Many people are unaware of their rights if a bailiff appears at their premises – often allowing them access without the correct procedure having been followed.
If a bailiff calls at your premises you should already be expecting them – they should have already given you notice before visiting you. This notice of enforcement needs to be written in a particular way. We are familiar with the way in which these documents need to be written and are happy to assess them for you. If you receive notification that a bailiff may be visiting your premises you should take care to ensure that all entrances (doors/ windows) to the property are secure.
If a bailiff presents themselves at your property, you should ensure that:
- The debt they are chasing is correct
- The correct process has been followed
- The notice has been given to you in the right way (post, hand delivery to your home or business, by fax or email, or fixing prominently to your premises/ letterbox), or handed to you in person.
- The right timeframes have been allowed before the intention to visit (usually 7 days from the date on the notice, however this 7 day period can be waivered in certain circumstances, through a court order)
A bailiff can only be employed to chase particular kinds of debt, such as:
- Business rates
- High Court Judgements
- Court fines
- HMRC arrears
- Business rent
Advice on Dealing with bailiffs
As a rule, you usually don’t have to allow them entry, or open your door to them.
- Use force against you
- Enter the property if the only person at the property is under 16
- Visit during the hours of 9pm – 6am
- Gain entry through any other means except the door
There are only certain instances whereby they are able to force their way into your home, these include unpaid criminal fines, income tax and stamp duty, HMRC debts (once the court’s permission has been obtained) – and only as a last resort.
If you don’t allow a bailiff access to your home, or come to an agreement to pay them they could:
- Take things from outside your property (such as your motor vehicle(s))
- Add an amount on top of the existing debt
If you do allow a bailiff into your property then they may take your belongings which they could sell to pay the outstanding debts and to cover their fees.
If a bailiff appears at your door then you should not allow them access to your premises – seeking professional advice means that you will know your rights should they return.
Contact The Insolvency Experts for business debt advice
To discuss the specific circumstances of your business, please contact us online or call our team directly on 0300 303 8284. The Insolvency Experts are dedicated to getting your business the information and support it needs to effectively deal with financial issues. For more advice on dealing with creditor pressure see the sections below.