If you have built up debt over the years then you are likely to feel anxious about making payments on time. The main reason for this is that you will know if you fall behind on your payments then the bailiffs or debt collection companies may become involved.
These companies are organised by a creditor in order to recover debt from you. They seem to have a negative reputation, and seeing as they are often involved as a money recovery tool, this is understandable.
If you are struggling to make repayments the you may also want to consider an IVA or a Trust Deed if you live in Scotland. This article provides some great advice “How To Help Yourself If You Cant Afford To Pay The Bills.
Worried that a bailiff or debt collector may become involved in your debt? Want to know more about your rights and the process to expect? Here is our helpful guide to understand more about what they may mean for you.
When may a bailiff come to your home?
There is a big difference between debt collectors and bailiffs. Debt collectors are sent to your home in order to enquire about your payment plans for a source of debt, however you do not have to let them into the property, and they are unable to take anything from your home.
A bailiff on the other hand is employed by the court as a form of debt collection. They are often involved in cases such as county court judgments, child maintenance arrears, unpaid tax or parking fines. A bailiff will visit your home only when you have received a final demand from the creditor in question, and you have been given a 7 day notice that they will be coming.
Do you have to let them in?
This is a common question that is asked regarding bailiffs. The answer is that you don’t have to let them into your property, however, you should be prepared for them to use forceful entry in some circumstances.
Forceful entry does not mean that they can push past you, or break your windows in order to get into your home. But they can break a door lock or remove a gate lock if they have been given the right of entry.
A bailiff is restricted on the time that they can gain access to your property, and they are only allowed to use regular entrances, which means that they cannot get in through open windows.
There is a bailiff on my doorstep, what can I do?
The first thing that you should make sure you do is ascertain whether they are indeed bailiffs or if they are debt collectors. This can be done by asking for their ID and proof of authorisation. You will also need to have had notice that they would be coming to the property.
It may be advisable not to open the door to them until you are definitely sure of their identity. If you need to open the door in order to speak to them or see their ID, then you should try to block their entrance as much as you can. Although, this may cause some tension in the situation, so always be respectful in what you are saying and the way that you are presenting yourself.
Bailiffs want to recover the money that is owed, and removal or property is always a last resort, therefore if you can work out a payment plan with them, then this is always going to be the preferred choice. Often, they will require a payment there and then. If you can do this then you should always make sure that they give you a receipt to prove that you made the payment, the rest of the money will then be paid directly to the creditor, and you will need to cover any charges made by the bailiff for their services.
If you cannot make a payment or agree on a payment plan, then the bailiffs are able to take your belongings. They can only take belongings that are owned by you and you need to be able to prove that they don’t belong to you rather than the other way round. They are not allowed to take items that you will need such as your white goods, clothes or any equipment that is related to your work.
Is there any way I can stop them from coming to my house?
As we have said, when a bailiff is coming to your property you will receive 7 days notice. It is important that you do not ignore this notice. The majority of creditors will want to resolve the issue as easily as quickly as possible, which means that you should speak to them about arranging a payment plan.
Explain your situation and come to an agreement on what you will be able to pay on a regular basis, this is the simplest way to prevent a visit from any bailiffs. However, you should remember that if you fall behind with any payments then you may find yourself expecting a visit from them again.
Finding out that the bailiffs are coming to your property can be worrying, but you need to remember that there are still things you can do in order to stop the process and ensure that you don’t have to lose your property. You won’t be able to bury your head in the sand and ignore the issue, but you can work with the creditor to come up with a solution that not only works for them, but is something that you can maintain for however long you need to keep up the payments.