If you have had threats from bailiffs, it can be stressful and worrying. However, it is important to make sure you do not panic, as there are options available to you, and one avenue you may want to consider is taking out an IVA.
What sort of debts do bailiffs collect?
There are a number of different types of debts that bailiffs may collate, including VAT, income tax, CCJs, child support payments, court fines, and council tax. You should not confuse bailiffs with debt collectors. A bailiff is only going to attend your home or contact you if a court process has happened and they have been authorised to act.
Will an IVA stop the bailiffs?
Yes, getting an IVA can help to prevent any actions from bailiffs, as well as being chased by creditors and court action. This action will typically stop once your IVA has been approved. Once this has happened, your Insolvency Practitioner (“IP”) will get in touch with the creditor and the bailiff acting for them to let them know that an IVA has been agreed. Alternatively, should a bailiff continue to contact you, you can supply them with a copy of the IVA proposal and Chair’s report from the decision procedure, so that you can tell them to place a hold on any impending action.
Before you engage with bailiffs, get proof of who they are
You should not simply hand over a copy of your IVA to a bailiff if they land at your front door and claim to be a bailiff. You need to get proof of who they are and the reason why they are visiting your home. If this person says that they are a debt collector, you can simply tell them to leave your home. A debt collector is not the same as a bailiff. They do not have the same powers. If you ask them to leave, they have to do so.
If the person says that they are an enforcement agent or a bailiff, you should ask them to show you their enforcement agent certificate, ID card, or badge. Every registered bailiff will need to have proof of who they are. They also need to inform you of the business they have come from and they must provide you with a telephone number for the head office.
Ask them to either pass the documents through your letterbox or to show you them via your window. When looking at their proof of identity, it should show the sort of bailiff they are, as well as having their name printed on it.
In order to determine whether or not the bailiff is who they claim to be, you can check the directory if they say they are a high court enforcement officer. If they say that they are a certified enforcement agent, you should check the certificated bailiffs register. Finally, if they say that they are a civilian enforcement officer, family court bailiff, or a county bailiff, you should contact the court that got in touch with them.
If the person is not able to supply evidence of their ID and who they are, you can tell them that they must leave. If they refuse to leave, say that you will report them to the police. If they still refuse to leave, call 999.
What bailiffs can and can’t do
Before bailiffs attend your property, a Notice of Enforcement will have been sent to you. If you receive one, make sure you check it first to ensure that it is valid. You need to ensure that your name, the debt you owe, and your address are displayed correctly. Make sure that the bailiff is registered and that the person is not simply a debt collector.
Typically, if your doors are locked, bailiffs are not allowed to enter, unless you have invited them inside. However, if your garage or doors are unlocked, they are allowed to access your property, so do keep this in mind. They cannot enter your property via your windows, nor can they climb fences or walls either. If there is only a vulnerable person or child present in your property at the time, they are not able to enter your home, nor can they force themselves past you to get into your property either.
Once bailiffs are inside of your property, they can seize luxury items, such as a car, bike, or television. However, they are not able to take essential items.