Bailiff or Enforcement Agents: Advice for Wales and England Residents

Enforcement agents or bailiffs possess legal powers in collecting debts. Some of them act on behalf of private companies, some are self-employed, while others work for the council. They collect CCJs or Court Judgements, arrears on tax council, and arrears on child support.

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What bailiffs can and cannot do?

Bailiffs knocking on your door can be an intimidating and stressful experience, but you need to know your rights and the limit of their authority.

Bailiffs, also referred to as enforcement agents have no liberty to take whatever they want. There are set procedures that are in place, which determines the time and place that they can visit you.

Bailiff Rules Change due to COVID-19 Pandemic as of April 2020

If you are concern with bailiffs stopping at your door, no longer should you get stressed out. Besides, if you seek for ways to deal with your debt we recommend reading: Financial help during the coronavirus lockdown

During the COVID-19 or coronavirus lockdown, bailiffs are prohibited to come to your home; however, they can still reach you through a phone call or email.

In fact, majority of sheriff officer firms in Scotland stops home visits during the lockdown. People are being notified either by letter or phone call.

How will I know for Bailiffs’ visit?

Enforcement agent or bailiff must always notify you through a letter before their visit. You will definitely get a warning for as long as your creditors have your current address.

The procedure during bailiff visit

  1. A warrant protocol will be issued authorizing a bailiff to act o behalf of your creditor. With this warrant, a bailiff can seize goods or valuable possessions that can be sold at auction. This serves as a compensation for your existing debt.
  2. You will receive a notice of enforcement, containing the reason for their visit.
  3. In turn, you have to settle your debt or arrange repayment options seven working days after the receipt of the said notice.
  4. Normally, bailiffs will try to come inside your home and draft a list of your valued goods that can be disposed of as a debt payment. Though it is uncommon for them to seize your possessions on their fist home visit, they will create a ‘controlled agreement’ which allows you to keep your goods along with your assurance that you will secure payments towards your debt.

You can freely file a complaint if any of these procedures aren’t followed. We will discuss more bailiff complaints on the succeeding post.

What if I deprived bailiffs in entering my home?

If you keep on depriving bailiffs to enter your home, they may attempt to gain entry on their next visit. However, for certain types of debt, a bailiff can request a warrant from a judge if you keep on refusing them to enter your home. This warrant grants them the right to forced entry.

Moreover, the fee in applying for this warrant will be counted in your debt. For further details, you may refer to Bailiff Costs and Fees.

In contrast, your creditor can take back the issued warrant if they perceived uncertainty in recovering what you owe through the aid of a bailiff. This could mean they will no longer be knocking on your doors.

What to do during force entry?

Usually, a bailiff can enter your home without any force involved through your front or back door. In doing so, they have to:

  • Introduce themselves
  • Explain why they’re reaching out to you
  • Enter your home not by force, unless they presented a warrant of control, which gives them the right to enter by force

Can Bailiffs use a locksmith to enter by force?

One thing you must know that a bailiff is prohibited to use locksmith or ruin your front or backdoor unless this has been detailed specifically under the warrant protocol. Besides they are also restricted to:

  • Execute acts preventing you to close your doors
  • Enter your home with only a child under 16 years of age
  • Force enter through a window
  • Falsely giving information on who they are

Can bailiff enter by force for council tax?

Bailiffs can also enforce collecting council tax such as HM Revenue & Customs Tax or criminal fines. Also, they can come to remove goods under a controlled goods agreement, which you failed to comply.

Generally, a bailiff is not allowed to enter your home by force for a council tax debt excluding the grounds stated above; unless in the presence of a controlled goods agreement.

What time and how often can the bailiffs visit?

The time wherein bailiff can visit your home is between 6 AM to 9 PM.

They are only allowed to visit at any time, when specified by the court through a warrant, or if the visit is made at a business premise that’s close during the allotted hours.

There is no specific day of the week for their visit, but visitation during cultural or religious festivals are prohibited unless otherwise urgent.

Where can bailiffs visit me?

Bailiff visits are not limited to your home alone. A court warrant allows them to visit someone else’s property if your goods are kept.

Normally, bailiffs are likely to visit you at your home. However, they can also visit wherever property you live or do business in England or Wales.

They can even visit your business address if you own one. If you’re under a client or  employer, they can’t call or visit you at your workplace.

In circumstances that you left valuable possessions in public (including your car), a bailiff can take it away. In fact, some bailiffs drives around, utilizing ANPR or automatic number plate recognition cameras to determine cars of wanted debtors. Besides, getting your car details is possible through DVLA.

Who can help me with bailiffs?

If you got a letter or visit from bailiffs, it’s an alarm that you need to consider DEBT HELP. With our finance experts, helping you to come up with the best debt management plan, it is possible to get rid of your debt in no time.  Should you wish to speak via phone, call us at  0800 193 1024 or online.