Enforcement During a Pandemic – An Ever-Changing Situation

The whole of the UK, and the whole of the world for that matter, is experiencing rapid change like never before, and the enforcement industry is no different than anything else.

The goalposts are constantly shifting in terms of what companies like ours can and can’t do at this time, and the main reason for this is to ensure the protection of the vulnerable.

No one should find themselves falling on harder times than they already are. It is a legislative issue, but as far as we’re concerned, a moral one too.

Throughout the developing crisis, we have operated in line with Government policy and industry advice. In many cases, we have set the example for others to follow.

That said, we are trying our utmost to keep ahead of the game in terms of new legislation and developing guidelines, as they come in…

…and more have just been released in amendments to The Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.

The Government view residential enforcement right now as troublesome, as it creates a public health risk for agents and debtors alike, due to the social distancing guidelines that are currently in place.

The fact that people are unable to leave their homes without good reason creates a problem as well, given that there is the potential for companies to take advantage of this situation.

We recognise this, and would never look to take advantage of the fact that people are more likely to be home.

Being flexible and sympathetic right now is encouraged for everyone working in our industry, and we would like to echo that encouragement. It is the only way we can move through this together, making sure we leave as few people behind as possible.

Other changes to help with this include the automatic extension to the period for taking control of goods for cases where this period is within one month of expiry, and an increase in the amount of unpaid rent that must be accrued before CRAR can be started.

In effect, this delay takes pressure off debtors, as they will not be pursued right now, but it also relieves the time constraints for the industry, as courts and processes are slowed significantly.

Where CRAR is concerned, there has been some worry that enforcement companies were adding undue pressure to tenants at commercial properties, but an increase in the minimum amount is one way of addressing this.

It is worth mentioning that enforcement companies were well within their rights to go through with CRAR, as we have covered previously. Like we said, this is an ever-changing situation.

Additionally, and something else which will help firms like ours and those who work with us, there will be an automatic six-month extension to enforcement certificates for those that are within three months of expiry.

The Government have been clear, in that they understand the pressures the industry is facing. Similarly, the understand the pressures that potential debtors face.

The ever-changing legislation is frustrating at times, as it limits one thing whilst allowing another, but it is for the best.

Flexible and sympathetic. That’s what we all have to remember right now.

Stay home.


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