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Repossession: Bailiffs and how to challenge them

by | Feb 17, 2023 | Blog Bits | 0 comments

There are many layers within the repossession property route and we feel this blog is an important read. In this Quick Property Sale article you will find a brief insight into the part of the repossession court bailiff’s role and how to challenge them. (Also, please view the related repossession subject list at the end of this blog).

Who is a repossession bailiff and what are their duties?

Repossession bailiffs are people who will evict you from a property being repossessed, and are normally employed by the local county court. At other times they may be private bailiffs appointed by the High Court. When a court repossession order is made the bailiff’s job is to give the repossessed property back to your mortgage lender.

When can bailiffs be sent to evict you?

When the court grants an ‘outright possession order,’ you are given a date to leave your property. If you do not vacate your home by this date, your mortgage lender then applies to the court for a repossession bailiff to evict you (bailiffs are not automatically sent to remove you after a court order). The lender applies to the court for a ‘warrant of possession’. The warrant allows the bailiffs to remove you from your home. Bailiffs can also be sent if you do not maintain the terms of a ‘suspended possession order’ too.

Notice from your lender and the bailiffs

Your mortgage lender must send you a notice to your property informing you they have requested the court to send bailiffs to evict you. You will receive this notice a minimum of 14 days before the eviction date. The bailiffs must also give you notice of the time and date they are arriving. A ‘Notice of Eviction’ (form N54) is posted to you or they will visit your home leaving the form there. You should receive the N54 at least 2 or 3 days before the bailiffs’ appointed visit is due.

What happens when bailiffs evict you?

Bailiffs usually attend during normal office hours. Ensure you ask to see their identification as they must carry this with them all the times. If you are still in the property the bailiffs will insist you leave. They may wait a short time for you to collect your final belongings, but they do not have to do so. If you don’t remove your belongings they will be left locked inside the property and you must make arrangements with your lender to collect at a later date. Your lender can take steps to dispose of your belongings if they are not collected within a reasonable period, for example 14 days.

The bailiffs will certainly change the locks to make sure you cannot re-enter the property and your lender’s agent or solicitor may well also be present when the bailiffs arrive.  Also, the bailiffs can telephone the Police to attend the eviction, if you become troublesome, to alleviate any disturbance. 

How should bailiffs behave?

Bailiffs must conduct themselves in a professional manner and must not use unreasonable force. They are not allowed to use offensive language, acts of violence, harass or threaten you or other people in your property.

Can you request a court to stop or delay bailiffs?

You may be able to ask a court to stop or delay the repossession after you have been notified the bailiffs are due. You would need to apply to the court for an urgent court hearing. The judge only authorises this if they decide it is reasonable to do so.

What can you ask the court to do?

You might have a valid reason to prove to the court that the bailiffs should be postponed, such as you need to find elsewhere to live. Stopping the bailiffs? You may also be able to ask the court to stop the bailiffs. In this instance you can request the court to set aside the ‘warrant for possession.’ Reasons that you may be able to do this include if you were not informed about the court hearing at which the court ordered your home to be repossessed, or you have been ill, or you were away and were not aware of the situation, you have found a buyer (it could be quick sales property or house quick sale) for your property or your situation has changed (for example you have a new job).

Using ‘property for quick sale’ companies has speed advantages which sometimes could help to prevent you from losing your equity (if any) in your home, rather than it being lost in the repossession process.

And finally

In our series of repossession Blog Bits, here is a list of our other repossession articles you may find useful:

Facing Repossession? How does the procedure work – explained
Voluntary Repossession Explained
Preparation for attending a Court Hearing
Repossession Hearings at a County Court
Attending a Repossession Court Hearing

Should you wish to know more or require help about any level of property repossession, please get in touch with Quick Property Sale UK, our contact number is at the top of our website. Otherwise, you can contact the CAB (Citizens Advice bureau) directly, who can give you a more unbiased guide on what to do and expect from bailiffs.


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