Better regulation of bailiffs
Bailiffs came to my home while I was very ill and would not leave until I wrote out a cheque for council tax for a full year. The cheque will not be honoured so I await their return. I live most of my days in my bedroom afraid and lonely.
What's the issue?
Mind's In the red campaign found widespread evidence of bad practice by bailiffs and debt collectors, including excessive fees and heavy-handed behaviour, which can lead to further mental distress for people struggling with debt.
The new research that we compiled between December 2009 and January 2010 found that over half of those who responded had experienced suicidal feelings after a visit from the bailiffs.
We have heard cases of bailiffs forcing their way into homes, threatening people with prison and even intimidating people’s children.
Without regulation, bailiffs are free to exaggerate their powers with no repercussions; currently there are no binding rules for them to abide by.
The bailiffs won’t talk to you, they just shout. I have been harassed, bullied, shouted at, threatened… Sometimes you just feel like giving up. You feel physically sick. It’s so frightening.
What has Mind been doing?
Together with Citizens Advice, Mind has been lobbying the Ministry of Justice to introduce tough regulation of bailiffs as a matter of urgency.
The last Government committed to introduce regulation back in 2007 but, over four years on, implementation has still not happened.
We launched our public campaign in the media in September 2010 and have supported organisations like Citizens Advice and Zacchaeus 2000 in their efforts to push for the new coalition Government to take action now, to prevent more people's lives being ruined by bailiffs.
Although we are scaling back our work on debt and mental health, we will continue to support action on this issue where we can.