What to do when bailiffs visit

Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby Keticus » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:50 pm

I used to have a mate (ahem) who was a bailiff back in the days of the old poll tax who advised that when serving a notice of distress the bailiff should not make an inventory of your goods through a window. Furthermore, if said bailiff does manage to make an inventory, for walking possesion purposes, the value of the goods should exceed the debt (think it was 4x). So for example if you are arguing with the bailiff on your doorstep and refuse him entry, he can't stand there and list your casio watch against say a £400 debt. Apparently this is called illegal distress.
If anybody has info to the contrary i would be interested to hear this.
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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby holy vehm » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:45 pm





Irregular distress
Distress is said to be irregular if the levy was done lawfully but subsequent events were not carried out properly, for example, goods were sold at less than their secondhand value. If distress is irregular, the client can take civil court action and also, for community charge, council tax and child support arrears, the client can make a complaint in the magistrates' court.

Illegal distress
Distress is said to be illegal if there is no right to levy, for example, if there are no rent arrears, or if an unlawful act is committed during the levy, for example, the bailiffs forcibly enter. If the bailiffs have illegally levied distress, the client can take court action for the return of the goods. This action is called replevin.

The seizure of Personal Property for the satisfaction of a demand.

The process of distress, sometimes called distrain, began at Common Law wherein a land-lord had the right to confiscate the chattels of a tenant who had defaulted on a rent payment. Today, it is regulated by statute, and is used to mean the taking of property to enforce the performance of some obligation.

A warrant of distress is a writ that authorizes an officer to seize a person's goods. It is usually used in situations where a landlord has the right to obtain a lien on a tenant's goods for nonpayment of rent.

If personal property is seized to enforce the payment of taxes and then publicly sold if the taxes are not subsequently paid, the sale is called a distress sale. Distressed goods are chattels sold at a distress sale.

The Bailiff

Each bailiff must be certificated in order to collect rent arrears, council tax arrears and certain other debts for example parking fines and speeding fines. The certificate is issued by a County Court Judge and is usually renewed every 2 years. In order to obtain a certificate, the bailiff must lodge with the court a bond or other security to the value of £10,000.

To check to see if a bailiff is certificated simply telephone the Ministry of Justice on 020 3334 3555 and give them the name of the bailiff and the company he is working for, or check online here Certificated Bailiff. They will be able to tell you which court issued the original certificate and you can then call that court and check the details further. However, please note that there may be administrative delays and if a search reveals that a bailiff is not listed as certificated then you should inform the bailiff that a search of the HMCS on-line Certificated Bailiff's Register does not include him. You should then request a copy of his certificate, or have him confirm which Court granted his certificate and when.

It is a criminal offence for a bailiff to collect a debt or to attempt to collect the above mentioned debts while in possession of an expired certificate or when they have never been in possession of one. It is known as “illegal distress” and the bailiff should be reported (see below for details on how to do this).

A company trading in debt recovery must have had at the time of collection a Category E Consumer Credit Licence pursuant to Section 21(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Since July 2008 this has changed to Category F.

Bailiffs do not have the power to arrest anyone, only the police have that power. The behaviour expected from a bailiff when carrying out his duty is very carefully laid out in the “National Standard for Enforcement Agents” which, among other things states that:-

“Enforcement agents should always produce relevant identification on request, such as a badge or ID card, together with a written authorisation to act on behalf of the creditor”

“Enforcement agents must carry out their duties in a professional, calm and dignified manner. They must dress appropriately and act with discretion and fairness”

“Enforcement agents will on each occasion when a visit is made to a debtor’s property which incurs a fee for the debtor, leave a notice detailing the fees charged to date, including the one for that visit, and the fees which will be incurred if further action becomes necessary. If a written request is made an itemised account of fees will be provided”

Under the heading of “charging for debt collection” the OFT also give examples of unfair practices, one of which is “applying unreasonable charges, e.g. charges not based on actual and necessary costs”.

Magistrates Court Fines

For certain types of fines for example parking fines, speeding fines and TV licence fines, bailiffs do have the power to break into your home to take your goods even if they have not been into your home before. You must, therefore, treat a Magistrates Court fine as a priority debt because you could be sent to prison if you default on payments and, although very rare, this does happen.

For this reason it is no longer safe to try to avoid bailiffs coming into your home by refusing to let them in for the collection of the fines mentioned above.

However, contrary to popular belief this does not include the recovery of Council Tax debts (see below for details).

