What will happen If I refuse to answer my door to enforcement agents (bailiffs)?

What will happen If I refuse to answer my door to enforcement agents (bailiffs)?

You are not under any legal obligation to allow an enforcement agent (bailiff) into your home. However, the best way to avoid additional fees and sort out any debt is to speak to the agent. The sooner this happens, the more chance there is of agreeing on a way to resolve the situation.

The key to sorting out any debt problems is talking. Enforcement agents are trained to listen and help you find a way to pay what you owe. It is important to remember that only 0.1% of enforcement involves the removal of goods. The objective of enforcement is not to seize and sell your possessions. In reality, a very small number of cases go to auction. When this does happen, it is predominantly vehicles, which are the most common high-value possessions. But you will still need to pay what you owe.

Is an enforcement agent (bailiff) on my property without permission trespassing?

Whilst you don't have to let an enforcement agent into your home, you cannot obstruct an agent or prevent them from executing a court order. An agent acting on a magistrates’ court warrant has additional powers of entry, including using a locksmith to force entry. Complaints are often made that agents threatened to forcefully gain access to a property when taking control under a magistrate’s warrant. This is not a threat but a factual explanation of the consequences of refusing access.

What should I do if I am too scared to answer the door to an enforcement agent (bailiff)?

We understand that the prospect of a visit from an enforcement agent can be daunting, but this is necessary as a deterrent for those who refuse to pay when they are able. You have nothing to fear from a certified enforcement agent, but responding to letters at the earliest stage will avoid a visit. This gives you the option of managing your payment online. The Notice of Enforcement sent at the Compliance Stage gives details of how and when to pay. Enforcement firms are also available to speak to over the phone and via email, with many now offering additional ways to make contact such as web chat or social media.

To ensure fair treatment of people in debt, the enforcement process is specifically designed to encourage early engagement and to help people affordably make payments without incurring additional charges. It is in the interest of enforcement firms to resolve cases before visits are undertaken, which is why it is the final option.

CIVEA members also have dedicated welfare teams to deal with the most vulnerable cases and field agents are trained extensively to identify and refer vulnerable people to additional support services. Our shared industry ambition always has been recuperating funds only from those who can afford to pay but are making the choice not to.

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