under what circumstances do i have to let a bailiff enter my property?

Summary: this article will explain when an individual is NOT allowed to refuse entry to a bailiff.

As a general rule, bailiffs acting on behalf of the creditors of personal debt are only allowed to enter an individual’s property peacefully, i.e. they are not allowed to force entry. However there are certain circumstances which allow a bailiff entry even if the individual refuses.

The bailiffs have previously entered the property peacefully.

If a bailiff has been previously allowed entry, they will either have seized goods, or entered a Walking Possession Agreement with the individual. Either way, if they have reason to return, the individual may not refuse entry, and in extreme cases, the bailiff is allowed to force entry.

The bailiff is collecting unpaid fines.

If a bailiff is collecting unpaid fines (such as criminal fines), even if they have not gained a previous peaceful entry to the property, they are allowed to use force if required, though it is rare that a bailiff needs to take such action.

A bailiff is collecting from a commercial property.

A commercial property is considered to be a building with no residential or living accommodation attached, such as a warehouse for commercial business, or an office. The bailiff is required to have permission from the court in order to force entry.

The bailiff is collecting unpaid Income tax or VAT debt.

Again, providing permission has been granted by the court, a bailiff is allowed to force entry to a property; even they have not gained previous peaceful access.

The property is a flat.

If an individual lives in a flat, they should seek advice about the rights of a bailiff as in such circumstances, as providing they gain peaceful entry through the main entrance, they may be allowed to force entry into the flat itself, however the law is not clear in this respect.

(Information sourced from www.adviceguide.org.uk)