How to deal with baliffs

A bailiff is someone authorised by the courts to collect debts on behalf of someone owed money. This article includes advice on how they can gain access to your premises/home and items they can't seize.

Bailiffs are also referred to as Civil Enforcement Agents.

If bailiffs have become involved, then a court judgement has been made in favour of the creditor. This is because the non payment has gone to court, a judgment has been made and the debtor is still not making repayments under what the court considers to be affordable and reasonable terms.

Bailiffs & Access To Your Home/Premises

Peaceful Entry

Bailiffs will not arrive at your door without 7 days notice - this allows you to reach settlement beforehand.

You do not have to allow a bailiff into your home/premises. Bailiffs cannot use force to gain initial entry to a property.

Forced Entry

Forcing their way past you is not allowed for debts relating to unsecured lending. Once in your home, a bailiff can use force to open internal doors and cupboards.

If a bailiff has previously accessed your home be peaceful means, they are entitled to force entry on subsequent visits in respect of the same judgement

Denied Entry

If you refuse the Bailiff entry indefinitely, the warrant will be returned to the court. This means Bailiffs are saying they have not been able to get payment. The court will then take other means to settle the debt.

Bailiffs & Removing Items.
Items bailiffs can't take
Once the bailiff has gained access, they can seize any goods belonging to the debtor with the following exceptions:

  • Items or tools used in self employment/business by the debtor.
  • Household equipment and provisions necessary for the basic domestic needs of the debtor and their family.
  • This includes clothing, bedding and furniture. Bailiffs can take video recorders, DVD players, second TV's, jewelry, washing machines, Hi-Fi and microwave ovens.
  • Items Rented or on Hire Purchase (as technically these don't belong to the debtor).

Walking Possession Agreement

The bailiff can remove goods immediately, and will usually do so for vehicles. More commonly, they leave them, asking you sign a walking possession agreement. This lists items suitable for removal. To list items, the bailiff must have access. They can't list items viewed from out side.

The bailiff now has control of the listed goods but is leaving them allowing for continued usage. You will have typically 5 days to pay, before the bailiff can return to remove the goods to dispose of, which is normally by public auction.

Hiding Possessions

You can remove or hide possessions before the bailiff arrives, however once inside your home/premises, they are entitled to search for them, using force if necessary. The bailiff can not take items from someone else's premises/home. Removing, hiding or selling items subject to a Walking Possession Agreement is an offense.

Making offers to Bailiffs

It is advisable to offer whatever payment you can afford to the Bailiff. However, do not let them into your premise/home to do so. Close your door and ask them to wait outside. Get a receipt for any money paid.

How We Can Help

If you are concerned about bailiffs then please tell us about your circumstances. If you are genuinely unable to repay your debts at the rate you are being asked, then we may be able to help you.

Contact us today and we'll deal with your creditors, their debt collection agents and bailiffs for you. We'll arrange for reduced payment levels - affordable to you, and acceptable to your creditors.

Call us FREE on 0800 043 2444* for confidential advice

Our office is open on Thursdays until 9pm

Not out-of-hours call centre. *Free from a landline

Alternatively request a call back.