Can Bailiffs force entry with a Locksmith? 2022
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Can bailiffs force entry with a locksmith? No, bailiffs cannot force entry with a locksmith without a warrant that permits them to do so. You can check to see if a bailiff has the enforcement power allowing them to use a locksmith by asking to see the writ issued from the court or a warrant. Check this documentation to ensure it’s correct, signed and dated.
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When Can a Bailiff Use a Locksmith to Force Entry?
A bailiff will need to have a warrant or writ from court to gain access to your home using a locksmith. A bailiff can only use a locksmith if they are collecting for:
- Tax debts on behalf of the HMRC
- Magistrates court fines
What Debts Can’t Bailiffs Force Entry For?
Bailiffs can’t force entry for the following debts:
- Council tax
- Catalogue debts
- Credit cards
- Parking tickets
- Energy debts
- Phone debts
Bailiffs cannot force entry to your home if the debt doesn’t belong to you. You will have to prove the debt isn’t yours and contact the bailiff company directly.
Can Bailiffs Break Down My Door?
Bailiffs can’t break your door down to gain entry to your home. They can use reasonable force if they have the writ or warrant as mentioned above. Reasonable force means getting a locksmith to come and open your door. They cannot smash their way in or break a window.
Do I Have to Let a Bailiff In?
You don’t have to let a bailiff in. When visited by a bailiff you should ask for proof of ID. Ask them for the following information
- ID badge or enforcement agent certificate
- The contact information for the company they’re from
- The breakdown of the debt they’re collecting for
Don’t open the door when requesting this information. Keep all doors and windows locked. Ask them to post the information through the letterbox or hold up the documentation at a closed window. You can use the information provided to contact the company and verify the ID of the bailiff. Further checks can be made to conform to the authority of the bailiff. To do this you can
- Check the register of certificated bailiffs for certified enforcement agents
- Contact the court that instructed the bailiffs for county court bailiffs
Can Bailiffs Put Their Foot in the Door?
Bailiffs cannot force entry by putting their foot in the door or pushing past you. They cannot try to stop you from closing the door. You should contact the police if a bailiff tries to do this. I recommend avoiding intimidation tactics by simply refusing to open the door or window, even a little bit. Inform the bailiff you will call their office and arrange to settle the debt. You can do this even if you can’t afford to repay the debt in full. Repayment plans can stop the bailiff from returning.
Will Bailiffs Leave If I Don’t Let Them In?
Usually, the bailiffs will leave the property if you don’t let them in. However, they do have the right to take your belongings, including vehicles, which are outside the house or flat. Furthermore, they will return if you don’t arrange to repay the debt. Additional fees are added for visits, so it’s best to make a payment or arrange instalments as soon as possible.
Can I Complain if Bailiffs Harass Me?
Make a complaint if you have asked a bailiff to leave and they continue to harass you. Complaining can help buy you some time to arrange repayment of the debt. It won’t erase the debt or the problem. However, it can provide some relief if you are dealing with harassment. The types of behaviour you can complain about include
- Repeatedly phoning, texting, or coming to your home
- Using offensive language
- Threats including verbal and physical
- Pressuring you to pay a debt that belongs to someone else
- Continuing to contact you after you have paid the debt off
You should also put in a complaint if the bailiffs can’t provide proof of the debt they’re collecting for. Additionally, complain about a bailiff if they break the rules regarding gaining entry or refuse an offer of payment you propose, providing it’s reasonable.
Where Can I Complain About Bailiffs?
There are several places to launch your complaint about bailiffs’ behaviour. The first step is to write a letter of complaint and send it to the bailiff company and the creditor to whom you owe money. Keep a copy of the complaints you send and proof of postage. The bailiffs shouldn’t visit you again until the complaint has been dealt with by the creditor. If they visit, inform the bailiffs through closed doors or over the phone that you are awaiting a response to a formal complaint.
If you’re unhappy with the response to your complaint you can take it further by complaining to the civil enforcement association or the ombudsman for the creditor you owe.
Will the Bailiffs Come Back?
If you refuse entry the bailiffs can return. You can stop them from returning by calling their head office and arranging repayment of the debt. You might want to contact the original creditor (the company you owe the debt to) and organise repayment with them directly. In most cases they will allow you to do this, however, you must pay off the bailiff fees in addition to the original money you owe. Otherwise, the bailiffs can continue to chase what you owe them.
What Happens If I Let a Bailiff In?
If you decide to let a bailiff in, they will take an inventory of the goods they want to seize and sell. They can walk around your home and even rummage through your drawers. When the inventory is completed, they may make a controlled goods agreement with you. If you don’t make a controlled goods agreement the bailiffs can take your belongings and sell them to recover the debt.
Learn more about bailiffs, your rights, and controlled goods agreements in the articles I have shared below. I recommend contacting a debt advisor for further assistance.