Unlawful bailiff entry is not uncommon. Thousands of individuals experience this, and some do not know that the bailiff violated their rights. A significant lot of these people do not know how to deal with such a situation. They are uncertain and unconfident about filing a complaint citing mistreatment by the bailiffs. Keep reading to discover what you must know when claiming against bailiffs.
Can bailiffs force entry? A bailiff might be at your door with a warrant, but you retain certain rights to deny them entry into your premises. Furthermore, several reasons justify why a bailiff must not use force to enter someone’s property. If this happens to you, it is best to take the appropriate actions.
But before we discuss the steps to take when bailiffs forcefully enter your home, let’s review ten facts that you might know about bailiffs.
- Bailiffs are court-authorized to recover debts, tasked with recovering goods (assets) that can be sold to settle the debt.
- Debt collectors are not bailiffs; thus, they have no right to seize your property. As such, they are no different from the persons you owe.
- You can refuse a bailiff from entering your property. Ideally, a bailiff must strive for peaceful entry, meaning they cannot break the door but can enter if they find the door open.
- You cannot deny bailiffs to access your home if they make a peaceful entry, and they can return at their convenience to collect debts or goods owed.
- The law does not permit bailiffs to stick at foot at the door or force their way past you when you deny them entry. Use your phone to take a photo of the incident if they do, and remind them you have rights.
- Bailiffs are not allowed to visit between 9 pm, and 6 am. They also cannot visit if you have someone vulnerable (such as a disabled person) or an underage.
- Bailiffs are not permitted to threaten you, use lies or intimidation to enter your home.
- You should be given a chance to settle the debt (at least seven days) before a bailiff is at your door.
- Settling your debts at the earliest opportunity will also see you avoid paying bailiff fees.
What To Do If You Receive A Bailiff Notice:
If you get a bailiff’s notice via post, it is an opportunity to settle what you owe before the bailiffs are at your door. If you cannot pay your dues, it is best to seek immediate advice from a reputable debt counselor like Citizens Advice.
According to the 2007 Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act, paragraph 7, schedule 12:
i). An enforcement agent may not recover goods (debts) unless they notify the debtor.
ii). The regulations should clarify:
– A minimum notice period
– The type of notice to be issued
– What the notice will contain
– Who the recipient is
– Who will issue the notice
iii). The enforcement agent must record the time of handing over the notice
The Steps To Take Before A Bailiff Enters Your Premises
If a bailiff visits your home, it is best to ask for identification before allowing them to enter. The bailiff can show their enforcement agent certificate, badge, or ID card. The bailiff also will issue certain identification documents, which you can ask to be shown the documentation through a window to verify before letting them into your house.
Once you receive a bailiff’s notice, we recommend reviewing it to confirm the following:
- The information in the notice is correct
- The notice was delivered correctly
- That it is the correct document
If the documentation is correct or you do not get any from the bailiff or before they visit your home, it is best to contact the bailiff’s company. They shall reissue the proper notice.
What To Know When Raising A Complaint Against A Bailiff
Enforcement agents must adhere to specific rules regarding how they conduct themselves when collecting debts. You may raise a complaint against an enforcement agent (bailiff) if you feel or have proof that they mistreated you. It is best to note their details (name, badge, or ID) as you take photos or a video of their conduct.
What Types Of Complaints Can I Make About Enforcement Agents?
Enforcement agents are expected to abide by the set rules regarding executing their mandate when appointed by the court to recover debts. Some of the reasons that qualify you to file a claim against bailiffs include:
a). The bailiff did not adhere to the rules about entering your property. They did not deliver a notice before visiting or entering peacefully or without your consent.
b). The enforcement agent took good they were not supposed to and did not inform you about the items they were taking nor left you with base household items.
c). The bailiff took items that were not yours, meaning they did not take the time to check ownership for any goods in your possession before taking them away.
d). The enforcement agent used aggressive tactics that made you feel threatened or harassed.
e). You received misleading information like you risk being arrested if you do not comply and allow them to enter or that they would return with a locksmith to break into your property.