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Tighter Regulations for Bailiffs

From 6 April 2014 the way Bailiffs can collect debts in England & Wales changed. 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 simplified the fees that they are allowed to charge for their services.  

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

  • Enter a home if only children or vulnerable people are present;
  • Enter a home between 9.00 pm and 6.00 am;
  • Take essential household goods like the oven, fridge or beds;
  • Enter a home through anything except the door.

For people owing less than £1,500 charges have now been fixed at:

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

If you owe more than £1,500 you will also have to pay a percentage of your debt as an additional fee each time Bailiffs visit your home. You will also still have to pay the Bailiff for any action they take against you – like sorting your goods or using a locksmith. You should be aware that 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.

Obviously if you are in debt then it is best to try and avoid a visit from the Bailiff at all, and you are advised to go and seek proper legal advice concerning your debts, and what options may be open to you, in resolving your debt issues prior to any involvement of the Bailiff.