The Scottish government introduced new measures to help people in debt due to coronavirus, extending the notice period for evictions and encouraging business creditors to offer help and support to their customers.
Although the initial national lockdown is now lifting, local lockdowns are likely to be implemented for some time in areas where coronavirus cases rise. So if you’re in debt you may be wondering if bailiffs or sheriff officers can still visit your home under these circumstances.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that bailiffs and sheriff officers have only been carrying out urgent work issued to them by the courts. During the national lockdown they were not allowed to visit private homes to chase debts or seize goods, as the work wasn’t viewed as ‘essential.’
There was a general fear that businesses struggling to stay afloat would put pressure on bailiffs and sheriff officers to recover their debts, but fortunately, legislation was introduced to prevent this.
Although they cannot undertake in-person visits to your home during coronavirus lockdown, bailiffs and sheriff officers can still contact you by phone, letter, and email, to chase their clients’ debts or act on orders from the court.
Creditors are being widely encouraged to offer repayment extensions or payment holidays to people who owe them money at the present time, however, rather than continue to demand payment when financial distress is widespread.
Bailiffs and sheriff officers should provide notice of a visit to your home, and aren’t allowed in unless you invite them to enter your property or they hold a warrant from the court. They must adhere to strict regulations when enforcing debt rulings, so it’s important to know your rights in this regard, especially if you’re subjected to threats or intimidation.
Obtaining professional support when dealing with bailiffs or sheriff officers offers you a little reassurance, and can help you deal more effectively and confidently with what is a very worrying situation.
Licensed insolvency practitioners (IPs) can help in various ways, and at any stage of being in debt, including negotiating with your creditor on your behalf and ensuring you know your rights if bailiffs do decide to visit your home.
Various methods of debt enforcement exist in Scotland, so if you’re aware of what can happen in different circumstances you can better protect yourself and understand sheriff officer actions.
Scotland Debt Solutions has been helping Scottish residents to escape debt since 1989, and is committed to ensuring you have the knowledge you need. Please contact one of our licensed insolvency practitioners to find out more about how we can help – we operate from a network of offices around Scotland, and offer free same-day consultations.
The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund is available for individuals facing the risk of eviction as they cannot claim housing benefits or support.
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Our Scottish based team can help advise you on your debt problems.