If you’re facing financial difficulties, one of the biggest worries you can experience is probably getting a visit from bailiffs. Otherwise called enforcement agents, these individuals are sent by creditors to reclaim debts. They will do this either by taking payments or seizing possessions. Although they are professionals doing a job, there’s no argument that their actions cause stress and anxiety.
In fact, according to research from one debt charity, more than 80% of clients who experienced a visit from a bailiff believed the encounter harmed their wellbeing. Moreover, Citizens Advice reports, during a 12-month-period, they were notified about more than 111,000 issues related to these individuals.
Now a group of cross-party MPs is calling for reform of the bailiff industry. If approved, this could bring much more regulation to the sector.
Highlighting similar statistics to the ones above, the politicians urged government to change how bailiffs operate. One of those MPs – Stephen Crabb – commented on the recommendations, stating there was too much “bad practice” within the industry.
Currently, bailiffs are self-regulating but this proposed reform changes that. If approved by the government, the following could come into effect:
The introduction of an independent bailiff complaints body;
The introduction of an independent regulator for the industry;
Regular reviews of bailiff fees.
It’s hoped this reform will protect individuals from the stress, anxiety, and financial impact a bailiff visit can have – or at least limit the negative effects.
As well as this reform, Crabb has also supported the ‘breathing space’ initiative – a scheme where those struggling with unpaid debts would get time without fees or interest rates to regain control of their finances.
Currently, this legislation is in the proposal stage. However, with evidence from a variety of organisations suggesting the bailiff industry should be reformed, the government may push through the regulation sooner rather than later.
Although bailiff interactions are generally stressful experiences, it could lead to these encounters being far more sympathetic in the future. This does not help you right now though.
Fortunately, if a bailiff is due to arrive at your address, you may be able to prevent the visit by taking out a debt solution. For example, if you complete an application for a consolidation loan now (and if successful), you could repay your creditors within 24 hours – likely stopping enforcement action there and then.
To find out if you are eligible, get in touch with one of our advisors below: