Money Wellness

What should I do if a bailiff comes to my home?

If a bailiff turns up at your home, it’s important to know your rights.

To start with, they’re only allowed to visit you between 6am and 9pm.

Try not to let them into your home. If you’re expecting a visit, make sure you keep your doors locked. Bailiffs are allowed to enter through unlocked doors.

Here are the steps you should take if a bailiff turns up at your home.

Check their ID

When a bailiff turns up at your home, you should ask them who they are and why they are there.

If they say they’re a debt collector, tell them to leave. They have to go if you ask them to, as they don’t have the same powers as bailiffs.

All bailiffs have to:

  • carry ID
  • tell you which company they’re from
  • give you a telephone number for their head office

Ask to see their ID but get them to pass it through your letterbox or show you through a window. Their ID will give their name and say what kind of bailiff they are.

You can then check their identity. How you do this depends on the type of bailiff they are. If they’re:

If they can’t prove who they are, tell them to leave. If they won’t go, call the police on 999.

Check if they can force entry

A bailiff may have the right to force entry if they’re collecting:

  • tax debts for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • unpaid magistrates’ court fines

Make sure they show you proof of your debt and a warrant or writ from a court. Check the details on this document are correct. It must be signed, in date and show your correct name and address.

These bailiffs can use reasonable force to get into your home. This means they may come back with a locksmith.

After a bailiff comes into your home

If you can’t afford to pay what you owe straight away, the bailiffs will probably make a list of belongings they could sell to pay off your debt.

They’ll then ask you to agree to a repayment plan including bailiff fees. If you don’t make the repayments, the bailiffs may come back to take your belongings and sell them to cover the debt.

If a bailiff isn’t allowed to force entry

If a bailiff is collecting a debt other than tax debts for HMRC or unpaid magistrates’ court fines, they can’t force entry. Talk to them through a closed door and make sure everyone you live with knows not to let them in.

Get them to give you a breakdown of the debt they’re collecting. If it’s not your debt, tell the bailiff you will contact their head office to explain why you don’t owe the money and ask them to leave.

If it is your debt, tell the bailiff you’ll contact their head office to arrange payment. You don’t have to pay on the doorstep.

Money Wellness blogs

Illustration of woman cowering on the floor with the shadow of her abuser looming over her

01 May 2024

Domestic violence survivors' safety at risk from rise in court fees

Before they apply for insolvency, domestic violence survivors can ask for their address to be withheld from the insolvency register. But there’s a cost and from today it’s becoming even more expensive.

Illustration of a hand holding a credit card making a payment

26 Apr 2024

Barclaycard change could see customers hit with higher interest

Find out how a charge to Barclaycard’s terms could see you paying off your debt for longer and paying more interest.

Illustration of a woman pushing a shopping trolley with a lightbulb in it up ascending piles of coins

24 Apr 2024

‘Black clouds hanging over’ people with energy debt

As an MP calls for urgent action on growing household energy debt in the UK, find out what to do if you can't keep up with your gas and electricity bills.

Illustration of a shark attacking a person surrounded by coins

22 Apr 2024

Loan shark pensioners ordered to pay £1.2m

As two female pensioners are ordered to pay £1.2m for illegal money lending, find out what to do if you've borrowed from a loan shark.

man being squashed by cards

17 Apr 2024

Outstanding payments on credit cards grow by 10%- the best ways to pay off your credit card debts

Outstanding balances on credit cards have grown by almost 10% annually, as UK Finance releases it’s figures about card spending in January of this year.

bank cards

12 Apr 2024

Brits spend £1.4 billion a year on overdrafts

If you're in need of debt advice, we can help.