Beating the bailiffs guide

Bailiffs can only win when they get us on our own - if we stick up for each other, we can stop them

Getting overloaded with debt and don't know what to do? This articles contains useful advice, tips and contacts for dealing with debt and bailiffs.

Overloaded with debt? Bailiffs threatening you?
Some useful advice from WAG...

Firstly, get advice from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau. They are busy, but very helpful.

Bailiffs firms and the police break the law if they think that they can get away with it. Knowing your rights, and making sure that the Council and Bailiffs have followed legal procedures, should buy you some more time.

Several key things to take note of:

  • Your possessions can’t be seized unless you’ve been sent a written notice by the Authority at least 14 days before any visit. This must have details of any fees they have added on.
  • The police have no power to force entry on behalf of the bailiffs or local authority, unless there is a breach of the peace.
  • Lock all windows and doors. Bailiffs have no powers to force entry by breaking open an outer door, which is locked or bolted.
  • If the bailiffs do get in, offer what you can afford to pay, not what they want you to pay. Ask them to drop the costs they have added.
  • Bailiffs can only take things that belong to you the debtor. If you have a receipt proving that an item belongs to someone else, they cannot take it.
  • Bailiffs cannot have you put in prison. If they never get in and you do not pay they will return your case to the court. The magistrate will then look at what you can afford to pay.

    If you’re still stuck and would like some help with taking on the bailiffs by whatever means are necessary, you could do better than get in touch with your local libertarian group (see our listings or ask in our forums for details) or ask your friends and neighbours to help you out. Walthamstow Anarchist Group also have more information about your rights against the bailiffs - see their website below.

    If you are struggling with debt, both the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (0800 138 1111) and National Debtline (0808 808 4000) offer free information and advice.

    Written by the Walthamstow Anarchist Group
    Edited by libcom, last reviewed 2006