Government saves bankrupts’ homes

A clause added to the Enterprise Bill – which completed its Commons stages earlier this week and is due to be debated in the House of Lords – applies the time limit for action by the trustees in bankruptcy.

The measure goes against recommendations from bankruptcy experts, who say the plans are ‘ridiculous and unworkeable’.

Junior Trade and Industry minister Melanie Johnson said current provisions leave the family home liable to forced sale indefinitely after the bankrupt has been discharged.

She told MPs: ‘The home will continue to vest on bankruptcy in the bankrupt’s estate, as it does now, but the clause provides a three-year period during which the trustee must act. If he does not do so, the family home reverts to the bankrupt at the end of that period.’

The provision will apply to those in process of being made bankrupt when the Bill becomes law later this year.

Within the time limit, trustees can apply for an order to sell the property, apply for an order for possession or come to an arrangement over the extent of future liability.

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