Questionable conduct and possibly overzealous collection by bailiffs has led to a reputation which needs correction. While the majority of bailiffs collect debt in a professional and appropriate way, there are still some who use threats and even physical force which are utterly unacceptable ways for these agents to do their jobs.
A bailiff may legally visit homes if a person fails to pay their debts such as Council Tax bills, court fines, and county court or family court judgments. Even though bailiff companies have the legal power to recover debts on behalf of creditors, there are still limitations in the way the can seize assets. They are only allowed to do this by properly asking for payment or by seizing some of the debtor’s assets in order to pay off your debts.
In a 2015 report by The Guardian, a gymnastics instructor Ronald Grant recounted his experience with a bailiff who turned his life upside down. In just a matter of 15 minutes, the bailiff’s visit to his flat turned into a hallway brawl that was followed by Grant’s arrest and the police charging him with common assault. However, when matters were taken to court and after an assessment by Crown Prosecution Services, it was found out that the bailiff was trespassing because the bailiff refused to press the outdoor bell and instead forced his entry. It was found that it was the bailiff who should have been arrested.
While a bailiff has the right to visit a home, they can’t enter it by force by pushing past the homeowners or breaking down the door, if there are children under 16 and people with disabilities present, between 9 pm to 6 am and through ways other than the door. However, it’s important to note that bailiffs are allowed to force their way to collect unpaid criminal fines, income tax or stamp duty but only as a last resort after extensive measures have been taken.
When it comes to misconduct, one case is too many, which is why the government is taking action to give greater protection to vulnerable people from rogue bailiffs. On July 2019, the government announced that body-worn cameras are to be made compulsory for bailiffs. With this government action, bailiffs who continue to use intimidating tactics to recover debts will be held to account.
This government action also includes the introduction of a new 60-day breathing space for people struggling to pay their debts. According to Justice Minister Paul Maynard, intimidation and aggression by bailiffs are utterly unacceptable. Moreover, Maynard said that they are looking carefully at other measures that can improve the system.
While unpaid debts can be frustrating, creditors should try to be understanding and not forget that these debtors are people who deserve to be treated properly and fairly, no matter how much money they owe. Debt collection can still be possible without the need of force and aggression.
When it comes to collecting payments for debts, bailiffs act as middlemen of the transaction. Therefore, creditors should hire a bailiff service that is professional, friendly and efficient. MS Webb & Co. offers a full suite of bailiff and security services through England and Wales. We have over 25 years of experience in providing enforcement services on behalf of our clients. We are committed to collect debt payments while still upholding the highest standards of professionalism and operating strictly within the confines of the law. For efficient bailiff services, contact us on 0844 544 4804.