New laws restricting the activities of debt collection bailiffs have been introduced by the Ministry of Justice.
They have now been banned from entering homes at night and when children are present. They are also no longer allowed to use physical force or take essential household items such as cookers, washing machines or refrigerators.
They will also be required to undergo mandatory training, including recognition of the vulnerable when making visits, and will need certification in order to operate.
Unless they have special court permission, bailiffs be required to provide seven days’ notice before seizing property.
However the Ministry stresses that “businesses, local authorities and others can still fairly enforce debts owed to them.”
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“We are stamping out bad practice and making sure bailiffs play by the rules. Those who don’t will be banned.
Aggressive bailiff activity is unacceptable and it is high time that the cowboys out there are stopped from giving the rest of this important industry a bad name.
People will still have to face up to their debts – but they will no longer need to fear their home being raided at night, the threat of violence or having their vital household equipment seized.”