Your Bailiff Questions Answered
If a creditor is owed money they can hire a certificated bailiff who is authorised to collect the debt on their behalf.
A court bailiff delivers legal paperwork to debtors on behalf of the creditor.
A certificated bailiff or private bailiff attempts to get the debt paid by negotiation but if this is not possible they can remove your goods up to the value of the debt owed. Certificated bailiffs have supplied references and personal information to the court and the court has deemed them fit to become certificated.
Certificated bailiffs are used to collect various types of debt, for example, county court judgements, unpaid council tax, magistrate court fines, outstanding rent etc.
Different bailiffs have different powers but all bailiffs have to adhere to rules and regulations. A bailiff who is not certified cannot levy on goods or remove your possessions.
The types of Bailiff Authority are as follows:
- Distress warrant or liability order – this is usually issued by a Magistrate’s Court to collect unpaid council tax, maintenance, compensation or unpaid fines.
- Warrant of execution – This is issued if money is being recovered under a county court judgement.
All bailiffs carry identification and if requested this must be shown . A certificated bailiff must show his Bailiff’s General Certificate, it is not acceptable to just show their ID card.
Certificated bailiffs who are collecting rent arrears are obliged to call between sunrise and sunset. However all other certificated bailiffs should call at a reasonable time, a reasonable time is considered between the hours of 6am – 9pm.
Bailiffs should not attend your property on a Sunday or bank holiday unless given permission by the Court.
The Police cannot assist the bailiff in any way to gain entry into your home, if the bailiff calls the police it is merely to prevent a breach of the peace, likewise you can call the police if you feel intimidated by them.
Never allow the certificated bailiff entry into your home and never sign any paperwork, speak to them through the letterbox. Ensure all windows are closed and doors locked.
You can negotiate an affordable monthly payment with the bailiff, but on many occasions they do not accept a payment which you can afford.
If the bailiff is from the county court you can apply to the court to have the warrant suspended. Action Credit Management can assist you with this, one of our experienced case workers is waiting to take your call on 03000 111 777
Once a certificated bailiff has gained peaceful entry into your home he will make a levy on your goods, this is a walking possession agreement which you will be asked to sign. The goods which have been levied would legally belong to the bailiff, but they would remain in your home for your use providing you maintain the payment arrangement.
Once the bailiff has gained peaceful entry into your property and has a walking possession agreement in place if the agreed payments are not maintained and you refuse him entry on his next visit he can break into your property to seize the goods.
A certificated bailiff cannot take protected items such as:
- Bedding, clothing, fridges, cookers and any household item which is required for basic needs for yourself and your family.
- Tools, vehicles and items which you require in order to continue with your employment, business or vocation.
- Items such as television, DVD player, stereo etc. which are attached to the wall.
- Children’s clothes and toys but they can take children’s bikes.
If a bailiff has acted in an unprofessional manner or has acted illegally, firstly complain to the creditor who instructed the bailiff which could be your Local Authority or the County Court.
If the bailiff is employed by a private company it is important a complaint is sent to the company. The majority of bailiffs also belong to a trade association which have a complaints and grievance procedure you can use.
One association is listed below:
Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA)
513 Bradford Road
You also have the option of taking the bailiff to court. You may be able to apply for the bailiff’s certificate to be taken away if the certificated bailiff took more goods than was necessary to pay the debt or if the correct procedure was not followed.
If your goods were sold at less than the second hand value or the goods were damaged it would be considered as negligence.
Mrs V Vargus - Bath
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