Howes Bailiffs Ltd contact a wide range of customers every day to inform them about debt they have failed to repay. These letters, phone calls etc can cause debtors a great deal of distress and they may find life a complete struggle. If you have some debt you haven’t paid back, you will eventually find yourself being contacted by companies like Howes Bailiffs Ltd. It is not particularly enjoyable to be chased by debtors, but it is something you will be faced with if you owe money to any individuals or businesses.

You just always deal with your debt issues, instead of brushing them under the carpet, no matter how distressing the situation may be. As long as you are armed with knowledge about debt collectors and how they operate, you will be in a better position to understand your rights, and what they can and can’t do. This article will help you to understand who Howes Bailiffs Ltd are and the best way to handle any visit you receive from them. You can prevent the situation from getting worst, just by dealing with them head on.

Who are Howes Bailiffs Ltd?

Howes Bailiffs Ltd was founded by Elisabeth Lombardo, who still controls the company and is a Certificated Enforcement Agent authorised by Dartford County Court, in February 2003. The company traded as Howes Specialist Certificated Bailiffs until October 2004 when they incorporated and changed their name to Howes Bailiffs Ltd.

They are based in West Wickham, Kent. They work with local authorities as well as businesses in the private sector such as commercial landlords. Howes Bailiffs Ltd are members of the Association of British Investigators and the Civil Enforcement Association.

Address:
104 High Street, West Wickham, Kent, BR4 0NF

Registration Number:
05145945

Incorporation Date:
6/4/2004

License Granted:
28/03/2018

Also Known As:
Howes Bailiffs Ltd Limited
Howes Bailiffs Ltd Ltd
Howes Bailiffs Ltd Group
Howes Bailiffs Ltd Bailiffs
Howes Bailiffs Ltd Debt Collectors
Howes Bailiffs Ltd Debt Collection
Howes Bailiffs Ltd Agency

Why Are They Trying to Reach You?

If you don’t know them, you are probably concerned as to whether Howes Bailiffs Ltd are a legitimate organisation. The good (or bad news) is that they definitely are, which means that if you receive a call or letter from them, you should make sure you reply to it. There are several reasons why they may be contacting you. These include:

  • You have debts you owe to businesses, organisations or other individuals
  • You have failed to pay your tax bill to HMRC
  • You have defaulted on credit card or payday loan debts
  • You have failed to pay your court fines

The company or individual you have the debt with, will pass the account to Howes Bailiffs Ltd, who will manage it on their behalf. This is usually because they have not been able to get in touch with you. This means the debt will probably be with another company, but Howes Bailiffs Ltd are the ones trying to get the money. The range of companies they typically collect for would include:

  • Gas and electricity suppliers
  • Broadband and mobile phone companies
  • Local council debt

Howes Bailiffs Ltd will often purchase the debt in bulk from these creditors. They are not trying to get the money for the company you have the debt with, they are doing it to make money. They only pay a small price to buy the debt, and then it’s profit they are making when they collect payments.

How to Stop Howes Bailiffs Ltd From Contacting You

You will probably find that the agents from Howes Bailiffs Ltd will be more than a little persistent. You may end up facing a barrage of calls or letters from them, and they might go as far as to turn up at your home. Many people feel that they should just ignoring and they will just stop, but rest assured, they won’t. You should always try to handle the problem head-on.

Bailiffs like Howes Bailiffs Ltd will sometimes used as a means of serving summons or nothing, and if they are planning to come to your home, they should be giving you notice of at least 7 days’ before they visit. The best way to stop any visits from happening in the first place, is to either pay up or come to a suitable arrangement to clear your debt.

There are some action the bailiffs are not permitted to take:

  • Sending letters that are made to look like court forms
  • Trying to contact you outwith normal hours
  • Contacting you when at work, especially if you’ve specifically request that they don’t do this
  • Use technical language that you probably won’t have knowledge on

You should look through your letters or the company’s website to find out how to contact Howes Bailiffs Ltd. By contacting them, it will allow you to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, without the need for any further costs our unwelcome visits to your home.

