The word “Bailiff” strikes fear into the heart of almost everyone. A visit from the bailiffs is something you definitely want to avoid.
We explain what a bailiff is, how they operate, and how you can stop them in the tracks (with Aunt Meg’s help of course!).
Who or what is a Bailiff?
A Bailiff is a person who has the legal power to collect or recover money owed on behalf of their client. They can be instructed to do so by a private firm, or more usually directly by the court.
Also known as Enforcement Officers, Bailiffs are generally used when someone refuses, or is unable, to settle an outstanding debt.
This may be for council tax, utility bills, parking penalties, rent, income tax, unsecured loans, child support…the list goes on and on.
Bailiffs have to be specially trained and they must comply with strict regulations. Although their job is to seize your assets and sell them, they can only do so within the law.
What do Bailiffs do?
Bailiffs have the power to seize your valuables and sell them to repay what you owe. However, they must serve you with a Compliance Notice, which is basically 7 days’ notice of their impending visit.
Bailiffs can confiscate and sell anything of value, excluding essential goods. They can take your car from outside your home (although not if it is parked on private land belonging to someone else).
They can take computers, jewellery, cash of course, TVs, gaming consoles and other goods.
However, they cannot seize goods belonging to someone else (including a hire purchase company) so have documents on hand proving this, if necessary.
They also cannot take necessities such as major kitchen appliances, basic furniture, children’s toys and anything required for your work or study (including tools or a laptop).
How to deal with letters from a Bailiff
If you receive a Compliance Notice, you need to get help immediately. Aunt Meg has a team of specialists who are trained and can advise you on how to prevent the Bailiffs from calling.
This involves negotiating with your creditors and finding an affordable and acceptable way to repay what you owe. It can be over the next 60 months, in the case of an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), or immediately if you have the means to release capital from your home, for example, and make a one-off payment.
If you do not deal with the Bailiffs at this stage, your debt will be even bigger as Bailiffs are entitled to add their own charges to the outstanding debt. It can run into hundreds of pounds.
How to deal with a visit from the Bailiffs
When the Bailiffs come knocking, it is very important that you know your rights.
On the first visit, Bailiffs must not be invited into the home, even for a chat. Keep them outside, accept any paperwork they give you, and find out what they intend to do.
Keep all doors locked at all times. If the bailiffs try the door and it is unlocked, they are legally allowed to enter your home and take your belongings.
Make sure your children also know to keep doors firmly locked and never to allow anyone in.
It’s far easier to contact Aunt Meg before the Bailiffs arrive on the doorstep.
We can help you work out an affordable repayment plan and avoid unnecessary interest and court fees.
Contact us as soon as you have a debt and prevent the unpleasantness that a bailiff’s visit would cause you and your family. Call us now!