Council Tax

For the avoidance of doubt, the law states that bailiffs collecting council tax have no power to force initial entry or break open an outer door if it is either locked or bolted. They must enter a property peacefully through an unlocked door or through an open window. They may not enter through a closed window, even if it is not locked. They cannot obtain a court order to gain entry and can only force entry if they have previously gained peaceful entry.

The local authority is vicariously liable and are equally culpable for any unlawful actions carried out by any of their agents and this must be communicated to them in the strongest possible terms.

If anyone should call purporting to be a bailiff, DO NOT LET THEM IN. They will lie, cajole and attempt to deceive you. You must not be taken in by any of this. They have no right of access to your house. Do not let them in to use the loo, use the telephone, or to get out of the cold. They will try anything and once they have gained peaceful access, they can break in at some point in the future. Do not sign anything that they might hand you, or put through your letterbox, you are not obliged to do this. Tell them, from an upstairs window, that they will not gain access to your property and that they must return the warrant to the council. Then tell them that they must leave or you will report them for the common law offence of trespass.

Walking Possession Orders

This can only be issued by a Court Certificated bailiff and only after a judgment debt has not been paid, or, following the issuing of a Liability Order for a failure to pay Council Tax or certain Magistrates Court fines. Civil debts, such as credit cards, loans etc. cannot be chased by bailiffs unless a CCJ has been obtained and the debt not paid - and even then, a Warrant of Execution must be applied for and granted before a bailiff can visit.

In order for a walking possession order to be valid, a bailiff must have gained peaceful entry to the property in order to seize the goods. It is not enough for a bailiff to list items that they have seen through a window and push a walking possession order through the letterbox for you to sign and return. Under no circumstances should you sign anything a bailiff pushes through your letterbox.

If the bailiff does gain peaceful entry then a walking possession agreement means that the goods that have been seized now legally belong to the bailiff and can be removed at any time should you not keep up your agreed payments.

Making a Complaint

The most common grounds for complaint against a bailiff are:-

the charging of excessive fees, including charging for visits that they did not make
letters they did not write or send
aggressive, rude or threatening behaviour from the bailiff.
Please also see Legal Beagles for additional reasons for grounds of complaint.

If you believe you have grounds for complaint, you should begin by sending the bailiff company a Subject Access Request letter Bailiff - SAR - Legal Beagles including the £10 maximum statutory fee in the usual manner.

Once this avenue has been exhausted and assuming that you have not obtained a satisfactory resolution to your issues you can make a formal complaint about a certificated bailiff (once you've checked that they are indeed certificated, as detailed above) to the court.

You do this by completing and submitting a Form 4 (attached below). There is no fee for filing a Form 4. The grounds for complaint (listed above) are by no means exhaustive and the court will hear any complaint that you have against a bailiff. Although, it is wise to remember that court action should always be a final resort and you must be able to prove, should you have to appear in front of a Judge, that you have tried your utmost to resolve your problem without taking up the time of the court.

Once the Form 4 has been filed, which can be done online or in person at your local court, the court will send a report to the bailiff. They will be given 14 days to respond. If the judge is satisfied with their response no further action will be taken. However, if the bailiff fails to respond or the Judge is dissatisfied in any way with their response then the bailiff will be summonsed to court to show good cause why his Certificate should not be cancelled. You should make every effort to attend this hearing.

If your complaint is upheld the Judge may order compensation to be paid to you, which is usually paid from the bailiff's £10,000 bond. He may also cancel the bailiff's certificate, this normally means the loss of his employment as he will no longer be entitled to levy distress for rent, road traffic debts, council tax or non-domestic rates or he may dismiss your complaint.
"A ruler who violates the law is illegitimate. He has no right to be obeyed. His commands are mere force and coercion. Rulers who act lawlessly, whose laws are unlawful, are mere criminals".
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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby knightron » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:12 pm

Some great Info there Guys thanks..:)
Years ago I had a bailiff come to my Mums house cos I hadn't paid Polltax.( was very early 90's just after I had left the Army) he was about 6 foot 10 inches tall and about 25 stone looking like he had muscles in his piss...he said.." you have to pay me £600 or you are coming with me!.." so I went back inside and grabbed my coat..went back out and went to get into his car..he said.." what the fuck do you think you are doing?".. I said." well mate.. I aint got the money, and you are a big fucker so lets go where ever you want to.."...he shook his head and left..I never heard anything from them again...lol
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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby Amy » Mon May 23, 2011 10:37 pm

That is a very good bailiff guide. It looks very familiar to me, but that might be because I wrote it.