If the debt they’re saying you owe is not actually yours, you can ask them to prove it and provide you with proof of the debt. The Financial Conduct Authority’s guidelines can provide further details on this (see section 7).

Do Howes Bailiffs Ltd Have Any Rights?

Since Howes Bailiffs Ltd are operating as a bailiff, as you would expect, they have a lot of rights when it comes to getting the debt payments from you. The ball is not entirely in their court though, you also have rights and it is important you understand these.

Bailiffs are permitted to come to your home to collect the money you owe. In many cases, they could even have the power to be able to enter the property and take some of your possessions to sell on, as payment for the debt. If you don’t allow them to enter and you will not pay them, they will be permitted to remove things from outside your home and this may include your vehicle.

If you get visit from someone from Howes Bailiffs Ltd and you tell them you won’t pay them, they may make a decision to take some luxury items from inside your home. Things that you may deem as essential, such as TVs, games consoles, jewellery and other high value items will be at the top of their radar.

If the debts are more serious, such as criminal fines you have failed to pay, stamp duty or your income tax, bailiffs have the right to force their way into your property, but this only be done as a last resort. However, when it is just average debt, Bailiffs are not permitted to enter your home:

  • By trying to force their way into your property
  • When only vulnerable people are in the property or those aged under 16 years of age
  • After the hours of 9pm or before 6am
  • by entering through the windows or other openings which are not your doors

Preparing for a Visit from Howes Bailiffs Ltd

Unless the circumstances are extreme, you are not legally obliged to let Howes Bailiffs Ltd into your property. They may try to force the issue and demand that you allow them access. However, they are only permitted to force entry if they are dealing with serious types of debt and they have necessary paperwork to back up the visit. In some of these instances, they may get a locksmith in to get access to your property but they will not be able to break the door down.

The first action you should take if an agent from Howes Bailiffs Ltd (or any other bailiffs) comes to your door is to ask them to supply you with identification. They must also be able to provide the following evidence:

  • Proof with their name and other personal details, such as an ID card
  • Proof of the company they are collecting the debt for (such as, Howes Bailiffs Ltd)
  • A full and concise breakdown of the cost of the debt
  • A warrant or writ, if they are permitted to force entry to your property

You can request that they pass the evidence through your door in order to look more closely at them. You should ensure that they have not expired and they contain all the necessary correct information, such as your address and name.

If they do not have the right to force their way into your home, you may ask them to leave and you can contact the Howes Bailiffs Ltd head office instead to make payment. If the debt is not in your name, you can ask that they leave, and you can contact head office yourself to discuss the situation.

Remember, Howes Bailiffs Ltd will always continue to try and get the payment for the debt, which means that not paying your debt, will just result in more visits.

Can You Do Anything if Howes Bailiffs Ltd Have Already Taken Your Goods?

If you have permitted access to a Howes Bailiffs Ltd bailiff into your home, the chances are that they have already taken your goods to sell to enable them to pay off the debt. However, if you act quickly, you should still be able to get your goods back.

The quickest and simplest way to recover your goods before they have sold them is to settle the debt or come to an arrangement to pay it. Alternatively, you may be able to develop a suitable repayment plan with your creditors, or another option is to purchase your items back, as this will cover the cost of the debt.

If the Howes Bailiffs Ltd enforcement agent has not followed the correct procedure, this is another potential way to get your goods back, without paying anything. You can contact Citizens Advice to get more information on what to do next.

How to Handle Contact by Howes Bailiffs Ltd

These are some things you should and shouldn’t do if you are contacted by Howes Bailiffs Ltd:

Don’t just ignore them

It’s important that you don’t ignore the calls or letters you receive from Howes Bailiffs Ltd – as tempting as it may be. The debt is not just going to disappear if you ignore it, and you can be sure that they won’t stop contacting you about it either. Remember, enforcement agents like Howes Bailiffs Ltd will be able to charge additional fees for having to deal with the debt. These charges may include:

  • Compliance – £75. The cost for sending an enforcement notice with a request for payment
  • Enforcement – £235 (or 7.5% over £1500). The cost for visiting your home or business to remove some of your possessions
  • Sale of goods – £110 (or 7.5% over £1500). The cost associated with selling these items

Whether this is your debt or not, you should always make sure you reply to any letters or calls you receive, before you have someone chapping at your door. You must find out if this is your debt and then take appropriate steps to deal with the situation.

