Bailiff help and advice

Bailiffs & enforcement agents. Expert help and advice 

Bailiffs in England & Wales are now known as  'enforcement agents', however the general public still call them bailiffs for short.

They have the power to remove and sell your goods to pay a debt by law. In most cases, they can only get involved after your creditor has taken you to court.

In this section we highlight what bailiffs can and cannot do and what bailiffs could take when they visit. We will also talk about bailiffs' fees and your rights when dealing with bailiffs. On this page we highlight some of the important questions we get asked about bailiffs.


What debts do bailiffs collect? 


Bailiffs cannot collect Consumer Credit Act-regulated debts such as payday loans, credit cards or overdrafts unless:

  • The creditor has taken you to court and obtained a County Court judgment (CCJ)
  • You have avoided the CCJ or that you did not pay the amount the court ordered
As well as unpaid CCJs, bailiffs collect several other types of debt, including:


Council tax arrears

Child maintenance arrears

Criminal fines

Parking penalties issued by a local authority

Tax and National Insurance arrears if you are self-employed


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The police can only help a bailiff do their job in very limited circumstances. This is allowed if:

The bailiff is enforcing a High Court legal authority of control.

The bailiff has applied to the court for a warrant to force entry and the court has agreed that the police can help with this

The police cannot help the bailiff in any other circumstances.

The police may attend with a bailiff to make sure there is no disturbance. They have to remain impartial and they cannot help the bailiff.

Once a bailiff has made a list of your goods and taken them into control you can also be arrested if you hide, remove or deliberately damage any of these goods.

If you behave in a threatening or aggressive manner you could be arrested. The bailiff could also be arrested if they act like this. You can also be arrested if you obstruct a bailiff such as physically stopping them from removing goods.

You cannot be arrested for refusing entry to a bailiff if they have not already been in and made a list of goods.

Documentaries about bailiffs often focus on business debts or repossessions of homes or vehicles. This is because they have a legal right to break into property in these cases. For most types of debt, they do not have a right to break in.

The reality is that bailiffs spend a lot of their time knocking on doors and making payment arrangements. This does not make very interesting TV. Viewers are more likely to be interested in emotional or confrontational situations, even though those are not as common in reality.

Of course, dealing with bailiffs will always be an unpleasant experience, but the situations depicted in TV soaps and documentaries often make it look a lot worse than in real life.

A visit or a letter from a bailiff is sign that you need free and impartial debt help. We can give expert budgeting advice to help you deal with the bailiff debt and manage your situation.