If you've ever been in debt, you may have had a visit from a bailiff. Bailiffs are law enforcement officers who are responsible for enforcing court judgments. This includes collecting money owed to the government, seizing and selling assets to repay debts, and arresting debtors. This article will discuss what bailiffs are allowed to do and how you can protect your rights if they come to your home.Find out how bailiffs operate and what their role is in collecting debts! Click To Tweet
Can a bailiff enter my home without permission?
One of the first things you should do is ensure that they are actually there for you. Find out what to do if bailiffs are at my door for someone else.
Bailiffs cannot enter your home without a warrant unless they believe you may have hidden assets inside. They must also give you at least two days' notice before entering your home.
Some other rules that bailiffs have to follow include:
- They cannot enter your home by force
- They cannot enter between 9 pm – 6 am
- Bailiffs cannot enter your home if there is only a child under 16 or a vulnerable person
- They cannot use other means other than the door to gain entry (e.g., windows)
Just because they can't enter your home doesn't mean they will not use other methods to enforce the debt. They can seize your car or motorbike if it is outside the property.
What assets can a bailiff seize?
When it is inside your property, the bailiffs will try negotiating payment for your debt. If you can't pay back the debt, the bailiff will remove goods to be sold and use the money to settle the debt. This includes furniture, cars, and even jewelry.
They are not allowed to take essential things for everyday life. However, they can take luxury items like games consoles and televisions. They have to leave items like:
- Microwave or stove
- A fridge
- Beds and enough bedding for household members
- Washing machine
- Dining table and chairs for household members
- Care and medical equipment
In addition, bailiffs have other restrictions they must observe regarding what they can take. They cannot remove;
- Books, tools, or equipment needed to study or work
- Fixtures of the house, like bathroom or closet units
- Assistance pets
- Any goods in your home owned by someone other than you, e.g., your partner's laptop, cannot be removed, provided you give evidence showing that the items are theirs and not yours.
- Items that you jointly own with someone can be seized. You need to learn more about rules on joint liability because you will need it if you are in such a situation.
- The bailiff cannot take the vehicle you are currently using. The best they can do is return for those things later when you are not using them so they can use them to settle your debt.
Can I set up a payment plan with a bailiff?
The bailiff will not leave until the debt has been paid in full. If you can't pay the amount in full, you have to negotiate a payment plan with the bailiffs. You should get this agreement in writing and keep a copy for your records.
If you miss a payment on the agreed plan or stop making payments altogether, bailiffs will return to take away more of your belongings. The bailiff cannot use physical force when removing goods, but they can threaten to do so.
You must stick to any agreements that you make with bailiffs because missing payments will only result in more problems down the line.
Bailiffs are an intimidating presence, but you can make the process a lot less stressful if you know your rights and what to expect. By following the advice in this article, you can make sure that bailiffs don't take advantage of you and that you can repay your debt in a way that works for both parties.