Bill aims to curb repossessions over unpaid fines

The legislation will strike particularly hard at cities such as Tel Aviv.

The Knesset has passed the preliminary reading of a bill that would force local authorities to prove that they have sent registered warning letters to the correct addresses of residents who have unpaid bills or fines before the cities can begin taking any legal action for non-payment, reports The legislation will strike particularly hard at cities such as Tel Aviv, which often draws complaints that it sends in repossession agents without having first warned residents to pay up. According to the report, at present the law allows a local authority to begin legal action against a non-paying resident 15 days after a registered letter demanding payment is delivered. The new legislation, initiated by Knesset members Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Eli Aflalo (Kadima), will obligate local authorities to prove that the registered letter was sent to the correct address, and if the city cannot prove this, it will be prohibited from pursuing further legal action. "This legislation will prevent difficult situations in which innocent citizens get a visit from a repossession agent during the night without ever having received a report or a request for payment by mail," Erdan said. He added that in many cases repossession agents were sent in over a fine that originally was no more than NIS 100 or 200, but which over time accumulated interest and penalty fees and rose to an astronomical amount, and said that ensuring that residents actually received warning notices would help prevent this. And Aflalo said it was interesting that some cities could not manage to send warning notices to the correct addresses, but when it came to sending in repossession agents, "they know very well where you live."