In 2007 the Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act introduced a new approach to enforcement. However the part of that Act that looked at the way Enforcement Agents operate has only recently been reviewed and the regulations came into force on 6th April 2014. These are the ‘Taking Control of Goods’ regulations.
Through the new legislation, the Government seeks to balance the ability to collect debt with the rights of the creditor to receive effective and proportionate enforcement. In particular the Government wanted to: –
· Clarify the law
· Introduce a staged approach
· Obtain clarity of costs
· Remove some of the current areas of contention
From 6 April 2014, changes which include the enforcement of Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates, came into effect.
Process and Fees
After obtaining a liability order, the regulations require three distinct stages following referral to Enforcement Agents. Fees for each stage are now fixed through the legislation: –
1. Compliance – Commenced by passing to Enforcement Agent. Activities to be undertaken by the Enforcement Agent from receipt of the instruction to recover the debt, up until, but not including the commencement of the Enforcement stage.
Compliance Stage £75.00
2. Enforcement – Commenced by service of a Notice of Enforcement. All activities of the Enforcement Agent from the first attendance at the premises up to, but not including the commencement of the sale or disposal stage.
Enforcement Stage £235.00 (+ if debt is above £1500, 7.5% of the amount above £1500)
3. Sale or disposal – Commenced by the removal of goods for sale. All activities of enforcement from the first attendance at the property for the purpose of transporting goods to the place of sale or commencing the preparation for sale, if the sale is to be held on the premises, until completion of the sale or disposal.
Sale or disposal £110.00 (+ if debt is above £1500, 7.5% of the amount above £1500)
- The introduction of a 7 day notice of enforcement, designed to encourage early payment.
- Statute time limit introduced for the taking control of goods.
- Changes to the list of exempt goods which allow the enforcement agent to take items such as works vans. The new legislation will allow enforcement agents to remove certain vehicles and tools of the trade that had been exempt under previous legislation.
- Restrictions on the hours of the day that enforcement action can take place as well as how and when an enforcement agent may access a property.
- Restrictions on the goods an enforcement agent can take, mandatory information to be given to the debtor when they enter a controlled goods agreement.
- How any sale of goods will be handled and how a debtor can pay the debt to prevent this.
- Bailiffs are now to be called Enforcement Agents.
If you are having difficulties in making your payments then it is absolutely vital that you contact our credit control section on 01205 314353 or come in to see us immediately to avoid enforcement agents being involved and having to pay substantial costs.