Weston MP welcomes tough new laws banning aggressive bailiffs
By Carol_Deacon | Monday, January 28, 2013, 14:35
Weston MP John Penrose has welcomed the news that the law will be changed to give vulnerable people stronger protection from aggressive bailiffs.
From a 1850 painting by William Powell Frith a Mr Honeywell introduces the bailiffs
Under new laws to clean up the industry, bailiffs will be banned from entering homes when only children are present and at night.
New safeguards will prevent bailiffs from using force and need a mandatory training and certification scheme.
It means businesses will still be able to collect debts fairly but bailiffs who do not follow the rules will be barred from the industry.
Mr Penrose said 'There's a fine but hugely important line between making sure people pay what they owe, and intimidation.
"I've worked with Weston's Citizens' Advice Bureau to help people when things have got out of hand, so we've seen what happens when things go wrong.
"We need a system which allows the majority of responsible bailiffs to get on with collecting legitimate debts fairly, but which prevents abuse and stops a small minority from giving the industry a bad name.
"That is exactly what these changes will create."
It was announced this week by Justice Minister Helen Grant that new legislation will include:
The law being changed to ban the use of force against debtors;
Bailiffs will not be allowed to enter homes when only children are present;
Bailiffs would be banned from visiting debtors at night – they will only be allowed to enter between 6am-9pm;
A simple set of rules and fees would be legislated for detailing when a bailiff can enter a property, what goods they can take and a fee structure which will end excessive and multiple fees;
Vulnerable people will get assistance and advice;
Landlords would be banned from using bailiffs to seize property for residential rent arrears without going to court; and
A straight-forward system created for complaints so people who feel they have been treated unfairly can get appropriate redress.