All you need to know . . .
How Do I Stop Bailiff Action?
Bailiffs (also referred to as enforcement agents) may be authorised by local councils to visit your property to recover any outstanding debt. They are often used when individuals fail to pay their council tax payments on time. In most cases, the general public is unsure about their rights and what bailiffs can and can’t do. Here at Refresh Debt Services, we provide expert advice and guidance to help individuals and families deal with all council tax and enforcement related matters. Let’s take a look at what these enforcement agents can and can’t do.
Is it okay to let a bailiff/enforcement agent inside my home?
If a bailiff visits your property, it isn’t recommended to allow them entry. In most cases, they do not have the power they say they do, it is important to know your rights. Unfortunately, they are not regulated on what they say but only on what they do. They can sometimes give you misleading information which is used as a scare tactic. it is important to remember that they’re unable to force entry into your home. If you invite them in, they can enter, this is not recommended. If you let them inside, they may list your possessions to claim as a way to offset any outstanding debt owed.
If you need help stopping Bailiff enforcement action and are looking to set up an affordable, sustainable repayment plan, the experts at Refresh Debt Services will be happy to offer you FREE advice and can often even mediate on your behalf.
Call 02841 54200 or complete the online form on this page for expert help and advice.
What if a bailiff/enforcement agent has already entered my property?
If you have previously allowed a bailiff to enter your property, this is classed as ‘peaceful entry’. This means that they are now permitted to enter at any point later on with a locksmith. If you do not want them to enter your home, think about the above before you open your door. With this in mind, remember that bailiffs are still able to seize goods that are outside your property e.g. your vehicle.
What if a bailiff/enforcement agent calls me?
You do not have to open your door to any bailiffs/enforcement agents. You can communicate with them with the chain on the door, or through a letterbox or window. Remember to prioritise protecting yourself before you consider any requests from these agents. It’s a good idea to speak to one of our specialist advisors if you’re unsure about any situation. We understand what rules and regulations apply and can help you determine what steps to take to resolve the situation. Call us today on 028 417 54200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
At what stage can bailiffs/enforcement agents force entry?
Bailiffs are not actually allowed to force entry into your home in most cases, but in some scenarios, a ‘reasonable force’ rule may apply. If they have been granted a court order or have previously been allowed peaceful entry by you, the above rule can apply in this situation. However, this does not mean they can push past you or break your doors and windows.
Additional advice on Bailiffs
You may be confused about the difference between a bailiff and an enforcement agent, generally speaking, they are actually the same and carry out the same role. Recent changes have meant that they have been renamed as ‘enforcement agents’ and have received a more efficient and organised set of regulations to follow. The changes do not limit them on what they’re able and unable to do in regards to visiting your home. Instead, they are able to apply new fees at each different stage of the process.
Note: Bailiffs and Enforcement Agents are essentially the same and carry out the same duties.
In the past, when bailiffs took items from your property, they had the ability to apply a ‘levy charge’ as well as a ‘walking possession agreement’, which is required to be signed by an individual before they get the go ahead to rent a van, drive to your property and also charge you for doing so. Many considered the old fee structure to be very confusing, leading them to seek professional advice from Refresh Debt Services just for a breakdown and further clarification.
Fortunately, new guidelines have made the process much easier to understand.
Bailiff Enforcement Agent Fee Structure
Compliance Stage – You will be charged £75 once your case has been passed from a local authority (council) to a bailiff or enforcement agent.
Enforcement Stage – You will be charged £235 when a bailiff/enforcement agent visits your property, including an additional 7.5% for debts over £1,500.
Sale Stage – You will be charged £110 when an enforcement agent begins to remove goods from your property or prepares them for sale, including an additional 7.5% for debts over £1,500.
Apply now by calling 028417 542 00 or use the online contact form on the right.
How much will I have to pay for a DMP?
DMPs are set up by private licensed debt management companies and each individual company may charge a different set-up fee, but there are many reputable companies that do not charge any initial set-up fee. You will have to pay a fixed monthly handling fee payable to the company managing the DMP for you. The fee covers the day-to-day management, dealing with correspondence, distribution of your payments to your creditors and undertaking regular reviews of your financial situation. This fee could be a fixed monthly payment or a percentage of your disposable monthly income, whichever is the lowest.
The amount you pay back each month is usually calculated on the difference between the money you have coming in each month and your basic living costs. This amount is called disposable income, and it is the amount you will be expected to pay each month. If there is any change in your disposable income, whether it is due to a pay rise, or a job loss, this will be reviewed with your DMP manager and you can change the amount you are paying back.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and can no longer afford the repayments you can contact your debt manager who may be able to find a solution and revise the plan.
Should you come into some money, you may wish to pay off the debt in full and stop the DMP, or you could cancel the plan and return to your normal monthly payments to your creditors.
Who is eligible for a DMP?
In order to qualify for a DMP you need to fulfil certain criteria:
- You must be in debt to at least two different creditors.
- The debt must be more than £2,500 in unsecured loans.
- Your disposable monthly income must be at least £80 and your contractual payment must be higher than your disposable monthly income.
Even if you have a bad credit rating you should be allowed to have a DMP, as long as you fit the profile above.
If you fall into these categories it may be that a DMP is the right debt repayment solution for you. To find out more about setting up a DMP give Refresh a call on 028417 542 00 or fill in the online form on this page.
What type of debt can be covered by a DMP?
DMPs can only be used to pay off non-priority unsecured debts such as personal loans, credit cards, catalogue accounts and store cards. You cannot use a DMP for a secured loan such as a mortgage.
Is my home at risk if I take out a DMP?
A DMP is an alternative to bankruptcy and it is not a legally binding document, so your home and property will not be at risk if you continue to make the payments agreed in the DMP.
Need more advice?
If after reading this you think that a DMP would be the right sort of debt repayment plan for you, get in contact with Refresh Debt Services to discuss the pros and cons of using a debt management plan to get out of debt.
Call now on 028417 542 00 or use the contact form on this page.