Do you owe the money?

If you have received a letter that states you owe money, the best thing you can do is find out if it is correct and that it is yours. The debt could belong to someone else with the same name as you, or someone who had previously resided at your property. Similarly, you could have already cleared the money you owe and the letter has been sent to you by mistake.

If you have failed to make a payment in six years or this time period has passed since you even spoke with the creditor, you may not have a responsibility to pay the debt. Equally, if you have were pressured into signing the agreement or the creditor didn’t bother with the right checks to ensure you were able to repay the debt, you may not be required to pay it.

Pay what you owe

If you receive confirmation that the debt is yours, and within the six years time period, and Howes Bailiffs Ltd are able to back this up with proof you will be liable to pay the money. If you have the financial capabilities to do so, your best option is to pay the debt, as soon as possible. This will allow you some breathing space from having the company attempting to contact you further, which means you can carry on, without having to think about it again. You should always request a receipt to prove any payments you have made.

If you cannot pay the entire amount right away, you should be able to set up a suitable payment plan. You can contact Howes Bailiffs Ltd and explain the situation you are in. They are likely to let you pay the debt via a suitable repayment plan, which will avoid any extra fees.

How to Get Help to Deal With Howes Bailiffs Ltd

There are various ways you can get help when dealing with Howes Bailiffs Ltd if they get in touch with you. The best option is usually to contact them when you initially hear from them. If you owe the debt, you should make every attempt to pay what you owe, as soon as you can. However, there are other options for getting help to deal with Howes Bailiffs Ltd.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

You have the option of entering into an IVA, which you can do in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Scotland has a similar scheme, known as a Trust Deeds. With an IVA, your debt is combined, and you only need to make one monthly payment, at an affordable rate. It can be more cost effective, and you can also get the chance to write off some of it.

Debt management

There are other tools for debt management, depending on what suits your situation. You can get a consolidation loan, sign up to a debt management plan or in worst cases, bankruptcy. You should speak to professional organisations before deciding on the best option to suit your personal circumstances.

Citizens Advice

If you are worried about how to deal with contact from Howes Bailiffs Ltd or the letters they have sent you, you will be able to contact the Citizens Advice. They offer a wide range of resources to help you prepare for, and deal with any potential visits.

Formal complaints

You just need to have a quick look through Trustpilot reviews of Howes Bailiffs Ltd, you’ll see that there are many people who have had experiences with them. If you believe that Howes Bailiffs Ltd have failed to treat you fairly, you will be able to make a formal complaint.

If you want to complain to the bailiff company you can use our free letter template which outlines exactly what you should say.

If Howes Bailiffs Ltd fail to respond to this in a way you are happy with, you may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service, as they will take it further for you.

Howes Bailiffs Ltd – Final Thoughts

It is not pleasant to have to deal with debt enforcement agents like Howes Bailiffs Ltd. However, if you are aware of your legal rights, it will be much easier. You should never ignore letters or calls you receive from companies such as Howes Bailiffs Ltd, even if it isn’t your debt. Should Howes Bailiffs Ltd come to your home, you will not need to let the bailiff in unless they have a writ or a warrant. You should explain to them that you are going to contact the company directly.

FAQs

What rights do I have if a bailiff comes?

Bailiffs can only visit your home between the hours of 6am and 9pm and they also need to give you 7 days notice of their plans to visit. They do not have the right to use any force to get into your home.

How many times is a bailiff permitted to visit?

A bailiff can visit any number of times they wish, but they must only visit between 6am and 9pm.

What if I refuse entry to bailiffs?

If you refuse entry to bailiffs, they may be able to return with a locksmith to gain entry this way.

Does the bailiff have the right to break down my door?

They do not have the right to break the door down. If they need access, a locksmith would be necessary. They can also only enter via the door, not the window or any other way.

Can bailiffs take my car if I use it for work?

They can take your car, regardless of the reasons you need it. You can try and hide it on another street, but they will probably track it down!

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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