Bailiffs – Your rights
If you’re being threatened with a visit from a bailiff then you ought to know your rights.
A bailiff is an authorised debt collector and their powers are more limited than you may think. They use the misconceptions surrounding them to their advantage.
Most bailiffs do not have the right to force their way into your home, unless they are from the Collector of Taxes and have a warrant to gain entry.
All other bailiffs have the right of peaceful entry only
Peaceful entry limits the bailiff to gaining access if you let them in, or leave a door or window unlocked.
A bailiff may employ a variety of different tactics in order to gain peaceful entry; for instance, they may try to enter as soon as you answer the door, or give an excuse to enter, such as needing to use the telephone to call the office. It is imperative that you do not let a bailiff in unless you want them to seize your goods.
The police will not help a bailiff gain entry, and if they are present, it is only to prevent a breach of the peace. You can not be arrested for refusing entry to a bailiff.
If a bailiff does gain entry into your home then they will try to find any valuable goods and seize them in order to sell them off at a public auction. The money raised here goes towards paying the debt that you owe.
With the clients we deal with, many of them have the threat of bailiffs hanging over them whilst awaiting their court date in order to finalise their bankruptcy. Once bankrupt, your creditors are no longer allowed to pursue you for any money previously owed.