Citizens Advice calls for better regulation of “unaccountable bailiff firms”

The Local Government Association has warned that councils must continue to try to collect council tax from everyone eligible, even if that involves using bailiffs, after a report from Citizens’ Advice calling for better regulation of “unaccountable bailiff firms”.

The charity said its involvement in bailiff problems had increased by 24% since regulations were introduced in 2014.

Citizens’ Advice said households have fallen behind by some £18.9bn in all on bills such as council tax and utilities, and that it helped one person every three minutes with bailiff issues.

The charity said: “People can face having their essential services cut off, can be kicked out of their home due to rent arrears or even face prison if they get behind on their council tax. 

“Citizens Advice is concerned that aggressive tactics are also having serious knock-on effects, leading to further debt and mental health problems.”

It called for the government to commit to measuring the levels of household debt and for bailiffs to be independently regulated.

LGA resources board chair Richard Watts said: “No council wants to have to debt collect from its residents, particularly from people on low incomes, but local authorities have a duty to their residents to collect taxes which fund essential services, such as protecting vulnerable children, caring for the elderly, collecting bins, and keeping roads maintained.”

He added: “Anyone having trouble paying their council bills should get in touch with their local authority for financial help and advice.” 

Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the bailiffs’ trade body the Civil Enforcement Association, said: “A visit by an enforcement agent is always the last resort. 

“Agents are highly trained and must follow a process set out in detailed regulations to ensure that they collect unpaid council tax and court fines fairly. “

He said the association would investigate any “strong evidence of bad practice”.

Mark Smulian

Is there a problem with the bailiffs in Rhondda Cynon Taf? Have you had problems with bailiffs? 

Spread the love
Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *