Businesses under pressure from the actions of bailiffs

What’s the one thing you don’t want to happen when you’re running a business?

One of the most uncomfortable things that can happen is the bailiffs walking into your shop – especially when you’re dealing with customers – to demand fees and being unreasonable. Sadly, it seems to be a situation that’s becoming more commonplace. An investigation by ratings adviser Altus Group has discovered that over the course of 2017-18, bailiffs were sent to more than 81,000 companies to collect business rates.

That’s an astonishing 222 businesses visited every day by bailiffs, demanding payments be made to their local council. Bailiffs also have the power to enter properties, seize goods and subsequently sell them at auction in order to balance a business’s debts.

Imagine a situation of working to grow your business and pay your employees, looking for just a bit more time to pay your fees, when all of a sudden, a team of bailiffs shows up with the intent to take the goods from your company, all while customers are on the premises.
Beyond the financial aspects it’s something that can destroy a business’s standing and reputation within the local community.

Sadly, it’s a scenario that’s being played out on a daily basis; data obtained from Altus through a freedom of information request found that nearly one in every 15 commercial properties with a bill faced having their goods seized, up from 6% the year before.

This is at a time when small businesses especially are facing more troubles than ever before. Austerity measures and high business rates can take up a sizeable chunk of their income, while the high street landscape is looking worse than ever thanks to a slow demise from factors such as the explosion in online shopping.

Amazingly, enforcement action may be taken by councils simply due to issues of understaffing, according to Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus, who says: “Councils are taking enforcement action much earlier since their finances became more aligned to business rates income.”

“This sometimes leads to companies with manifestly incorrect demands receiving summonses and facing enforcement action. The problem is also exacerbated by understaffing within some councils and the inordinate delays that this creates in dealing with ratepayers.”

What many people may not understand whether they’re struggling commercially or on a more personal level, is that they have rights and don’t have to succumb to the aggressive tactics that some bailiffs will unfortunately use.

Don’t be intimidated when the bailiffs knock on your door. Find out more about what rights you have, totally free of charge, by speaking to the Get Bailiff Advice team today.

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