Five rules bailiffs have to follow when they visit homes after ban lifts on Monday


BAILIFFS will be able to knock on people’s doors again tomorrow after the coronavirus outbreak temporarily banned visits.

Emergency laws introduced in England and Wales in April put a stop to home visits from bailiffs over fears they wouldn’t follow social distancing rules.

Bailiffs will be able to visit debtors’ homes again on Monday after several months

Now they’ve been lifted after lockdown was slowly eased over the past two months.

As of Monday, they’ll be able to approach debtors’ homes over repayments for fines, traffic offences, unpaid council tax and other outstanding penalties.

The guidance has been published by the Ministry of Justice outlines that goods can still be seized during the pandemic.

But the procedure of bailiffs coming to visit people’s homes is now different from before – and there are several rules that they must follow.

1. Bailiffs must socially distance

Enforcement officers have to make “every reasonable effort to maintain social distancing”, so two metres or one metre apart where two metres isn’t possible, during their visits.

They also need to assess the risks of going into the property they’re visiting and work out a way to make the visit in the most socially-distant way possible.

This will include:

• Maintain social distancing as far as possible, including use of appropriate PPE
• Minimise contact with other householders
• Minimise physical contact with surfaces and objects by the enforcement agent, so asking the householder to leave doors open where necessary
• Keep interactions to well-ventilated areas where possible
• Wash or disinfect their hands regularly

2. Leave if someone breaks social distancing or appears to have coronavirus

If someone “deliberately” attempts to breach social distancing or endangers the safety of themselves or the bailiff during the visit, the bailiff has to leave, under the new guidance.

They also should report it to the police, if it’s appropriate to do so, but they will also keep a record of it.

3. They can’t shout or raise their voices

Just like when pubs reopened and banning singing and shouting was discussed by Whitehall sources, bailiffs have to avoid raising their voices during the visit as this spreads coronavirus.

Instead they have to speak in normal tones while maintaining social distancing.

4. People need to be contacted before they’re visited at home

The Ministry of Justice has said that bailiffs have to try and contact people before visiting their homes to minimise the risk of Covid-19 and so that they carry out the visit safely.

This can either be on the phone, a text message, a letter or by email.

They’ll ask if anyone is self isolating or has got Covid-19 symptoms, and if so, they will return at a later date.

If they arrive and find someone is displaying Covid-19 symptoms, they will leave and return at a later date.

5. Bailiffs need to wear PPE

Like going on public transport, bailiffs need to wear a face mask during visits, especially where social distancing will be difficult.

They could be wearing some or all of the items below:

• Fluid repellent surgical face masks
• Eye protection (such as face visor or goggles)
• Disposable gloves

They also always need to have hand sanitiser with them at all times and try not to touch any surfaces.

Once the visit is finished, they need to dispose of their PPE and also wash or sanitise their hands.

Face masks and gloves need to be removed, put into a sealed bag and then binned.

But eye goggles can be reused.

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Meanwhile the eviction ban for renters has been extended by four weeks as thousands face losing their homes.

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