Ministry of Justice propose changes to the Bailiff industry
The Ministry of Justice have proposed changes in the law governing bailiffs in England and Wales by the way of the creation of a code of conduct.
The proposals come as a result of rogue practices and a general bad reputation within the industry. Many firms have welcomed the move of a regulatory body being formed with a clear complains process to help build the reputation of the industry in general.
The exact detail is expected shortly however, it is broadly expected to include a new regulatory body which will oversee the industry in addition to a point of contact for debtors with complaints regarding bailiffs. It will also be a source of information for people who want to know what bailiffs can and cannot charge.
The new proposals will also include a strict ban on the use of force, and will clearly outline what items cannot be taken from homes by bailiffs. With people falling upon hard time's councils, companies and courts use the services of bailiffs more than ever in order to collect money owed to them.
As a result of high demand for the services of bailiffs there has been a massive increase in complaints surrounding the practices of a minority within the industry. The industry has drawn the attention of the government as a result, who fear there is insufficient protection for people from rogue practices and aggressive bailiffs.
Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly told the BBC, the government had heard of rogue bailiffs carrying out "very bad behaviour".
He continued: " I mean knocking on people's doors in the middle of the night, going to people's homes when there are only children in, but a lot of it is to do with the fact that a lot of people don't know what to expect. If we have a code backed up by statute, where people know where they stand, then we think that a lot of these problems will go away."
The law differs in Scotland and Northern Ireland where they do not have bailiffs however individuals and companies are appointed by the court to recover debts. In England and Wales a court certificate is required to allow bailiffs to operate.
Debt Advice and Bailiffs
There are many misconceptions about what bailiffs can and cannot do. For instance, a bailiff can't force their way into your house. However if your door is left open they can enter.
If you need help because of debt problems with bailiffs you should contact a debt advice charity. For face to face help contact your local citizens advice bureau. Debt Support Trust can offer advice and support by telephoning 0800 085 0226.
For information about possible debt solutions visit our debt solutions page.