Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Bailiffs - You and Your Rights

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Bailiffs - You and Your Rights

Article excerpt

'IANSWERED the door to a bailiff yesterday who claimed that he was working on behalf of a catalogue that I had ordered goods from.

"He said that he was visiting me as I had not kept up my monthly repayments and that I had to either pay him Pounds 210 pounds there and then or he was going to come in to my house and take away my personal belongings to sell.

"I did not have the money and refused to let him in but he just barged past me and said that he was allowed to come in as the door was open. He said that it was called 'peaceful entry'. He has since taken away my television and dvd player, was he allowed to do this?" Mrs Hardcastle THE straightforward answer to this is NO he was not and he should be reported in the first instance to both the catalogue company who sent him and also to the Police for theft.

Most bailiffs have no more power to come into your home uninvited than a stranger from the street.

The only time a bailiff could have the right to use 'reasonable force' to get into your home would be if they were collecting unpaid criminal fines.

Bailiffs collecting all other debts can only come in if they can do so without using force, this means they must have been invited in to your home or can gain entry through an open/unlocked door. This is what the bailiff meant by "gaining peaceful entry" which most certainly DOES NOT include barging his way past you.

Even if bailiffs do manage to get into your home, they must leave if you ask them to. If they do not, they are breaking the law. In your case I assume that you did in fact ask him to leave but he refused or ignored you.

Here are some important facts to remember about bailiffs: Don't let bailiffs in unless you don't mind if they take your belongings to pay the debt.

If the bailiff is there because of unpaid council tax or unpaid bills, the bailiff can only come in if you let them in, or if they have come in and claimed some of your belongings on an earlier visit and told you when they would come back to pick them up if you did not make payments - and you failed to make payments. If the bailiff is there to collect income tax or a criminal fine, he can, in certain circumstances, use 'reasonable force' to get in. …

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