Following on from my previous post in the Money Hacks series (when you need help with debt management) I thought I would talk a little bit about what to do if things go a step further and you end up with people knocking at your door. This is something I had no knowledge on, so was very interesting reading when I started to look into it.
So what are bailiffs?
There are two different people that are mistaken for bailiffs, debt collectors and actual bailiffs, debt collectors are sometimes called this because the reason they are knocking on the door is very similar. They are both looking to repay money owed to a company. Debt collectors have less power than actual bailiffs, for example –
Debt collectors cannot:
- Enter your home
- Make a record of your belongings for the purposes of determining a value
- Force you to pay them there and then
- Pressure you to pay
They are described by the Debt Advisory Service as an “in person” version of the letters you would receive requesting immediate payment of unpaid debts.
Bailiffs, however, can enter your home but by law, need to give you 7 days notice that they will be coming to see you. They cannot force entry or break in.
What can bailiffs do?
Along with being able to enter your home, bailiffs can:
- Seize belongings that are non-essential (such as TVs, jewellery, cars, games consoles or collectibles)
- Collect goods that are subject to unpaid finance
- Evict a tenant
- Repossess a home
- Enforce an arrest warrant
They cannot remove white goods, phones and any computers used for studying.
If you don’t want a bailiff to attend your home, you can keep a chain on the door and speak to them from a window, however, it is better if you are cooperative and work with them rather than against them. They will always return at a later date if you don’t answer the door, and if you are persistently not complying they can get an order to forcibly enter your home.
It is most peoples worst nightmare to get that letter and a knock on the door. No one wishes to be in a position where their belongings are taken, so it’s really important to not stick your head in the sand. If you need support, remember you can always talk to the Citizens Advice for advice and keep in communication with your lenders. Transparency is key with debt, and the more you work with the companies the less likely it will resort to a bailiff knocking on your door.
*This is a collaborative post
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