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SKU: 9.3
  • Advice

    A bailiff, otherwise known as an enforcement agent, is a person allowed to visit your home to enforce the payment of a debt.


    Stopping a Bailiff at the Door

    The bailiff should have sent you a letter to inform you that they will be visiting your address; this letter should usually be given 7 days before their expected arrival. Bailiffs are only permitted to come into your home between the hours of 6 am to 9 pm. If they arrive during this time you can communicate by speaking through the window or door before letting them in. Some bailiffs are also happy to speak to you on the phone while standing outside. You are entitled to lock any doors or windows if this makes you feel safer, however, it is always best not to come across as aggressive.


    If the bailiffs encounter any physical aggression or feel threatened, they are entitled to request police assistance. According to the new rules, bailiffs do not need to enter the property to take control of goods, but they can list goods they can see through a window. If you manage to come to a repayment agreement or repay your debt it is important to get a receipt and keep it very safe, just in case you need it to prove payment. You should also thoroughly check the bailiff's ID before making any payments (they should carry an ID card, sometimes on a lanyard) just make sure they are who they say they are.


    NB: If you are self-employed, they can visit your business address, but if you work for someone else, they shouldn’t come to your workplace.


    When they can force entry

    This depends on the kind of debt owed, bailiffs can force their way into your home if they have a court warrant to do so to collect debts such as unpaid magistrates court fines, tax debts from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) etc. They need to show you the warrant which is granting them entry, check these documents for proper signatures, dates, and your actual name and address. They are allowed to use reasonable force to access the property, an example would be getting a locksmith to open a door instead of breaking it down.


    Making repayment arrangements

    If you allow a bailiff into your home, but you cannot afford to pay what you owe them straight away, you will normally have the option to pay some of the money and set up a repayment plan for the remainder. This plan may include paying the bailiff’s fee. It must also be made in your presence or the presence of someone acting on your behalf. NB: The repayment plan can also be made without letting the bailiffs into your property


    What can they take

    If you do not agree to the repayment plan while they are on your property, the bailiffs could remove your belongings to sell and pay off your debt. In this instance it might be worth looking at what bailiffs cannot take from you; this often includes things you need to live.


    Bailiffs cannot take:

    • Items that belong to other people;
    • Pets or guide dogs;
    • Vehicles, tools or computer equipment you need for your job or study, (up to a total value of £1,350);
    • Vehicles that are on the Motability scheme, are leased or rented or vehicles displaying a valid Blue Badge;
    • Things owned by somebody else, known as 'third-party goods'. If a bailiff tries to take these goods you should call the owner with the aim to prove ownership.
    • If the bailiffs try to take someone else’s vehicle, ask them to contact the DVLA to determine the registered owner;
    • Items on finance; and
    • Things you need to live, your ‘basic domestic needs’.


    They have to leave you with:

    • A table and enough chairs for everyone living in your home;
    • Beds and bedding for everyone living in your home;
    • A cooker (or microwave), fridge, washing machine etc;
    • A phone or a mobile phone; and
    • Any medicine or medical equipment and anything you need to care for a child or older person.


    If you are classed as vulnerable

    In the letter you receive 7 days prior, ensure to respond stating your situation; usually, they will give you more time to get advice and make a payment offer to stop them from visiting at all. If you are vulnerable, you should show the bailiffs the evidence of such, suitable evidence would include a doctor’s note. If bailiffs do not believe your evidence, you can complain.


    If you are classed as vulnerable (see list below) then bailiffs are required to follow extra rules. You can be classed as vulnerable if: -

    • You are registered disabled, seriously ill or have mental health problems;
    • You have young children or are pregnant (especially if you’re a single parent);
    • Your age makes it hard for you to understand (usually under 18 or over 65);
    • You don’t speak or read English well; or
    • You have been through recent stressful or emotional circumstances (e.g., unemployed, being a victim of crime, or someone close to you has recently died).

    If you are vulnerable the bailiff should let you call someone to act on your behalf, this could be a carer, relative or friend.


    How we can help

    You can start a case by clicking on the link at the top of this page, if the bailiff is still there then you can appoint us to liaise with them on your behalf. Our initial stance would be to request them to give us a few minutes to take instruction in private, we would then suggest that we act as a liaison between you both. We appreciate that they are there simply to do a job, there is no malice involved, however, we also appreciate that this can be a very stressful time for you.


    To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link. Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.

Click hear to book your

free initial consultation:

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