In our last article, we looked at bailiffs, what they are and what they can do. But it is such a complicated and extensive subject, we could not cover everything in a single blog post. So we decided to provide some further bailiff information in a second piece.
When you know a bailiff is coming, tell everyone in the house not to open the door unless they recognise the individual. Yes, informing your parents or flatmates that you have a bailiff problem is embarrassing, but it is necessary.
Secure doors with a lock or a chain. It’s a good idea to close the windows on the first floor. Although bailiffs should not enter through windows, keeping them closed will help you and your family feel safe.
Having a friend or relative alongside you may provide you with moral support. If you want to show the bailiff anything, such as paperwork, make sure you have it ready. You might drop them off at the bailiff’s office through the letterbox. Alternatively, you can email them to the bailiff ahead of time.
If you do let a bailiff into your home, they can only seize specified items. Bailiffs are unable to seize items that were purchased on Hire Purchase, your children’s toys, or items that belong to your partner, parents, flatmates, or anybody else.
You’ll need proof of ownership, such as a bill or receipt, if a bailiff tries to take something that isn’t yours. If the owner does not have a receipt, they can submit a statutory declaration swearing that the item is theirs —
Bailiffs are unable to seize items that are required for daily living or employment. Clothing, bedding, various domestic items such as a refrigerator or a washing machine, and your trade tools are all included. Plus they cannot take something you require for educational needs.
A bailiff is unlikely to take anything away right away – they’d rather you pay the money. Typically, they will provide you a list of items that they will take. A Controlled Goods Agreement is what it’s called, and you can see what one looks like and what it implies here.
If you’ve agreed to payments you can’t afford, or the bailiff has a list of items they can’t take, you’ll need help right away. If required, contact your local Citizens Advice, who can speak with the bailiff.
When collecting a debt, bailiffs are usually authorised to take a car, van, or motorcycle. However, there are certain major exceptions: they are not permitted to drive if:
It is the property of someone else. Or is on vehicle finance – this includes HP, PCP, leasing, or a logbook loan; the vehicle is valued less than £1,350 and is vital for your work or studies and there is no public transportation; or perhaps it is displaying a disabled blue badge; finally, it is also your home, such as a campervan.
If you’re still concerned about what might happen, there are steps you can take to eliminate the possibility of ever seeing a bailiff.
Good persons to talk to for support and information about your unique case are: your local Citizens Advice Bureau – if you can get to them quickly, they are usually the best people to help with bailiff issues. They can negotiate on your behalf with the creditor and the bailiff. If the creditor is your local government, they will be familiar with the procedures.
National Debtline – you can call them or use their web chat (which is typically faster). They are able to respond to questions fast. Contact Business Debtline if you have business debts.
Contact Shelter or Citizens Advice for bailiffs and evictions.