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What are Bailiffs and what Powers do they Have?

If you have received a warning that bailiffs may be visiting your property, it can be a frightening, worrying and daunting experience when you’re faced with this prospect on top of the stress of debts and council tax arrears. It can be particularly worrying if you aren’t familiar with the process. This is why we are dedicated to providing helpful information and advice on bailiffs. If you have received a warning that a bailiff may be visiting your home, you may want to know what powers they will have once they arrive.

Put simply, a bailiff is someone who is responsible for taking belongings from people who owe money, and these items are sold in order to pay back the debts. This can be a particularly stressful time, so it is important to understand where you stand if a bailiff comes knocking at your door. If you have arrears on your council tax, your local council may authorise a bailiff to take your belongings once a liability order has been given.

In the majority of cases you are not obliged to open your front door to a bailiff or let them into your home. In fact, we advise that you never let a bailiff into your home and first seek advice from us. It’s important to remember that bailiffs aren’t allowed to force their way into your home if you owe money on your council tax (they are sometimes allowed to force entry if they need to collect unpaid criminal fines) and shouldn’t push past you to gain access to your home or put their foot in the door, for example.

If you let a bailiff into your home, the bailiff may take some of your belongings in order to pay your debt. In this case, bailiffs are allowed to take luxury items such as TVs or stereos, but cannot take vital items such as clothes, furniture or fridges. They also can’t take items that belong to someone else, such as your partner.

It’s important to remember that bailiffs do not have the same powers as police – bailiffs cannot threaten you with arrest or prison – and they can’t request the police’s assistance if you deny them access to your home.

Facing bailiff action can be a worrying experience, but with valuable advice from us we can find a successful resolution to your worries, whether we mediate between you, the bailiff, and your council on your behalf, or offer helpful advice on how to deal with bailiffs.

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