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View Full Version : "Mistaken identity? So what, I'm a bailiff."


Foxy Loxy
11th Jan 2009, 21:18
I think this one has slipped under the radar slightly.... Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere in JB, but I haven't seen it.

An Englishman's home is no longer his Castle (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/philipjohnston/4218091/An-Englishmans-home-is-no-longer-his-castle.html), from the Telegraph. It makes very interesting reading. Please take the trouble to read it all the way through.

This scares me an awful lot.

The powers of bailiffs to enter homes and seize property are wider today than they have ever been and are about to be strengthened further.
In 2003, I rented a flat and encountered all sorts of problems. It wasn't long before letters addressed to the previous tenants were landing daily on my doormat. These I left unopened until the entry phone was buzzed by the bailiffs one day. I didn't let them up, and there was no-one around to do so thankfully. I panicked and opened that pile of mail. By my reckoning, 7 companies were after the previous occupants for a sum in the region of £90k in defaulted loans.

My understanding of this article is that now the bailiffs have the right to barge in, seize your stuff, and the questions come later. It's up to you to prove your innocence. They can break down the door to get in, and use violence to restrain anyone who objects.

And who's to say that they even are bailiffs?

Ten West
11th Jan 2009, 21:31
We all need to register ourselves as self-emlpoyed Somali pirates so we can be beyond the law. :rolleyes:

You could surely bring a legal action of some sort against the directors of the bailiff outfit I would think? Must be some no-win-no-fee type out there who would fancy a percentage of the damages? :hmm:

Gertrude the Wombat
11th Jan 2009, 21:35
I panicked and opened that pile of mail.
You should not have done so. That's interfering with the mail.

You should not have had "a pile of mail" in the first place. You should have either forwarded to the addressee, if you knew where they'd moved to, or scribbled "gone away" on it and posted it. You never know, if you'd done what you were supposed to the bailiffs might never have turned up in the first place!

G-CPTN
11th Jan 2009, 21:38
Bailiffs do not have any right of entry and certainly cannot break in - unless you have previously invited them in . . . (and then they can return and force entry).
Best to consult proper websites.

Foxy Loxy
11th Jan 2009, 21:51
Gertrude, I didn't know what else to do. I was young and naive and a long way from home (alone), and I was scared. The bailiffs didn't get as far as the front door that day, and I subsequently passed the whole lot on to the letting agent to deal with. I also didn't know at that time that I shouldn't have done what I did.

G-CPTN, not so. From the link:
Her Majesty's Courts Service issued guidance to bailiffs about how their powers should be used. "If a person locks himself in their home, it might be reasonable to break open the door, but probably not to smash a hole in the wall," it advises.

In 2007, the Government extended these powers in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 to allow bailiffs to use physical force against householders to restrain or pin down them down.

FlyingOfficerKite
11th Jan 2009, 21:58
G-CPTN

Good advice.

A friend of mine recently had a 'problem' regarding Council Tax (he was in the right).

However the Council (unbeknown to him) had sent letters to his previous address, which were not forwarded.

When he registered for Council Tax at his new address, the Council immediately, and without checking his identity, applied to the court to recover the money. The bailiffs were instructed and tried to confiscate his property - particularly his car.

I advised him to seek legal advice, contact the Local Authority and ring the Bailiffs. He did all that, stating that the car was a 'tool of his trade' as it has duel controls for his work as a driving instructor.

The bailiffs (a reputable firm) backed off whilst the matter was determined.

Happy ending - but remember do NOT become intimidated by the bailiffs. Often they are 'bully boys' who will use your ignorance of the law to gain access to property and possessions for which they have no right - unless you, through intimidation, invite them in.

The law is clear and it would be best, in these circumstances, to contact a solicitor or the Citizens' Advice Bureaux before contemplating speaking or dealing with such companies.

KR

FOK :)

PS: If I ever had cause to be involved with bailiffs who 'pinned me down', they'd find themselves facing an assault charge. I can only suggest, without checking, that this comment is made out of context and that the true meaning relates to bailiffs using reasonable force against someone in default who takes physical action against the bailiff?

tony draper
11th Jan 2009, 22:07
Watched something on the Telly once about this,apparently lots of people including bailifs have a statutary right to pass through your front door,but some obscure medieval law says they have to ask your permission to enter and pass through your garden which of course you can refuse,so unless they can float they's fecked, forgot the name of this law now,this was a few years ago and the ones who sit on the benches have probably scratched it from the books by now as they cannot allow anything to impede the courts as acting as leg breakers for big business can they.
Still it's a despicable line of work to be in,it's one of those businesses the gangsters moved into, like wheel clamping or running Hospital car parks,much more lucrative working for the courts than selling drugs or running prostitutes.
:rolleyes:

west lakes
11th Jan 2009, 22:23
Reading the article it does make mention of the need for a warrant.
"These amendments give enforcement officers the power to enter premises to execute a warrant of arrest, commitment, detention or distress where the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the offender who is a subject of warrant is present."

The change seems to be that it allows the right of entry which I don't think was the case and the bit about restraining folks (probably to remove the need to involve the police)
We operate under different legislation and can gain warrants for entry to premises in connection with the abstraction of electricity, in our case we would often have a Police officer present, the warrant actually allowed the housowner/tenant to be removed from the property. Having said that we actually have a "statutory right of entry at a reasonable time" to inspect our property in any premises.

So the same rules of no warrant no entry still apply

Foxy Loxy
11th Jan 2009, 22:25
Flying Officer Kite,

Looking at the timings of our respective earlier posts, I believe we may have cross-posted, and perhaps you missed the quotation I responded to another with?

You said:
but remember do NOT become intimidated by the bailiffs. Often they are 'bully boys' who will use your ignorance of the law to gain access to property and possessions for which they have no right - unless you, through intimidation, invite them in.
From the linked article:
In 2004, it [Labour] introduced the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill, which contained a power to force entry in connection with unpaid fines imposed for criminal offences.
Dominic Grieve, the Tory spokesman and now shadow home secretary, smelled a rat but did not want to sound soft on fine dodgers. "We are about to give considerable powers to non-uniformed individuals… We are allowing them to enter private premises, which will not necessarily be the premises of the person whom they are seeking, to carry out searches… I am a little surprised that we are apparently introducing such potentially draconian legislation without paying real regard to the consequences on the ground on a day-to-day basis."
Her Majesty's Courts Service issued guidance to bailiffs about how their powers should be used. "If a person locks himself in their home, it might be reasonable to break open the door, but probably not to smash a hole in the wall," it advises.

lomapaseo
11th Jan 2009, 22:32
Bailiffs do not have any right of entry and certainly cannot break in - unless you have previously invited them in . . . (and then they can return and force entry).
Best to consult proper websites

That's probably why he brought it here

Foxy Loxy
11th Jan 2009, 22:35
West Lakes

That isn't the same rules. Before, the bailiffs did not have right of entry, now they do. As for allowing the restraining, are you really trying to you accept a change in the law to allow violence without the involvement of the police?

west lakes
11th Jan 2009, 22:41
Nope, don't agree with the restraining bit at all.
I think we see the same point on right of entry, before they didn't have one with a warrant, now they do - which I see as the change.
I still maintain that they will need a warrant though.

Foxy Loxy
11th Jan 2009, 22:47
Nope, don't agree with the restraining bit at all.

In 2007, the Government extended these powers in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 to allow bailiffs to use physical force against householders to restrain or pin down them down.

Neither do I!

Parapunter
11th Jan 2009, 22:53
As the law stands, bailiffs have no right of automatic entry unless invited in to a property.

However, if denied entry they can enter a property if they can find another means of access, such as an open window. Once inside, they can seize goods as required by the outstanding debt. If a bialiff forces entry having been denied by the householder, then that person can construe the entry as an intrusion and take the appropriate action. Of course in this country that means not laying a finger on the shaven headed thug lest you end up in clink for 10 years.

Standard Noise
11th Jan 2009, 22:55
The idea that bailiffs can now enter private property, possibly forcibly, is worrying. We had one such crowd round here about 4 years ago (one business like and one fat short haired tw4t in a black jacket - oh how I trembled) chasing a previous owner for unpaid court fines. They were told to f**k off in my strongest Belfast accent and check their facts before ever darkening my door again lest they have trouble with a flock of lead shot. Followed them up the drive muttering about brain dead a**eholes and made a show of noting down their number plate and make of vehicle. Never saw them again.

One owns two items that bailiffs cannot touch. Each item has two barrels. Kicking ones door down would be taken as a direct threat to the safety of one's wife and child and may well lead to said bailiffs inspecting said barrels at close range. The consequences can be sorted out at a later date. Shouldn't happen though, one is fastidious about making sure bills are paid.

west lakes
11th Jan 2009, 22:59
Apologies, just found this within the Act

Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (c. 15) (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2007/ukpga_20070015_en_29)

Puts a totally different light on it.

