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Bailiff Advice

What to do if the bailiffs come knocking

The bailiffs turning up at your door can be a frightening ordeal. That’s why you should never leave it until the bailiff arrives before seeking help - get help as soon as possible. Preventing a bailiff calling is better than having to handle one at your door.

Below are SIX simple points to remember:

  1. Don't open the door or leave your door and windows open or unlocked.

  2. You don't have to speak to them if you don't want to - do not give them any sensitive information.

  3. Don't let the bailiff in under any circumstances.

  4. If personal possessions and household goods are visible through the window close the curtains.
  5. Do not sign anything or accept any deal offered by a bailiff at your door.
  6. Call for advice immediately

Once a bailiff gets access to your property they can gain entry at a later date. They can list anything they see through a window and place it under their ownership called a walking possession order.

Bailiffs can be intimidating - don't be afraid help is at hand.

What is a bailiff?

When you are struggling to pay your debts, some creditors will send bailiffs to collect outstanding payments. While ‘bailiff’ is the more commonly used term, they are also called enforcement officers or debt enforcement officers. If you receive a letter from a bailiff or threatening bailiff action, they will most likely be referred to as enforcement officers.

Bailiffs can only be used for certain debts:

  1. Council tax and business rates

  2. Parking penalties

  3. County court judgements (CCJs)

  4. High court judgements

  5. Magistrates' court fines and compensation orders

  6. Child support

  7. Maintenance

  8. Income tax, national insurance and VAT

  9. Business rent.

Bailiffs are also used in the eviction process. If you receive an Enforcement Notice act straight away to stop the visit. Call us now on 0141 566 7038

You will be charged £235 upon the bailiff’s first visit to your property. An extra 7.5% for debts over £1,500 can be included. They can also charge you an extra £110 once they begin to seize items from your home to be put up for sale.

If you have been threatened with bailiff action or have been warned that the bailiffs are just around the corner, please request a callback for free bailiff advice as soon as possible so we can help you out of your situation.

What is the difference between bailiffs and debt collectors?

Debt collectors are not bailiffs and do not have the same legal powers. They are not allowed to take your belongings in order to cover debts.

If someone attempts to recover debts from you but you have not been served with an ‘enforcement notice’ they are not a bailiff and should not be pretending to be one.


If an officer turns up at your door without giving you advanced warning, they are probably not a certified bailiff. If they are, they are acting outside of their powers and you can complain by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Bailiffs have been certified and have mandatory training, as well as authorisation from a special court that allows them to collect debts. Impersonating a bailiff can be a criminal offence, so if you are in doubt as to whether or not you are faced with a legitimate bailiff, ask to see full identification and call up the firm they are associated with.

‘What should I do if I know the bailiffs are on their way?”

As soon as you receive a letter threatening bailiff action you should explore all options available to you. Bailiff action can be distressing, as well as disruptive to your home and work life. It is best to come to an agreement that suits both you, your creditors and the bailiffs.

We do not recommend you negotiate with the bailiffs directly. Bailiffs are only concerned about recovering your debts, as that is how they make their money - they are not concerned about whether you can still meet your basic costs of living.

Your best bet is to contact a specialist debt advisor who can help you negotiate a repayment plan that allows you to satisfy your creditors while making sure you have enough money to pay your bills and keep food on the table.

There are several debt solutions designed to allow UK residents to take back control of their financial situation. Here are some of the best available: