5 Common Bailiff Myths Debunked
Today, one of the main challenges individuals and families are faced with when being threatened with bailiff action is, knowing their rights. It’s important to know what a bailiff/enforcement agent can and can’t do. Over the past few decades, the public perception and image of a bailiff/enforcement agent has turned into a financial nightmare situation, sometimes seen as a powerful individual who can make your life difficult, that is up until you’ve paid the outstanding balance including their fees.
These enforcement agents do hold more power than a debt collector used by a debt collection agency, although they are still required by law to follow a set of rules and regulations. By understanding your rights, and what bailiffs are able and unable to do, you will realise that it is much easier to deal with bailiffs. Considering the above, we’ve listed and debunked 5 common bailiffs myths and misconceptions.
Note: Bailiffs are now commonly referred to enforcement agents, they carry out the same duties.
1 – A bailiff can force entry into my home on the first visit
Enforcement agents do not have the power to force entry into your property unless you invite them in. They are not allowed to push past you or break your doors and windows to gain entry. However, they can enter if you invite them in. If you do invite them in, which we don’t recommend at all, they can force entry on any subsequent visits to your property with a signed ‘control of goods’ agreement. They will need a locksmith present to do so. Ensure your doors and windows are locked and seek expert advice if you’re contacted by an enforcement agent.
2 – There’s no limit to how much fees a bailiff can charge me
Also false – The amount of fees a bailiff/enforcement agent is allowed to charge is statutory regulated by law. Bailiffs can charge a fixed fee for each stage of the collection process (compliance, enforcement, and sale). There is an additional 7.5% fee for debts that are more than £1,500. These fees can only be applied once for each account and each stage of the process.
3 – If I can’t pay my council tax, I’ll receive a prison sentence
The UK Government does not hand out prison sentences to those who are unable to pay their council tax. If you fail to pay council tax, you will receive a court summons and will go through a means assessment to understand your individual circumstances. If you are able to pay and choose to neglect payments, you may then face a prison sentence. It is a completely different situation if you can’t afford to pay council tax to begin with.
4 – If I don’t pay my council tax, it will show on my credit report
Council tax debt will not affect your credit rating. This information is not passed on to a credit reference agency.
5 – It will take me weeks to get an appointment with a money advisor
It can take a matter of minutes. Call Refresh Debt Services on 028 417 54200 today. You will have the opportunity to speak to one of our specialist advisors. We provide impartial advice and guidance on dealing with council tax arrears and bailiff issues. We can also look to help you with any other debts you have. Our team can negotiate a repayment plan that is both affordable and sustainable for you, taking account of your current financial situation.
If you’re facing enforcement action and need bailiff advice, call us today on 0800 121 48 63 or request a call-back by using the contact form on this page.