Entry without warrant

14 (1) An enforcement agent may enter relevant premises to search for and take control of goods.
(2) Where there are different relevant premises this paragraph authorises entry to each of them.
(3) This paragraph authorises repeated entry to the same premises, subject to any restriction in regulations.
(4) If the enforcement agent is acting under section 72(1) (CRAR), the only relevant premises are the demised premises.
(5) If he is acting under section 121A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (c. 5) (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1992/ukpga_19920005_en_1), premises are relevant if they are the place, or one of the places, where the debtor carries on a trade or business.
(6) Otherwise premises are relevant if the enforcement agent reasonably believes that they are the place, or one of the places, where the debtor—
(a) usually lives, or
(b) carries on a trade or business.


There is another section following on about Warrants, but too big to quote That section talks about reasonable force to enter premises though.

G-CPTN
11th Jan 2009, 23:17
The previous thread dealt with bailiffs who were seeking a previous tenant (as was Foxy's case). IIRC, once you have established that those sought no longer dwell there (and none of the property belongs to them), then the bailiffs should leave you alone.

G-CPTN
11th Jan 2009, 23:26
http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/223532-bailiffs.html
http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/333798-rental-property-help-needed.html

http://www.pprune.org/search.php?searchid=4646452

BlueWolf
11th Jan 2009, 23:40
What a shame you let them take your guns away. Standard Noise is onto it. Wouldn't happen at the Chez Wolf either.

An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject. Neither a good, innocent, and honest Government, nor a good, innocent, and honest Police Force, nor a good, innocent, and honest Judiciary, have anything to fear from an armed population. Etc....

corsair
12th Jan 2009, 00:36
Blue wolf, I'm quite sure that even in the Texas, shooting a bailiff dead would not be considered self defence or for that matter in New Zealand.

Standard Noise
12th Jan 2009, 01:07
Could try another tack 'hello, police? There's two men breaking into my house , they look like thugs and I'm here with my wife and child. I own two shotguns and I dread to think what might happen if they get hold of them! Help please!'

Then shout at bailiffs 'Go for it boys, men with machine guns are on their way and will be here shortly.'

Or could turn Lucyfer loose, she's chased off pikeys before, bailiffs wouldn't be a problem.

BlueWolf
12th Jan 2009, 02:08
I'm quite sure that even in the Texas, shooting a bailiff dead would not be considered self defence or for that matter in New Zealand.

If I were a betting man, I'd give you evens on Texas. Here, if I have identified myself to the person claiming to be a bailiff as being not the person he is seeking, and he continues to force his way into my house, I think I will have a reasonable case for self-defence based on my suspicion that he is not in fact who he claims to be, but rather an imposter masquerading as a bailiff for nefarious purpose. On that, I will take my chances in front of a jury. Juries here have grown increasingly unimpressed in recent years with the Government, Police, and the Courts' favouring of criminals.

Anyway, I might only wing him. Somewhere. ;):E

Scumbag O'Riley
12th Jan 2009, 10:44
Blue wolf, I'm quite sure that even in the Texas, shooting a bailiff dead would not be considered self defence or for that matter in New Zealand.I understand that you can legally do so in Texas but only during the hours of darkness and if he is on your property and in the process of removing goods. Self defence doesn't apply, you are protecting your property, and it's allowed to use deadly force if dark out.

FlyingOfficerKite
12th Jan 2009, 13:15
As might be expected, the truth of the matter is not so straightforward.

It seems there has been much discussion on the web regarding the powers granted to bailiffs (more correctly 'enforcement officers') under the the 2007 Act.

Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (c.15) defines the term 'enforcement officer' and sets out the procedure for taking control of goods. It mentions, amongst other things, the use of 'reasonable force' to ENTER the property, the giving of notice and the like. It does not suggest that the debtor is 'pinned down', or any other such implication.

Bailiffs who are not 'enforcement officers' have no rights under the Act, so the idea of private firms of bailiffs having powers to intimidate and force entry into a property under the Act is ill-founded.

As is always the case, the use of 'reasonable' force is not defined - it would depend on circumstances. However, Section 12, Part 1, Clause 24(2) states: 'A power to use force does not include power to use force against persons, except to the extent that regulations provide that it does.' (if you want to discover what those regulations are, you'll have to research that yourself!)

