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First Step’s when dealing with the Bailiffs

Since 2004 bailiffs have had the legal right, in some circumstances, to force entry to seize your goods to recover the money you owe. That applies to fines, fixed penalties enforced by magistrates courts, or income tax arrears.
For all other debts, bailiffs do not have the power of forced entry to seize goods.

If you are expecting bailiffs…

As soon as you are aware that you may be faced with a visit from some Bailiffs, you should take as many steps as you can to protect yourself.

The first thing you should be aware of is that in the majority of cases, Bailiffs can’t just turn up on your doorstep – they have to give you notice.

Always make sure all your doors are locked. You should also do your best to keep your windows closed. Although bailiffs are no longer legally allowed to enter a property through an open window – we can’t guarantee they won’t try.

If you know bailiffs will attend your house…

If you have been given notice that Bailiffs are going to attend your property, you should consider installing some kind of dead-bolts on your front and back doors. The reason for this is that while a Bailiff may be able to call on a locksmith in some cases, they aren’t allowed to damage your house or “Break” any doors down, so internal bolts on your doors will prevent any unwanted access. You should also consider if you may be classed as a “Vulnerable Person” and therefore be subject to special treatment from the Bailiffs or the Courts.

If a bailiff knocks on your door…

DO NOT OPEN IT. You should not attempt to talk to the Bailiff or give them any indication that you acknowledge their presence. Simply go to an upstairs room of your house that has a view of the Bailiffs outside of your property and use your mobile phone to film them.

Under no circumstances should you answer any of their questions or allow them into your home regardless of what they tell you.

If a Bailiff sends you a letter…

Firstly, check to see if you may be classed as vulnerable, and inform both the Bailiffs and the original creditor/council/court. If the bailiffs are contacting you about a court fine, then send off the Court Complaint letter to the court in question. It is important to ensure you read through it first and fill in the template bits. This letter points out that you are not responsible for bailiff fee’s, and requests that they retake control of the debt and perform a statutory means test. It is advised to send this using recorded delivery. You should also visit our Court Fines page for more advice.

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