This section explains powers for bailiffs and your rights when bailiffs visit your home. Check how UK law protects you and your property if an enforcement officer knocks on your door.
BAILIFFS YOUR RIGHTS: What to do if a bailiff comes to your door? Failing to pay certain debts can result in a home visit from a bailiff or enforcement agent.
It happens most often when people ignore letters sent to them saying "bailiffs will be used".
County court or family court judgments also get the same type of bailiff debt collection.
You can get arrested by an Approved Enforcement Agent for failing to pay a community penalty order.
Bailiff powers and your rights extend to several other reasons for a visit to your home. Typical examples include serving court documents or giving out notices and court summons.
There are four different types of bailiffs in the United Kingdom, known as:
Note: As a rule, bailiffs must provide you with at least seven (7) days of advance notice of their first visit. Refer to the sheriff officer powers when they visit your home or business if you are in Scotland.
There is a way to stop a bailiff visiting your home to collect a debt. Paying the money that's owed will stop the process. You may need to seek advice about how to pay off a debt.
Contact the person or company you owe money to without delay. They may be able to help you find a solution to paying off the debt before the bailiffs arrive. Read more about county court judgments for debt if you are unable to pay.
In most cases, the law does not force you to open your door to a bailiff or to let them come inside your property. As a rule, high court bailiffs powers do not allow them to enter a home:
There are some consequences of not letting a bailiff in your home or not agreeing to pay them. In situations such as these, bailiffs can:
What happens if you let a bailiff inside your home but do not pay the debt?
In this case bailiffs have the power to take some of your personal belongings. They can then sell the items to pay off your debts and cover their fees.
You should always check the identity of a bailiff before letting them inside your home. Before they take any of your things, or you make a payment, ask them to show you:
Furthermore, you should always ask for proof of a bailiff's identity. You can also ask them for their authorisation even on repeat visits. Get them to put the proof through your letterbox or show it at your window.
As a rule, all bailiffs must carry their certificate with them. Some exceptions apply for those who are exempt. The same exception applies for bailiffs accompanying another who has their own certificate.
Approved Enforcement Agents should be from one of these companies:
Claiming to be a bailiff if you are not is committing fraud in the United Kingdom. In some cases, you can contact the court that sent them to check.
Note: You can make an offer to pay what you can afford. That could be in weekly or monthly installments. But, the bailiff can choose to refuse your offer of paying by installments.
Bailiffs can only take belongings from your home if you let them inside. Hence, if you do let a bailiff in, they can take some of your personal items to sell off.
As a rule, they can take 'luxury items' (e.g. a games console, a set of golf clubs, or a television). But, bailiffs cannot take:
Note: You will need to prove that the goods belong to someone else if they are not your goods. Even so, you can make a complaint about a bailiff's conduct if you feel they broke the rules.
Bailiffs will charge various amounts when they act against people with debt. The fees charged by bailiffs will vary with each of the three stages in any given situation.
Even so, some bailiffs charge Value Added Tax on top of their standard bill (e.g. high court enforcement officer powers).
Bailiffs Rights When They Visit Your Home in United Kingdom