Bailiffs: ten things you need to know

posted by in Living with debt

Update: since this article was written there’s been a major change in bailiff law.

When you’ve got debt problems you live in fear of a visit from a bailiff (sometimes referred to as “enforcement agents”). But there is no need to be worried. 

What is a bailiff?

A bailiff is an agent that works on behalf of a court in order to seize goods or talk directly with the person in debt to come to an arrangement.

A debt collector tries to collect debt for a creditor before the debt goes to court. A debt collector is not a bailiff and they do not have the same powers. Watch Terry’s other new video, explaining the differences between debt collectors and bailiffs.

When can a bailiff visit?

When a debt goes unpaid for a long time, or attempts to work things out fail, the courts can be consulted as a last resort. The type of court that gets involved depends on the type of debt that’s owed. For example, a credit card debt would go to County Court, while an unpaid parking fine would go to Magistrates’ Court.

If you ignore the paperwork sent by the court or you don’t send it back in time, it’s possible that a bailiff can be instructed to visit you at your property.

Watch our bailiffs video now to find out all you need to know.

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Rachel Connor has been with the charity for over 8 years, starting in Helpline before joining the MoneyAware team in 2012. Rach enjoys travelling, video games, watching anime, reading and creative writing in her spare time (currently writing a Young Adult fantasy series). She had a previous life as head writer on Cartoon Network's Ed Edd n Eddy and as a copywriter for LivingSocial. She's also written comics and graphic novels for the animated series Regular Show.

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