Dealing with Bailiffs
A bailiff (also known as an Enforcement Agent) may visit your home if you don’t pay a debt for something like council tax, a fine, or child maintenance.
If you have been contacted by a bailiff, you can prevent them visiting by paying them what you owe, or by arranging with them to pay in instalments.
Bailiffs will generally be happy to accept an arrangement to pay, provided that it’s realistic, and that you can afford to pay it.
If we’ve already worked out a budget for you, you can use this to demonstrate to the bailiffs what you can afford to pay. If you haven’t already completed a budget you’ll need to detail your income, outgoings, and work out what’s left over and what you can afford to offer them (see our offers to creditors page for more information).
Can Bailiffs force entry?
This depends on the type of debt they are collecting, and whether they have visited before. Bailiffs are allowed to force their way into your home to collect unpaid criminal fines, Income Tax or Stamp Duty, but only as a last resort.
You usually do not have to open your door to a Bailiff or let them in. Bailiffs cannot enter your home:
If you do not let a Bailiff in or agree to pay them:
If you do let a Bailiff in but do not pay them, they may take some of your belongings. They could sell the items to pay debts and cover their fees.
You may be able to get extra time to make a payment or get debt advice if you’re a vulnerable person (for example, you have mental health problems or are seriously ill).
What can Bailiffs take?
If you let the bailiff in, they can take some of your belongings which will be sold to repay your debt.
This includes items like:
What items can’t Bailiffs take?
There are also items that Bailiffs can’t take, these include:
How to stop Bailiffs?
If you think a Bailiff might visit you to collect debts, you can stop this by paying the money you owe. You may want to seek debt advice to understand if there are any debt solutions available to help you pay off your debts.
Some debt solutions protect you against further action from your creditors, including bailiff action.
They are sometimes called ‘formal’ solutions because the creditors, as well as you, are bound by them:
If you’re in one of these solutions, and the debt which the bailiff is collecting is included, they can’t send bailiffs out to your property.
There are, however, some important things to consider:
Should I check a Bailiff’s identity?
Yes. If a bailiff visits your property, you must ask them for identification such as a badge, ID card or enforcement agent certificate.
You should also:
Ask for a detailed breakdown of the amount owed.
All bailiffs must have a certificate unless they’re exempt or they’re with someone who does have a certificate.
You should do this before paying them anything or letting them into your home.
What is a Debt Collector?
You may find that, if you have fallen behind with your repayments to a debt, that you are contacted by another firm who have been asked to collect the debt. Your creditors are entitled to do this.
Debt collectors can:
Debt collectors will often agree to freeze interest and charges to accounts where they can see that a person is in financial difficulties and has sought debt advice. If you appoint a third-party representative, they will usually direct all contact through them rather than contacting you.