Do bailiffs have any legal powers?

What is a bailiff?

If you owe money to somebody, they may try to collect the debt using a bailiff or debt collector.

When can bailiffs be used?

Bailiffs can be used when you owe debt to a person, (known as the creditor).

The creditor can make a claim to the County Court against you. The County Court can then issue a CCJ (County Court Judgement) detailing that you must repay this debt.

How to avoid being visited by bailiffs

There are ways that you can avoid being visited by bailiffs in the first place. If the debt that you owe is a CCJ (County Court Judgement) and the warrant of execution has been issued then you can fill in form N245 at your local County Court to try and stop the bailiffs visiting your home. Basically on the N245 form you make an offer to repay the debt, for instance in instalments. This needs to be an agreement that you can manage to keep, if accepted this suspends the warrant as long as you keep the payments up-to-date as agreed.

Do bailiffs have any legal powers and what are they?

Firstly, if your home is visited by a bailiff – you do not have to let them in. Once you let them in the first time, they are legally allowed to break in the next time they call.  A bailiff should, by law always give notice of their first visit.

They cannot force their way in on the first visit, but they can enter through an open window or an unlocked door. Forced entry includes:

  • Pushing past you once you have opened the door to them

  • Leaving their foot in the door to prevent you from closing it.

Actions like these would make the whole process illegal.

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