When can bailiffs force entry?

Written by PayPlan on 21 June 2007

Recently a person received a letter from court baliffs threatning to force entry into a property, regardless if the person was present or not. The bailiff had not previously gained entry into the property and no levy had been made on any goods.

The letter said:

“I will request from the District Judge permission to gain entry into your premises (IN YOUR ABSENSE IF NECESSARY) to remove goods in accordance with court rules.”

The person sought help regarding the letter and was informed that the bailiff was acting unlawfully.

There are only certain conditions that allow bailiffs to force entry into a property

  • If a bailiff has previously had access or prevented from re-entering a property
  • A Tax collector with a warrant from a Magistrates court
  • Courts permission for commercial properties where there is no living accommodation
  • High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) trying to levy goods at a commerical property
  • HCEO when goods have been moved to a third premises to prevent execution
  • Magistrates court warrants for unpaid fines
  • Where entry was gained from a different property and made a levy and are now following the goods

The person was advised to write to the court quoting the letter and ask under what circumstances the bailiff was allowed to force entry? The response was that neither the court nor the bailiff would use the letter again.

If you have received a similar sounding letter then I would encourage you to contact Payplan or your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

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This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

3 thoughts on “When can bailiffs force entry?”

  • clayton francis

    September 2, 2008 at 3:04 am

    hi i just got a hand delivered letter today 1/9/08 saying bailifs are coming tomorrow 2/9 at 6am. its exact words say
    “i will re-attend at your premises from 6am 2/9/08 and may remove your goods, which can be done in your absence as the law directs with regards to removal of assets to sell at public auction to clear the above debt under the liability order that we hold.
    should you wish to avoid this distressing course of action please contact me immediately”

    is this legal? can they do that?

    Reply Report comment

  • Paul

    September 2, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Hi Clayton

    What the Bailiffs have told you appears to be correct, but it is entirely dependent on your circumstances and whether the Bailiffs have a warrant or not, and what access to your property they have had previously. The type of debt being collected may also have a bearing.

    I’d recommend you talk to a Payplan Debt Adviser as soon as possible to find out further information – alternatively, visit http://www.payplan.com/debt-library/bailiffs-bailiff-law.php for further advice.

    Hope this is useful to you

    Reply Report comment

  • judith

    July 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    What happened Clayton, is it now resolved?

    Reply Report comment

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