What are bailiffs?

Bailiffs are debt collectors that are used by the courts and local authorities to recover money that is owed.

If someone owes you money you can use the small claims court to force them to pay what they owe, and part of the small claims procedure is to use bailiffs. If your claim is upheld by the court a County Court Judgement (CCJ) will be issued against your creditor.

The CCJ can give bailiffs the power to recover the money you are owed.

There are many other situations in which the services of bailiffs can be used:

  • Your local authority can use bailiffs to pursue monies owed if you haven’t paid your council tax bill
  • HM Revenue & Customs can use bailiffs to recover the outstanding debt if you have unpaid tax
  • If your property is being repossessed by a financial institution a bailiff will attend with a locksmith in order for the lender to take possession of the property
  • Your landlord can instruct a bailiff to recover overdue rent

In all of these situations you will receive two weeks' notice prior to the bailiff's first visit, however if you find yourself unable to pay the bailiff is legally entitled to take possession of your goods and sell them to retrieve any monies owed.

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