Debt advice when you’re threatened with a visit from bailiffs
Bailiff Debt overview
Bailiffs (also known as ‘enforcement agents’) are the people who visit your home if you do not pay certain debts, such as your Council Tax, parking fines, court fines and County Court/Family Court judgements.
They do not collect on debts such as personal loans and credit cards (these debts are usually dealt with by debt collectors, who are frequently mixed up with bailiffs).
There are four forms of bailiffs:
- Certificated enforcement agents
- High court enforcement officers
- County court and family court bailiffs
- Civilian enforcement officers
It’s important to understand the difference between bailiffs and debt collectors, as bailiffs have certain powers that debt collectors don’t. While bailiffs can remove goods from your home, you do not have to let them in and they cannot enter your property:
- By force, for example by physically pushing past you
- If only children under 16 or vulnerable people (with disabilities, for example) are in the home
- Between 9pm and 6am
- Through anything asides from the door
In most instances’ bailiffs must provide you with 7 days’ notice of their first visit.
Worried about debts that won't go away?
Debt help tips for tackling Bailiff Debts
- Seek advice from a trusted charity or debt agency prior to your debt reaching the stage of bailiffs.
- If you refuse to let a bailiff in, you should bear in mind that:
- They can take items from outside of your home, such as your car.
- You’ll likely end up owing even more money on top of the original debt.
- Remember – always check the bailiff’s ID – such as their badge, ID card or enforcement agent certificate.
- Bailiffs are not allowed to remove:
- Items that you need, such as your clothes, cooker or fridge.
- Work tools and equipment which together are worth less than £1,350.
- Someone else’s belongings, such as your boyfriend’s computer (although you will have to prove that the goods belong to another person).
IVAs – A potential debt solution
If the bailiffs have, or are soon, set to arrive at your door, you may need to look at your overall financial circumstances.
For those who owe more than £5,000 to two or more creditors, an Individual Voluntary Arrangement may be a suitable form of debt settlement. An IVA runs over the course of either 60 or 72 months, with all remaining debt written off after this timeframe. Top Benefits of Debt Relief schemes