Can Bailiffs Force Entry?

If your debt problems have escalated, you might be facing action and a visit from the bailiffs. A bailiff is someone who works on behalf of the courts to collect debt. As a result of this, you might be concerned that the bailiffs assigned to your case can force their way into your home or place of business before taking your belongings.

If that sounds like you, then you’re not alone – it’s a common worry.

Usually, you don’t have to open your door or let them in, so can bailiffs force entry?

Well, they are entitled to force entry into your home or place of business, but only under certain circumstances. Put simply, it depends on the type of debt that they’re collecting and whether they’ve visited you before.

Bailiffs can force entry when:

  • they’re chasing up an unpaid magistrates’ court fine.
  • they’re chasing up an unpaid county court judgement (CCJ) or a high court judgement.
  • a court has specifically given them the right to do so when collecting debts owed to HMRC.
  • a court has specifically given them the right to do so, because they believe you have deliberately taken your belongings to stop them getting seized.

If your debt problems don’t fall into one of the above categories, then the bailiffs aren’t allowed to force entry into your home or place of business. It’s that straightforward.

Furthermore, it’s also worth noting that even if they are entitled entry into your home or place of business, they’re only allowed to use reasonable force when coming in.

What is reasonable force?

For starters, bailiffs are only allowed to use a normal means of entry, like a door or entry through an attached garage. They have to give you at least 7 days’ notice ahead of their first visit, while they’re not allowed to come to you between 9pm and 6am.

Reasonable force means that they’re allowed to break a lock or hinge, cut through a padlock or remove a barrier, that sort of thing.

Contrary to popular belief, they’re not allowed to touch you or anyone else, get into a building through an open window, break a window or climb over a fence or wall.

What can you do to stop the bailiffs?

Of course, if you’re aware that the bailiffs are coming, then get immediate advice. While these situations are usually much less stressful and intimidating than you may think, there’s a chance that you could avoid the whole situation and stop any visit from the bailiffs.

Can Bailiffs force entry?

Yes, but if you call us on 0191 303 7170 we can prevent them.

Alternatively, email me on ewall@robsonscott.co.uk