Debt Collection & Bailiffs

Debt collection is one of the serious results of unpaid debt. No one likes undergoing debt collection, it is an unpleasant process. Creditors may feel that they have no recourse but to resort to bailiffs or debt collectors in order to reclaim outstanding money. Knowing the processes and legality when a debt collector visits can help you deal with the situation.

When will the debt collectors be brought in?

The use of debt collectors will depend on the creditor. Creditors may need a County Court Judgement (CCJ) in which they ask for a 'warrant of execution.' In this instance, bailiffs can be called in to help recover the debt.

Are debt collectors the same as bailiffs?

Debt collection depends on the agency or nature of the debt collector. Debt collectors are different from bailiffs, and do not have the same power. Legally, debt collectors cannot enter your house or seize your possessions.

Are there guidelines for debt collection?

All debt collectors and creditors acting to collect debt are legally bound to act within the boundaries of Office of Fair Trading debt collection guidelines. This includes guidelines on how debt collectors should behave. If a debt collector acts outside of these guidelines, for instance by being threatening, either contact the trading standards department of your council, or phone the police.

What if bailiffs are collecting my debt?

When a County Court Judegement is issued and a warrant of execution served, it may be possible to make an offer to repay your debt and prevent bailiffs from coming to your home. The court may then suspend the warrant providing the debtor keeps up with monthly repayments.

Can a bailiff break into my house?

County Court Bailiffs are not legally allowed to enter your home without your permission. However, they are allowed to enter through open windows or unlocked doors. They are not allowed to push past you or prevent you from closing the door. However, bailiffs acting on behalf of HMRC may break into your home if they have a warrant from a magistrate. Bailiffs acting to reclaim rent or mortgage payments may also be able to break into your house.

Can I negotiate with bailiffs?

In some instances it can be possible to negotiate with bailiffs to pay some or all of your debt. In this instance, bailiffs may leave without taking anything. However, debtors need to be careful to only make an agreement if they can stick to it. Furthermore, the bailiff's fee is likely to be added to the existing debt.

Can a bailiff take anything?

Fortunately, bailiffs are not legally permitted to take everything. For instance, they cannot take bedding, clothing, furniture and essential tools that you need to work. However, any non-essential items may be taken, including your car.