What can I do if I receive
a notice to say a bailiff is coming to my
If you think
that bailiffs may call at your house, be aware
that you do not have to let them in. However,
if you leave any doors or windows open they
have the right to enter through them. Once
they have gained entry they may also force
entry to any other parts of the premises.
However, if you do refuse to let them in then
they will be sure to return at some other
time and the problem will not go away. In
the long term you need to seek help from one
of the agencies listed below.
can I do if I receive a notice to say a bailiff
is coming to my house?
If you have
received notification to say a bailiff is
going to call at your house, you may be able
to negotiate with them or the lender (creditor).
You may also
be able to make an application to the court
to suspend the bailiff's action. Your local
CAB or an advice agency will be able to advise
you on how this can be done. If you cannot
suspend the bailiff's action, it may not be
too late to make an offer to the bailiff to
repay the debt over a period of time.
If you cannot
afford to make the bailiff an offer, your
local CAB may be able to help by negotiating
with the bailiff on your behalf. When you
seek advice make sure you have all the necessary
papers left by the bailiff.
If you know
a bailiff is going to call, try to have a
witness there and make sure you note down
everything the bailiff says or any of the
powers they claim to have.
Read on for
a fuller and deeper insight on bailiffs.
A visit from
a bailiff can be a frightening and stressful
experience. This page explains what a bailiff
can and cannot do when they call at your home.
do I deal with a bailiff at my door?
can call at your house at any reasonable time
to seize goods, but you do not have to let
The bailiff cannot enter your house by force,
but they can legally enter your property through
open windows or unlocked doors, so make sure
all your doors and windows are locked or closed!
Once the bailiff
has been inside your house by entering peacefully,
they can call again at a later date and enter
your house without your permission, forcefully,
to remove your goods.
goods the bailiff must leave the premises
When in your house the bailiff has the right
of access to all rooms and can force their
way into other parts of the property.
goods can a bailiff take?
some exceptions to what the bailiff can take
from your home:-
acting on a County Court Judgment cannot seize
clothing, bedding, furniture, household equipment
or other goods necessary to meet basic domestic
no bailiff can seize tools, books, vehicles
or other equipment necessary for personal
use in employment or business. However, a
bailiff acting for Poll Tax, Council Tax,
VAT and Tax may be able to do so.
can seize goods belonging to anyone other
than the person named on the distress warrant.
cannot seize goods subject to a hire purchase
or rental agreement (goods on credit sale
can be seized because they belong to the person).
own jointly with someone else can be taken.
may take the goods away immediately, but what
will usually happen is that the bailiff and
the debtor will come to an agreement known
as a "walking possession agreement".
This means that the debtor has agreed to pay
the bailiff a maximum of 45pence plus VAT
per day for the continued use of the goods.
This is not permanent and will only give the
debtor a few days to try and re-negotiate
with the court. If a bailiff has gained entry
and the debtor does not want the goods to
be removed immediately, this agreement has
to be signed.
by the bailiff must be put into auction to
be sold, the bailiff is under a legal obligation
to obtain the best price possible. As the
goods are second-hand, the value of the goods
are only a fraction of what their new value
was. A bailiff will often identify many more
goods than you might expect.
be sent to prision for not co-operating with
a bailiff. You do not have to let them into
your house. You should seek advice as soon
must not threaten you illegally, force entry
to your home or use offensive language. If
you are concerned about a bailiff's behaviour,
you can complain either to the creditor or
to the court that sent them.
is someone who is instructed:-
a creditor to enforce a money debt or a fine
a landlord to carry out an eviction
a creditor to repossess goods under hire purchase
or a conditional sale agreement
enforce an injunction
has legal authority to carry out these actions.
A bailiff can enter your home and take away
possessions which, when sold off, will go
towards repaying the money owed.
three different kinds of bailiffs: County
Court bailiffs, Sheriff's Officers and private
Court bailiffs are directly employed by
the County Court and must follow guidelines
laid down by the Lord Chancellor's Department.
Officers are contracted by the High Court
and work in geographical county areas. They
work out of the local Sheriff's Office under
the control of an Under- Sheriff who is usually
responsible for that area. If a creditor has
a CCJ of more than £600 they can transfer
the judgement up to the High Court for enforcement.
bailiffs are self-employed, employed by
a private firm, or employed as bailiffs by
another organisation (e.g Local Authority,
bailiffs are granted a certificate following
an application to a County Court. Certification
is only necessary to empower a bailiff to
levy distress for rent arrears and council
tax arrears and to enforce road traffic debts,
although some local authorities will insist
on this for all bailiff work.
To be granted
a certificate a bailiff must:-
1) Satisfy the court that s/he is a 'fit and
proper person' to hold a certificate and possesses
sufficiant knowledge of the law of distress;
2) Lodge in court a bond or deposit for £10,000
or have an insurance indemnity for this amount.
A new security must be provided if the old
security runs out or is reduced.
For more information
on bailiffs contact your local CAB - www.nacab.org.uk