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 0800 121 48 63 or complete the online form on this page to request a call-back 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 0800 121 48 63 or request a call-back by completing the form on this page.
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.
In addition to the new fee structure, there are a number of other stricter rules that now also apply. All enforcement agents must complete mandatory training, only visit someone’s property between 6am and 9pm, and not attend when children or vulnerable adults are the only people in the property. One of the biggest changes to take place applies to how much notice must be given. Individuals must be given seven days’ notice before an enforcement agent can visit the home, this will help reduce some worry for families struggling with council tax debt. If you do receive notification that a bailiff will be visiting your home, contact Refresh Debt Services today, our mediation team will be able to negotiate an affordable and sustainable repayment plan for you. Speak to an advisor today on 0800 121 48 63 or request a call-back by completing the form to the right.
If you would like additional information about the fees and charges that apply, contact us today for advice and guidance.
What goods are bailiff/enforcement agents unable to take?
There are some items that bailiffs are unable to take. They are only able to seize items that now belong to the debtor, and these goods must not be essential for everyday living and/or work. Items that they’re unable to take can include:
• Goods on finance
• Items that are owned by a third party
• Home fixtures and fittings
• Bedding and essential household appliances (dishwasher, fridge, washing machine)
• Items required for work
• Children’s belongings (toys)
If any items do belong to a third party, you will be required to provide evidence of this. Even though there are restrictions on what goods bailiffs are able to take from your property to be sold, no matter what the impact, it can still be a very difficult situation to be in for most. If you would like further advice on how to avoid this, additional advice is available from Refresh Debt Services. We provide impartial advice and will find a solution that meets your needs. Speak to an advisor today on 0800 121 48 63 or complete the form to the right to request a call-back.
If you decide to pay the amount owed in full before or at the stage an enforcement agent visits your property, it will be unnecessary for goods to be taken if any outstanding balance has been cleared. If the items do not cover the debt, bailiffs can return at a later date. Once the enforcement notice has been given to take control of your goods, they have 12 months to do so. Remember, they should only take enough to cover the outstanding balance, and nothing more. If a bailiff has previously entered your home and you have hidden any listed goods or have moved them to another location, this may be classed as an offence.
Apply now by calling 0800 121 48 63 or complete our contact form on the right.
How do I stop bailiffs from visiting my home?
Ideally, you should attempt to arrange a repayment plan for any outstanding debt before any bailiff action takes place. If an enforcement agent has not yet visited or listed any of your items, you may be able to rearrange a payment plan directly with the council you owe money to.
Need help with this? Refresh Debt Services can mediate and negotiate an affordable and sustainable repayment plan for you, we can take additional steps for those on a low income or classed as vulnerable. Completing a quick income and expenditure sheet will help you identify what is affordable. If you do decide to arrange a repayment plan with a bailiff, remember to ask for a receipt for each payment you make.
If an enforcement agency is unable to collect any debt from you, the debt will then be passed back to the council. They will write to you to inform you that they are now taking committal action to recover this debt. If you’re unable to make payment in full, contact Refresh Debt Services for help with arranging an affordable repayment plan. If you decide to ignore these letters from the council, they may issue you with a committal summons, also adding further costs to your debt.
If your council tax debt has been passed back, contact your local council immediately to confirm any repayments you have been making, if they continue to refuse your offer, you will be required to attend a committal summons hearing. If this happens, remember to take evidence of any correspondence you’ve had with the council, bailiffs, and proof of payments you have previously made with you to the hearing.
Comprehensive advice and guidance is available from Refresh Debt Services. If you need help with bailiff action and/or council tax debt, call us today on 0800 121 48 63
Enforcement agents have to follow set rules and procedures, if you believe that a bailiff has acted or behaved incorrectly at any stage throughout the process, you should contact the enforcement agency they work for directly via telephone and email. We also recommend contacting the council who use the services of that agency too. Remember to include specific dates and times of these events, and ensure you keep your own copy of any correspondence for your own reference.
If you are experiencing bailiff and council tax debt issues, contact us today. If you don’t equip yourself with the right knowledge and take incorrect action, subsequently, the situation can escalate very quickly. If an enforcement agent visits your home, fees can add up and it can be difficult to come to a suitable arrangement to clear any outstanding balance(s).
Need more advice?
Speak to one of our expert advisors for further advice and guidance, we can negotiate an affordable and sustainable repayment plan for you.
Call now on 0800 121 48 63 or use the contact form on this page to request a call-back from one of our specialist advisors.