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Complain to a Council About their Bailiffs – Letter Template

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.


If you have made a complaint to a bailiff company working on behalf of your council, but are not happy with their response, you can then send your bailiff complaint to the council with this letter template. 

We have created letter templates for singles and couples with council debts – most often due to council tax arrears – that have faced council bailiffs. If you believe the bailiff company used by the council acted wrongfully, download our letter template for free, fill in some personal details and make your complaint effectively. 

Only use this letter after complaining directly to the bailiff company. You can find a separate letter template for those bailiff complaints here. 

Letter Template

To Whom It May Concern

Regarding Case #: [your case number]* (required)

I am writing to you to complain about the actions taken by the bailiffs who are collecting [enter the type of debt]* (required) of £[amount]* (required) on your behalf.

[explain the details of your complaint. set out the facts clearly and put things in date order if possible. say what you are not happy with and what you want the bailiff company and the council to do about it. if you are complaining about the fees the bailiffs have charged you, set out what fees have been charged and say why you think they are wrong. include a copy of any paperwork that you feel supports your complaint.]*. (required)

If you fail to resolve my complaint to my satisfaction, I will have no alternative but to take my complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Downloadable Resource

The download links below take you to a Google document template where you can make a copy or save in any document format you like. Note, you may have to login to your Google account.

Download – Single (for one person)
Download – Joint (for couples)

Can the council send bailiffs?

If you have failed to agree a repayment plan with your local council for debts, they can apply to the courts to use a bailiff to recover the payment. The bailiff they use does not work for the council directly, but rather, they are employed by the council for this purpose. It is common for councils to use a select number of bailiff companies or one specific company for all their debt collection needs.

Sometimes the council will not need to use a bailiff to recover the debt. Courts can take money from some benefit payments and hand it over to the council as a workaround for having to use bailiffs. 

Can bailiffs force entry for council tax debt?

Bailiffs can use reasonable force to enter a property and repossess items. They can never physically harm you to do this. However, when it comes to council tax debts, parking fines and catalogue debts, they are not allowed to force entry.

If your bailiff forced entry when visiting you to recover council tax debt, this would be a good reason to download our letter template for free and make a complaint. 

What can a bailiff legally do?

Bailiffs can legally take items that belong to the person or persons with the debt. For example, they could repossess a TV or vehicle if the vehicle is owned by the person or people in debt. This would be sold at an auction and the funds raised will go towards paying the debt.

Instead, you can agree to repay the debt in full, or agree on a repayment plan with an initial lump sum of significant value. Bailiffs do not have to accept a payment plan.

Bailiffs cannot take items that you need for employment, such as worker’s tools and machinery. They also cannot take consumables. 

What if you don’t get the response you hope for?

As stated in our free letter template, you should escalate the complaint to your local MP and the Social Care Ombudsman if you don’t get the response you hope for. Hopefully, your complaint will be taken seriously by the council and investigated, but if not, rest assured there are more people who will listen. 


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