The bailiffs are back – is your business ready?
The Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) announced that there would be a phased return of activity for its members once lockdown restrictions had been eased sufficiently.
They said they have consulted with the government on the plan which would mean that local authorities and courts could once again enforce overdue council tax, business rates, parking fines, traffic penalties and other magistrates’ court fines.
As part of the effort, anybody who has missed a payment or otherwise been out of contact will receive a standard reconnection letter which will also give them the opportunity to respond with how they’ve been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Once enforcement action can officially resume then individuals will be formally given 30 days notice before being visited by an enforcement officer. The only exception to this is if a local authority has specific requirements.
The visits will be contactless and officers will not enter premises to seize goods. CIVEA also stress that where appropriate, vulnerable people or those severely financially impacted by the pandemic either through loss of job or receiving Statutory Sick Pay will be referred to debt advice agencies for additional support.
Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of CIVEA said: “CIVEA members fully accept that to simply restart enforcement visits once the government eases restrictions without understanding how people have been impacted by the crisis would not be acceptable.
“The measures included in the post-lockdown support plan are a sensible and proactive response to an exceptional situation. Enforcement of public debt continues to be an important service to recover outstanding taxes and fines, which contributes to funding essential local services.
“Our plan allows us to carry out our civic duties in line with public health advice.”
Bailiffs, County Court or High Court Enforcement Officers to give them their official title will soon be resuming their lawful duties and if you receive a letter informing you of an appointment you’d rather avoid then you should get in touch with us and quickly.