Last year, on 6th April, Bailiff Law changed for the first time in 500 years. It took 16 years for the government to finalise these changes in law, which had been in use since 1267. The changes aimed to bring the language used into the 21st century and make repossession procedures more regulated and controlled for both debtors and enforcement agents. It also aimed to dispel confusion surrounding these laws and make it more accessible for both debtors and creditors to understand their rights.
Now, enforcement officers have a much more regulated schedule as to when they can visit a home to repossess goods. A weeks’ notice is typically granted to the debtors before an officer can first enter a home, to allow the debtor some time to repay debts prior to the visit. Agents will now only visit between the hours of 6am and 9pm with a few exceptions. This minimises the time that agents can visit a home which increases the need for a professional if you are looking to recover assets.
Bailiffs cannot force entry into a home nor can they enter through any entrance but the door. Bailiffs also cannot attempt to push past someone to enter a home unless collecting unpaid criminal fines, Income Tax or Stamp Duty. If you are looking to recover debts, you must rely on professional bailiffs that can use alternative methods to repossess goods legally and efficiently.
Mandatory training and certification will be provided to enforcement officers to ensure that all agents know the correct procedures when attempting to repossess goods to repay debt. This includes training to recognise vulnerable adults and how best to assist them, as well as how to communicate effectively.
The ‘Controlled Goods Agreement’ was formerly named the ‘Walking Possession’ and is the process of a bailiff listing the items that could be repossessed on the initial visit to a debtor. Following this, an enforcement agent will attempt to make a payment agreement with the debtor to begin repaying debts before asset recovery is required. The new regulations make it clearer which items are luxury, such as televisions and game consoles, and which are essential items that should not be repossessed. Protection has been implemented for items used for studying or care items for the elderly and children.
After the initial visit from a bailiff, enforcement officers can now lock goods in a cupboard or room of the house to prevent a debtor from removing these items. Vehicles can be locked in a garage or outbuilding of the property to ensure no attempts to flee with assets that could cover their debt. This allows enforcement officers to secure goods and assets more efficiently without repossessing them in the first instance.
Fees that a debtor must pay to the enforcement officers will often rely on the situation in question. However, they have been made much clearer with the recent changes in Bailiff Law, bringing in fixed fees. This removes the opportunity for bad practice bailiffs to add excessive charges to debtor’s fees and structures the payment system.
Able Investigations’ team of Bristol bailiffs have a thorough understanding of the changes in Bailiff Law and hold up-to-date legal knowledge. All of our enforcement agents are certificated and we strive to recover debts legally and efficiently, whether that requires asset recovery or vehicle repossession.
We have a 98% success rate and can operate a same day emergency service if you want to start the process to recovering debt immediately. For more information, call a member of our team on 0845 370 7401.