CITIZENS’ advice bosses have welcomed new laws to protect people from aggressive bailiffs.
The Hartlepool bureau says the changes, which will restrict the behaviour of burly debt collectors, are long overdue.
The new measures include stopping bailiffs from entering people’s property if only children are present or after 9pm.
Joe Michna, manager of Hartlepool Citizens Advice Bureau, in Park Road, said: “These changes are very welcome and in fact long overdue.
“There have been far too many ‘grey areas’ when it comes to what bailiffs can and cannot do when collecting debts.
“The new rules are also a real opportunity for bailiff companies to also review their operating practices.
“Not all bailiff companies use aggressive and over zealous methods when collecting debts but it is a significant minority who do.”
The new rules also ban bailiffs from taking basic household goods such as fridges, cookers and washing machines.
Property cannot also be seized to pay back rent arrears or selling goods until after a week,
But the CAB service says it would like to have seen the rules go even further and see a licensing system introduced, which could see rogue firms struck off.
Mr Michna added: “The CAB service would ideally like the rules to go further and see a ‘licensing system’ introduced, which would see firms struck off the register if they break the rules.
“At the Hartlepool CAB we deal with a steady stream of bailiff related enquiries every week.
“Some of the bailiff firms we contact on behalf of local residents can be hostile towards us and some take a very aggressive stance when it comes to trying to negotiate with them.
“We therefore welcome the new Government rules and guidelines and we would also like to see all bailiff companies being prepared to co-operate better with us when we try to advice and help clients.”