MPs take a closer look at Bailiffs behaviour

Being threatened with a visit from bailiffs or other enforcement officers can be an unnerving experience – as it’s designed to encourage payment of outstanding debts.


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The Parliamentary Justice Committee has been hearing evidence about enforcement officers’ practice and has registered surprise that there is no regulatory oversight authority for bailiffs following a rise in reports that some are using intimidating behaviour and unlawfully breaking into homes and business premises.

 

Committee Chairman Bob Neill MP said: “The system is confusing, particularly for the most vulnerable people in society. Complaints are important and must be investigated properly.”

 

The Committee called the existing individual certification system a “rubber-stamping exercise” and recommended that a new regulator be created with powers to bar errant bailiffs from operating; a new independent complaints body be set up and that body cameras become mandatory for all enforcement agents.

 

The Ministry of Justice are considering the proposal and calling for more evidence before making any further decisions.

 

Citizens Advice say they saw a 16% increase in bailiff related complaints in 2018 including bailiffs refusing to set up offers of affordable payments, charging excessive fees and misrepresenting their rights of entry.

 

The Civil Enforcement Association which represents enforcement agencies defended their members. They said: “It’s a concern that Citizens Advice fail to make a distinction between laws being broken and laws that people simply don’t like.

 

“They assume that a threat to force entry to a property or to remove goods required for work purposes is breaking the regulations. This is incorrect and depends on circumstances”.

 

Bailiffs can be used to recover a variety of goods to pay off outstanding debt including stock, office equipment, machinery, cash, cheques or other owned assets.

 

Some enforcement officers may also want you to enter into a Controlled Goods Agreement (CGA).

 

If you have received notice of enforcement action or are having financial difficulties that could lead to a visit then you have some options available to you right now, including understanding your legal rights.

The quickest and easiest one is to contact us for free to set up a call with one of our expert teams. They are experienced in handling debts and arrears and negotiating with enforcement officers on your behalf.

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