A bailiffs job is to collect the debt quickly, either by seizing assets, collecting payment in full or setting up a payment plan to clear the balance within a reasonable period of time.
A visit from a bailiff can be a scary experience and confusing experience, so it’s important to understand your rights and how to best deal with them.
Dealing with Bailiffs
It’s important to understand the job of a bailiff is to collect their client’s debt, this means they will put pressure on people to get the outstanding amount paid the moment they contact them.
Your rights will depend the type of debt owed and the reason for the bailiffs visit. There are three main types of debts which could cause a bailiff to visit, these are;
- Creditor: If you owe a creditor money for an unsecured debt and they decide to go to court, a bailiff will visit with the aim to seize goods to pay the debt.
- Landlord: If you owe money to a landlord they may use the court to request your eviction and if granted a bailiff will be instructed to carry out the eviction. In some cases the bailiff will also be asked to seize goods to cover the outstanding debt, although this isn’t always the case.
- Repossession: If a debt has been secured against an asset, such as a car, a bailiff may be required to seize the asset. The most common reason for these types of bailiff visits is cars on hire purchase agreements, which have been defaulted on.
Can A Bailiff Force Entry?
On their first visit a bailiff cannot force entry into a property, unless it’s for an eviction, but they can enter using open doors or seize good in a garage, garden, etc. This means they cannot use an open window or climb walls to gain access.
Once a bailiff has gained access the first time, whether invited or not, they can use force in the future to get access to the property.
The cost of having a bailiff visit to collect debt can vary, but they are usually expensive and will likely cause the debt to increase significantly.
The official UK government website gives the following example of bailiffs fees when someone owes £1,500.
- £75 when your case is sent to the bailiff.
- £235 if you ignore a letter from bailiffs and they have to visit you.
- £110 if they have to take your goods and sell them at auction.
How To Stop Bailiff Action
The best way to stop a debt escalating to the stage where bailiffs are visiting your property is to negotitate with creditors early and set a payment plan. Even if you are unable repay the debt in full, the creditor will likely accept a payment plan, helping to keep the debt lower by avoiding bailiffs fees.
If bailiffs are already involved in collecting the debt and you’re unable to repay it in full, it’s important to seek debt advice immediatly from a charitable debt advice organisation.
It may be a debt solution is required to deal with your financial problems and some solutions will also stop any bailiff action, depending on how quickly you seek advice.
If you are having problems with bailiffs contact Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.