtors. This potentially impacts on the recovery process if the times visits can be made are fixed to a certain period of the working day. The likelihood of finding a person at home during the day compared to the evening is much smaller, and the chances of bailiffs making contact with debtors therefore becomes less. The most effective way of recovering a debt would be to allow bailiffs to visit the property during different hours of the day to ensure that they have made the best attempt in trying to make contact with the debtor.

Additionally the changes will also prevent enforcement agents from entering properties when children are at home, and taking vital household essentials such as cookers or washing machines is now prohibited.

Landlords will no longer be able to use bailiffs to seize property for residential rent debts without going to the court first, whilst debt collectors will have to give the courts information on the likely means of entry and the amount of force required before a warrant is granted.

Perhaps the most important of the all the changes is the fact that bailiffs will now have to give a ‘seven day’ notice period before taking possessions unless they have the specific permission of the court to do otherwise.

The new measures have been introduced with the aim of ‘protecting the public from rogue enforcement agents’ by monitoring bailiffs and restricting their powers of enforcement. All in all these changes seem to work to the debtors benefit. It gives the debtors increased protection against bailiffs seeking to levy against them and thus limiting to a degree your chances of recovery.

These reforms came into effect on 6 April 2014 and form part of the wider changes endorsed to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

 

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