Tighter regulation introduced for bailiffs

While the credit industry’s focus has been on the Financial Conduct Authority formally taking over as regulator, major reforms to the way bailiffs carry out their business are also coming into force.

The new rules are designed to outlaw heavy-handed behaviour while still allowing bailiffs to collect debts fairly.

They put in place new mandatory training and certification requirements for bailiffs, and simplify the fees that they are allowed to charge for their services.

The main points are set out on the Gov.uk website.

From 6 April bailiffs must give people at least seven days’ notice of their first visit, and are not allowed to:

  • enter a home if only children or vulnerable people are present
  • enter a home between 9pm and 6am
  • take essential household goods like the oven, fridge or beds
  • enter a home through anything except the door

For people owing less than £1500, charges have now been fixed at:

  • £75 when a case is sent to the bailiff
  • £235 if a letter from bailiffs is ignored that and they have to make a visit
  • £110 if they have to take goods and sell them at auction

At every stage, bailiffs must consider offers of payment.

Bailiffs are allowed to force their way into your home to collect unpaid criminal fines, Income Tax or Stamp Duty, but only as a last resort.

For more information, click here