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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby Prajna » Tue May 24, 2011 12:11 am

Amy wrote:That is a very good bailiff guide. It looks very familiar to me, but that might be because I wrote it.


Very useful site, Amy, and good guide too. Thank you.
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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby idmolcom » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:03 am

Amy wrote:That is a very good bailiff guide. It looks very familiar to me, but that might be because I wrote it.


Hey Amy,

What an excellent report, I absoloutly loved it.

Your Pet Rotwieler
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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby idmolcom » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:41 am

[quote="thebronze"]Hi everyone, I'm new to the forums but i'm not new with dealing with bailiffs (to my eternal regret).

Hi the Bronze,

I read your report and it was brilliant. However there
was a very minor problem with it.

The problem being all of the stuff to remember.

Well a friend and I have worked on a 3step method
of getting rid of any type of bailiff within literally
less than 3 minutes.

It works in 3 stages. Stage 1 requires you to serve
him a notice and ask for his autograph. Once he/she
does that you are asking him to remove all limited
company liability for his company. He being the
agent is empowered to do things to you. Therefore
you are entitled to give him a form and record the
event of his reading and signing the form. It would
be extremely rude not to return the favour. :8-):

At the end of stage1, you invite him to go back to
his car and take time to read and digest the
content. The key part is that he has contracted
with you and not the other way round. Because
you asked him to fill in a form of service received.
If he does that then you are the "King" as you did
the AS"KING" request and he complied.

I did this with the TV licence peon. He has never
come back in nearly 4 yrs.

The attachment below shows you how and why
they scarper once they go back to their cars to
digest what they have just been given.

Game set and match 3-0 to the Bronze!

Great work keep it up Bronzey

Your Pet Rottwieler


PS: This document has a copyright but is available
free to members of this forum.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby iknowmyrights » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:39 pm

Awesome questionnaire!

I wonder if this would work with rent arrears/eviction for county court bailiff?

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As it is your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny."
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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby SCORPIOUK » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:01 am

regarding selling or handing over ownership of my belongings so the bailiff cant seize anything can this person be your children and do those children have to be over 16 or 18
i have bailiffs sniffing around again this time for my wife breaking down parking car at side of road where she actually broke down and getting a parking ticket. Its now 2 years later and were at a new address and they have turned up out of the blue we ignored the door the first time he came. Then this morning after helping my daughter to do her paper round (as she is only 12) we returned home to a Mr Edwards of Marston bailiffs, long black trench coat shaved head trying to intimidating stood outside my house he said.
bailiff do you live here
me why who are you
bailiff im Mr Edwards of Marston bailiffs
me so why are you trespassing on my property
bailiff im looking for Mrs smith does she live here
me No she don't live here so i suggest you do one pal
bailiff can you give me your name
me no you cant have my name so please off you f**k mr Edwards and dont bother coming back
bailiff I need your name so we can clear this matter up
me Im not telling you anything Mr Edwards as i said do one you nob head lol (this was my exact words i was in no mood for this idiot at 7.30 am

At this point im stood two steps above him nose to nose looking down at him we held the stare for a few seconds as mr Edwards tried to stand his ground but i wasnt having any of his crap he bottled it and turned for his car and hastily drove away here is the letter he put through the door on the first visit notice the admin fee £180.14 and the attendance fee £210 what a joke

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Re: What to do when bailiffs visit

Postby musashi » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:12 pm

regarding selling or handing over ownership of my belongings so the bailiff cant seize anything can this person be your children and do those children have to be over 16 or 18

Children may not hold property until they have reached the age of majority. they are seen as being unable to administrate it and require suoervision - which is why boy kings have a regent.

You seem to be doing okay as you are, though you may consider forming a trust with you as settlor and trustee and your family as benficiaries. A few out there have done this satisfactorily, I believe, though you may have to seek their advice. I can't help as I have not done enough work on trusts and my own trust was set up in 2000 by a solicitor (who charged me £400).

Absolutely anything that comes to me in the form of a cheque or electronic funds transfer goes through my trust fund. I can also drop cash in there and I may use the trust for any purpose. It is a private trust so no-one has any right to look into it and even a judge in court may not reveal any part of it. If any government agency demands banking details - such as courts - I simply refer them to the trustees who tell them to get lost.

If the trustees buy me a car they still own it and I just have the use of it - no-one can take it and if they do the trustees simply demand it back as their property. The guys at the peace camp on Gare Loch apply this when the borrow canoes from Greenpeace and get caught in the dockyards and have the canoes taken. Greenpeace goes round the next day and get their canoes back and the guys borrow them again.

It's still fucked, isn't it?
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