If you’ve fallen behind on your council tax payments or other priority debt, if you do nothing then bailiffs will arrive at your door. It can all happen rather fast and be frightening and worrying if you don’t know what to do.
We look at what to do, and more importantly what not to do when the bailiffs come knocking at the door.
Once a creditor takes you to court and gets a Liability Order, you can expect the bailiffs to follow up with a Compliance Order within a matter of days. This will give you 7 days’ notice of their visits.
Bailiffs are employed by the court to collect the money owed, or seize any goods and valuables that can be sold to settle the debt.
If you’re vulnerable and struggling through this alone, now is a good time to contact us at Aunt Meg to get help before things get even worse.
Things to avoid when the bailiffs call
Don’t invite the bailiffs into your home. They cannot enter without your permission on the first visit, but if you invite them in, they can seize your belongings and return later using reasonable force if necessary.
They need a specific court order allowing them to return and force their way into your home.
Don’t put up any physical resistance when the bailiffs start to seize your goods.
Once a Compliance Notice and/or right of entry has been issued, the law is on their side.
If you try to stop them, you will end up being charged with breach of the peace.
Things you can do when the bailiffs call
Keep all doors and entries locked at all times. This includes patio doors, garage doors, sheds…everything! If the bailiffs try the door handle and it opens, they have the right to walk in and seize your belongings.
Before the bailiffs arrive, make sure everyone in your home knows what’s happening, including children. Try to keep the discussion calm and matter of fact, but make sure everyone knows not to let anyone enter and to keep doors locked at all times.
Check and note the name and contact details of anyone claiming to be a bailiff or enforcement officer. If they offer a business card, keep it for future reference.
Make sure they are calling between 6am and 9pm. Outside those times, bailiffs cannot enter a home.
Let the bailiffs know immediately if there is a vulnerable person in the house. Vulnerable means a single parent, unaccompanied child under 16, the elderly, disabled or seriously ill person. bailiffs cannot force their way into a home in these cases.
If the bailiffs return to seize goods, make sure you have paperwork showing anything that does not belong to you or is on hire purchase, such as a car, TV or appliance.
When you know the bailiffs are likely to call, move your vehicle and park it on private land (but not your driveway).
Most importantly, call Aunt Meg. Once you start getting letters and threats of legal action, we can help negotiate an affordable repayment scheme for you.
Once we have started negotiations, phone calls, demands, interest and court fees will be frozen giving you a chance to put a debt repayment plan in place.
The sooner you contact Aunt Meg, the sooner we can help. Do it now!