When you receive a visit from a bailiff, it is vitally important that you know your rights and, more importantly, know what they can and cannot do. At present, bailiffs also have to observe some additional rules, due to Covid-19, and some of these can be beneficial to you. Here’s the key points you need to be aware of:
What bailiffs can and cannot take from your home
If you let a bailiff into your home, they may take luxury items to sell (such as a TV or games console).
However, a bailiff cannot take everyday essentials such as clothing and cooking equipment, and cannot take any work tools (such as work computers and tools), that together are worth less than £1350. Bailiffs also cannot take possession of goods that do not belong to you.
Outside your home
Whilst bailiffs generally cannot enter your home without your consent, they can freely enter your land and remove any goods (such as vehicles) which belong to you.
Scotland’s equivalent sheriff officers are only carrying out urgent enforcement tasks at present, which do not include debt collection.
The golden rule is when a bailiff comes knocking ‘Do not open the door’. Instead, speak to them through the letterbox and try to reach an agreement to pay over time. Also, ask the bailiff to show you: i) identification; and ii) court papers proving that they are authorised to attend your property.
If you believe that the bailiff is breaking any of the rules, contact the organisation that sent them (i.e. the local authority) and report them, clearly explaining what you think they have done wrong.
Remember, bailiffs must abide by a strict set of rules, must act professionally at all times, and must not bully or intimidate you.
You can see more advice from Dean on www.theconsumerlawyer.blog. If you want to ask Dean a consumer law question, you can call him Friday evenings (9-10pm) on LBC Radio – 0345 60 60 973