Joined: 21 Nov 2005
|Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:17 pm Post subject:
|ailiffs have to give notice - 14 days. |
Distress cannot be attempted by a local authority unless you have been sent a written notice (see below) at least 14 days before any first visit to your home. In practice many local authorities now use private bailiffs. The local authority is responsible for ensuring that the activities of its bailiffs comply with the law. This includes ensuring that the bailiffs they use have a certificate from the county court and have undergone a standard security check.
The written notice must mention the following specified matters:
the fact that a liability order has been made against you
the amount for which the liability order was made AND the amount which remains outstanding, if this is different
a warning that unless the amount specified is paid within 14 days distress may be used
a warning that further costs may be incurred
a copy of the fees payable
the local authority's address and telephone number.
If a local authority fails to observe its code of practice - e.g. it decides to use bailiffs where a member of a household has a disability, or where a local authority has failed to calculate council liability correctly - this may amount to maladministration and be grounds for complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.
If you contact the bailiffs - don't ring, put whatever has to be said in writing. If you have not had written notice, inform the local authority that you are aware you should have had written notice - likewise the bailiffs - ask both for a copy of their Code of Practice. Keep a copy of your letters.
Also make complaint about the bailiff's conduct to the county court.
|ational Standards for Enforcement Agents – Page 9|
Published by the Lord Chancellor’s Department – April 2002.
| Enforcement agents/agencies and creditors must recognise that they each have a role in ensuring that the vulnerable and socially excluded are protected and that the recovery process includes procedures agreed between the agent/agency and creditor about how such situations should be dealt with. The appropriate use of discretion is essential in every case and no amount of guidance could cover every situation, therefore the agent has a duty to contact the creditor and report the circumstances in situations where there is potential cause for concern. If necessary, the enforcement agent will advise the creditor if further action is appropriate. The exercise of appropriate discretion is needed, not only to protect the debtor, but also the enforcement agent who should avoid taking action which could lead to accusations of inappropriate behaviour.|
Enforcement agents must withdraw without making enquiries if the only persons present are children who appear to be under the age of 12.
Wherever possible, enforcement agents should have arrangements in place for rapidly accessing translation services when these are needed, and provide on request information in large print or in Braille for debtors with impaired sight.
Those who might be potentially vulnerable include:
people with a disability;
the seriously ill;
the recently bereaved;
single parent families;
unemployed people; and,
those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English.