Payment arrangements with bailiffs
In order to avoid a bailiff visit (and incurring an enforcement fee of £235), a payment arrangement must be agreed within the time frame outlined on the Notice of Enforcement. You must be given a minimum of seven ‘clear days’ notice before a visit can be made to your property. This period of time is referred to as the ‘Compliance stage’. From our experience, most companies will accept a payment proposal over a period of 3 months and in some cases, even 6 months. You will be expected to make the first instalment at the time of setting up the payment arrangement.
How to set up a payment arrangement with a bailiff company.
A payment arrangement should be set up over the telephone as soon as you receive the Notice of Enforcement. It is vitally important that any ‘vulnerability’ should be brought to the attention of the bailiff company at this stage. When setting up a payment arrangement, you should make clear the date on which you prefer payments to be made (ie: 31st of each month etc). If the payment date falls on a bank holiday (or a Sunday) you must ensure that your payment is made in cleared funds before the due date. Failure to do so, will lead to the payment arrangement defaulting. You will not be sent a reminder letter.
Defaulting on a payment arrangement.
If a payment arrangement is set up, it is vitally important to be aware that if your agreed weekly/monthly payment is not made in cleared funds by the agreed payment date, the payment agreement will normally be terminated. You will not receive a reminder letter. Instead, the account will be passed to an individual bailiff. He will make a personal visit to your property for the purpose of taking control of your goods. When he attends, the debt owed will increase to include the enforcement fee of £235. The fees that can be charged are outlined on this page.
Can I make payment direct to the local authority or Magistrates Court?
Once a Notice of Enforcement is issued, bailiff fees incurred up to the date of payment form part of the debt. From all payments made (whether to the council, the court or the enforcement company), the Compliance fee of £75 must be deducted first. The difficulties that you will face by paying the council (or magistrates court) direct are outlined on this page.
If the debt being enforced is a criminal court fine, then in all cases, the court will simply transfer your payment to the relevant enforcement company.
Can I make a payment arrangement with the bailiff when he visits my property?
It is possible, but in reality, it is much more difficult. If there is a vehicle on the driveway, it would be the preferred item to take control of. If the bailiff is able to gain ‘peaceful’ entry into your home (either by way of invitation or through an open door) you need to be aware that household items will be at serious risk of being removed. Alternatively, the bailiff may allow you to continue using the goods. If so he would make an inventory of the goods and include these in a Controlled Goods Agreement. A payment arrangement would then be set up. If you default on the arrangement, the bailiff can take steps to remove the goods listed for sale.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online
If you have a debt that is being enforced by bailiffs and are experiencing difficulty in getting a payment arrangement accepted with the bailiff company, please feel free to contact us. You can email a question to us using our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, you can contact our Bailiff Advice helpline on 01643 841886. For our opening hours, please see our Contact page.
Lastly, our Simplified Guide to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.