This is a common situation when a notice of enforcement is sent out to a debtor. However, the subsequent response from the company was not expected.
The company goes back to the tenant and says they can pay by installments, but they will have to pay 10% debt collection charges and interest for accepting instalments. They further stated that as they will be acting as the landlords debt collection company the lease allows for the landlord to charge collection charges and the late payment of commercial rent interest act supports this. The tenant is required to pay the compliance fee in full immediately then weekly instalments to pay off the debt.
The debtor complains to his legal team about the charges.
On investigation it is discovered the collection company does not have any owner or director that is certificated, or indeed any employees certificated that are PAYE. The company is a private investigation company that also does process servicing, investigations and just brokers out bailiff work when it is required by solicitors, as they are not certificated enforcement agents.
This company lists services on their letterhead as private investigators, process servers, certificated Enforcement Agents and Debt Recovery agents.
The extra collection fees are not covered by The Taking Control of Goods (Fees)Regulations 2014, and so should be open to challenge.
If any company does not employ or have a director or partner that is a Certificated Enforcement Agent should they be allowed to advertise the service of enforcement agents?
Landlord believes this is a bailiff company, experienced and with necessary Professional Indemnity Insurance in place.
The solicitor also thinks they are dealing with an enforcement company.
Check the bailiff you are instructing is certificated or the whole process is illegal.
To be sure check the Certificated Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) Register at justice.gov.uk
Enforcement Bailiffs Ltd has a national team of experienced Local Certificated Enforcement Agents ready to carry out your instructions.
The Act clearly defines who may act as an enforcement agent.
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