Bailiff’s will want to make sure you are paying as much as you can afford towards this debt. A money adviser, such as CAB can help you assess your financial situation and put forward a fair offer to your creditor. Here are some common questions about what happens if you stop paying bailiffs and how to stop bailiffs from chasing you.
You may also want to read our article on how to stop repossession for more information.
Can a debt relief order stop bailiffs?
Yes, if the debts they are looking to enforce are included in the as ‘qualifying debts’ DRO. Some debts are excluded, such as fraudulent debts, court fines, CSA arrears and student loans. Speak to an organisation, such as CAB, who can advise you further.
Can I set-up a direct debit to stop bailiffs?
Assuming these are bailiffs and not debt collectors. It’s extremely hard to negotiate with bailiffs especially if they have already been to your house before. They don’t tend to be interested in small payments. If you have a way of raising money to pay off a bailiff you are probably best doing that. They are extremely expensive.
Can I go to jail for non-payment of debts?
Bailiffs do have the power of arrest. However, this is usually a last resort once all other avenues to recover the debt have been exhausted. The arrest is either to ensure attendance at Magistrates Court or, following attendance at court, where an agreement to pay has been set in place and the agreement has been broken by the debtor.
I am pregnant will this stop a bailiff?
There is no ‘right’ to a grace period due to pregnancy. However, in reality, the bailiff should take this into account when enforcing the debt, as a pregnant person is considered vulnerable. If in doubt contact the company or council who the debt is owed to and make a complaint. In addition, seek independent debt advice.
Do I have to pay a bailiff if I have filed for bankruptcy?
Not usually, unless the bailiff is collecting a fine. If you are already bankrupt you should not continue to pay your debts directly. All demands for payment should be passed to the Official Receiver.
Please note, until your bankruptcy goes through you may still have bailiff’s calling at your property. If this is the case, refer them to the company you have engaged to get the bankruptcy sorted, they may be able to stall them until everything is finalised.
How can I hold off bailiffs for non-payment of debt?
If it is impossible to pay the fine in one payment then you will need to come to an arrangement to pay. You may be able to do this directly with the enforcement agent or you may be able to arrange deductions directly from your benefits.
Can I change my name to stop bailiffs chasing me?
A name change will make no difference to their limited powers to take goods. If they do not gain entry to the property then they cannot list goods to take away at a later date if the debt is still unpaid. If they have already listed goods then they can return to collect their goods to take away for sale. Changing your name does not alter the debt outstanding and contacting a debt adviser to look at options for dealing with the debt would allow for a greater understanding of what you can do.
The most common advice for if bailiffs are attending to collect an unsecured debt is to simply refuse entry to the property, you can advise them that the name on the order is not yours but it does not alter the fact that most bailiffs do not have any power beyond attempting peaceable entry.
Please note, bailiffs have different powers depending on what they are there to collect and bailiffs can use a very different approach when collecting fines rather than debts.
What happens if the bailiff comes to my house and doesn’t find anything worth the money?
The bailiff is likely to pass the case back to the creditor who will consider what other enforcement they might be able to use. There are several options that your creditor could take such as an Income Payments Order where the money is taken directly from your wages, in order that the amount outstanding is paid.
Can I negotiate my payment arrangements with a bailiff?
If you can not afford to repay your debt now, it may be beneficial for you to send the bailiffs a copy of your income and expenditures. And explain that once your income increases, you will then be in a better position to increase your offer of payment.
Take a look at this article for information on stopping Marston group bailiffs.