If someone has not paid their debts, debt collectors may use bailiffs to go to their doorstep. Debtors can attempt to negotiate with debt collectors to arrange other terms to lower payments or extend timelines. However, in the event that debts are not paid in time, bailiffs are often told to collect payment from an individual.

Who Are Bailiffs?

In essence, bailiffs are people who debt collectors appoint to collect debts. They are the physical arm of the collector's operation. They are not appointed by the government, police force, or any official institutions of higher authority. However, they do have certain powers in extraordinary circumstances.

Typically, bailiffs are contracted to find a debtor and get payment from them. Note, these individuals are different than court-appointed bailiffs who maintain peace and order within a courtroom.

Can a Bailiff Enter My Property?

If you owe money and a debt collector sends a bailiff after you, you should know your rights. You have no obligation to let them into your home, and they can not enter aggressively. However, if there is an unlocked window or door, they can enter your property. This is described as "peaceful entry." Once they gain access via this method, they are legally granted to enter again at a further date to seize property.

You should never volunteer access to your home, because then they can return when they want and use excessive force the second time to enter your home.

When Can a Bailiff Visit a Property?

They can show up anytime, however it is frowned upon to arrive between between 9pm and 6am.

What Can They Take?

They can confiscate anything that is a physical possession, even cars. They will attempt to sell your goods at an auction at this point.

What to Do

If a bailiff ever arrives at your doorstep, you need to arrange a repayment schedule with your creditors. There are companies that offer services to assist you with repayment plans and it might increase your overall debt, but it offers you a measure to make amends and start improving your relationship and credit score. You should always discuss your financial situation honestly. If a bailiff comes to you, step outside and talk to them, locking and closing any doors or windows to your home.

Bailiffs have a job to do, just like anyone else. However, they are not law enforcement officers or government employees. You have rights when dealing with bailiffs, and you should always consult a trusted attorney when dealing with creditors and their bailiffs. Contact A Lower Mainland Bailiff for more information.