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One tenth of Czechs over 15 subject to property distraint

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Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) – Almost one tenth of Czechs over 15 are subject to some property distraint, which is a year-on-year increase by 31,000 people reaching a total of 863,000 people in 2017, according to an updated map of distraint elaborated by the Open Society NGO and presented by its authors on Tuesday.

The updated map also includes information about the debtors’ age and the frequency of distraint orders.

“The number of persons under distraint increased by 3.4 percent within a year, despite the fact that we have a record low unemployment and increasing salaries. Not even higher salaries and the fact that people are employed can help them get out of the debt trap. They continuously only pay the interest and sanctions,” Radek Habl, the map’s author, told journalists at a press conference.

Half of the people owe less than ten thousand crowns and the distraint costs form the majority of the enforced sum. The average principal sum is 65,000 crowns.

Almost half a million people in the country with a population of 10.5 million have had three or more distraint orders. A total of 151,000 people over 15 have more than ten distraint orders. Out of these people, 10,000 are 18-29 and 6,000 are senior citizens over 65.

According to Habl, 90 percent of distraint orders are unenforcible.

The organisations focusing on this issue claim that an amendment to the insolvency law is necessary. It is hoped that it would help people in leaving the debt trap.

Experts recommend establishing local competency of judicial distrainors, who would deal with all distraint orders of a single debtor. Pay deductions should leave more money to debtors than the undistrainable minimum as at present. Debt consultancy should be reinforced, too.

Czech Bailiffs Chamber board member Petr Polansky said local competency of distrainors is supported by four fifths of the distrainors, since they believe the change would make their work more efficient.

According to Polansky, while a debtor was subject to an average of 3.4 distraint orders in 2013, he or she is subject to an average of 5.5 distraint orders in 2018.

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