Back Back

What Powers Do Bailiffs Have?

If you are unable to pay your debts, whether that’s council tax or other priority bills, parking fines, court fines, county court judgements or something else, it’s possible that a bailiff (also known as an enforcement agent) will visit your home in order to collect the debt.

It is important that you do not ignore any letters saying that bailiffs will be used and you will typically be given at least seven days’ notice of the first visit from an enforcement agent.

It is possible to stop a bailiff visit by paying the money that is owed, which is why it’s important to talk to your creditors about how to settle your debts as soon as you can. 

If you have a debt that you’re unable to pay, you may get a county court judgement (1) against you, which means that a court has formally decided you owe the money, which means you’ll need to pay it back. If you can’t afford to, you are able to change the terms of the judgement and/or pay it back in instalments.

Should a bailiff knock on the door, it’s important to know what your rights are. You usually do not have to open the door or let them in and they are unable to enter your home by force (such as by pushing past you). They are also unable to enter if the only people in the house are children under the age of 16 or vulnerable people (such as those with disabilities).

Note, however, that if you don’t let enforcement agents in or agree to pay them, they may take items from outside your home, such as your car. You may also find that you end up owing even more money than before, as a result.

Before you decide to let an enforcement agent in, ask to see some proof of identification, as well as finding out which company they’re from. Also ask for a detailed breakdown of how much money is actually owed.

If you are able to pay your debts, you can do this from the doorstep of your home. You do not have to let them into the property. It is advisable to get a receipt so you can provide proof that you’ve paid the amount.

If you are unable to pay everything back immediately, talk to the enforcement agent about how the debt could be settled, such as by offering to pay in weekly or monthly instalments.

Letting bailiffs into your home may mean they take some of your possessions in order to meet the debts. This can include luxury items like games consoles, TVs and so on, although they are unable to take necessary items like clothes and appliances like your fridge or cooker.

Do you need bailiff debt help right now because of the cost of living crisis? Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.



Money Helper has replaced the Money Advice Service and brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.