County Court Bailiff
Bailiffs (also known as ‘enforcement agents’) are employed by the local County Court to help enforce judgments. If you wish to recover your debt, but your debtor is not paying up as fast as you would like, bailiffs can help. A bailiff can help retrieve debts up to £5,000 but without the correct authorization they are not able to do anything. Once they have the judgment they have twelve months to seize the debtor’s goods. They will do this by sending the debtor ‘seven days clear notice’ – a notice telling them that bailiffs will be coming. These seven days may not include Christmas Day, any bank holidays or Sundays.
Once the bailiff arrives at your debtor’ house, they may not be able to gain access to the house. There are very few situations where a bailiff can force entry, but even if your bailiff cannot enter, they are allowed to take control of good outside the house. This includes items like cars. If the bailiff finds your debtor’s car they may clamp it, though it is very unlikely that a bailiff will remove goods on a first visit. If they cannot gain access to the debtor’s house bailiffs will most often return a case to the County Court. There is no fee if they are unsuccessful, unlike other types of agents. If the bailiff does remove belongings they must wait another seven days before they can sell any of the items. These seven days also apply to the same rules as above.
There are restrictions on what a bailiff may remove. Anything taken must be the debtor’s own property and cannot be a basic household item like clothes. A bailiff is also not allowed to take refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines, dining tables and chairs.