March 17 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Friday, January 25, 2013
The government is introducing new laws to tackle aggressive bailiffs.
Although firms will still be able to claim repayments for debts and remove belongings, bailiffs will be banned from entering homes at night or when only children are present.
The will be prevented from using force against people who owe money and will no longer be able to set their own fees.
An Ilford woman, who did not want to be named, claimed she was “assaulted” by a bailiff who forcibly entered her home last year.
She had fallen behind on debt repayments after becoming ill and falling into financial difficulties.
She said: “The bill was for £95 but with fees they had put it up to £329.
“They are robbing people blind and I want it to get out there.
“People haven’t got any jobs, inflation is rising and people are getting into debt so something needs to be done.”
Under the new laws, mandatory training and certification will be introduced.
A set of rules will be drawn up to clarify when bailiffs can enter properties, what they can take and a free structure to stop excessive charges for visits.
Landlords will also need to go to court to seize property for rent arrears.
Announcing the changes today, justice minister Helen Grant said: “For too long bailiffs have gone unregulated, allowing a small minority to give the industry a bad name.
“Too many people in debt have had the additional stress of dealing with aggressive bailiffs who often charge extortionate fees.
“These new laws will clean up the industry and ensure bailiffs play by the rules or face being prevented from practising.”
A man was rescued from a flat this morning after a fire broke out.