Whilst this Act does extend the powers of the courts to appoint enforcement officers to enter property to recover goods, the idea that bailiffs have powers to 'break and enter' and cause people physical harm in order to recover goods and property is unfounded.

KR

FOK :)

Mr Chips
12th Jan 2009, 21:09
Some years ago a girlfriend (at the time) of mine had baliff letters for a previous tenant. called the baliffs, dropped it in writing as requested, all done - in fact one accepted just a phone call. Except in cases of mistaken identity/address (like Foxy) most of us will never face baliffs, unless we ignore fines/court proceedings etc. There was an old tv programme following baliffs - worth a watch and may change your opinion!

cortilla
12th Jan 2009, 21:54
Never had the displeasure of having had baliffs at my front door so pardon my ignorance.

Say for whatever reasons they come to my front door and i open it as i can't see who they are. Then they put their foot in my door preventing me for closing it ( i know too many itv3 reality shows and the like) but i never invite them in (or is opening my front door implicitly inviting them in) and specificly ask them to leave my property and the grounds. What are my rights in getting the foot out of the door as it were??

Just curious not expecting the unfreindly knock for whatever reason

Impress to inflate
13th Jan 2009, 00:51
Many years ago as a junior co-pilot, I bought a nice house in the country, got it at a good price as the former owners had to move to the US for work. Six weeks after moving I started getting phone calls at all times of the day and night from banks and credit companies demanding that I settle there accounts. I explained to them all that I was the new owner of the house and the former ownwers now live in the states. This went on for months, then late one winters night, the door bell rang and two HUGE men in badly fitting suites, one holding a baseball bat demanded that I pay my account now. I explained that I was not the man they were looking for and showed them my airport ID card, they seemed happy(ish) with that and left. Left me shook up with a wife and 2 small kids in the house. It turned out the former owners owed about 90k to 5 banks and loan companies, jumped to the states to start again.

G-CPTN
13th Jan 2009, 01:13
Hope you had 'good title' to the property . . .

What are my rights in getting the foot out of the door as it were??Depends on how many 'you' are (and what size . . . )
Your word against theirs I'm afraid.

Captain Stable
13th Jan 2009, 08:43
I had the bailiffs take my car away one night - at about 03:00.

It was for non-payment of a parking ticket which I had never received (at the time it was issued I could prove I was 200 miles away) and I had never received any letters about it. I was not even aware that it was bailaiffs whom I had seen hoisting my car onto a low-loader and driving away (I had been woken up by the alarm going off). They clearly had a lock-up garage available close by to put the car in to silence the alarm.

I found out much, much later, after my car had been sold for about £200 at auction (it was worth around £5,000) that it was suspected there was a network going. It works like this:-

Recruit a traffic warden and someone in the Court Office. (Not hard - bailiffs hang around the courts all the time and become friends with the officials.)
Identify a car you'd like to nick.
Have traffic warden issue a ticket for the relevant car, and quietly bin the ticket itself.
Let the normal course of events run until it's time to issue a summons.
Have friendly court official bin the notice of prosecution (and all other court-issued stuff) before it hits the mail.
Wait for court to issue proceedings to bailiffs.
Go and get car in the dead of night in circumstances that make it look as if the car has been stolen (even though it has).
Wait for two weeks. The legal owner, as I did, will spend a lot of time chasing up the police who won't have a clue. Just to make sure, never, ever answer your phone - keep people hanging onto automated call systems, and if they leave a message, don't get back to them.
At the end of two weeks, flog the car at auction to yourself under another name.
Bob's your uncle.

Real owner will not be able to prove a thing - as far as the court is concerned everything seems to have been handled legitimately.

G-CPTN
16th Jan 2009, 16:42
A 78-year-old man from Accrington collapsed and died from a heart attack after being taken to a cash machine by a bailiff to pay a £60 speeding fine.
Retired pub landlord Andy Miller had only been released from hospital a fortnight before following an earlier heart attack in October.
The father-of-five collapsed on his way to a cash machine while the bailiff parked and waited for the money.
"The bailiff called at his house and said he had to make a payment, otherwise they would bring a delivery van and locksmith. He said they would get into the property and take goods and there was nothing he could do about it.

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Lancashire | Man dies during visit by bailiff (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/lancashire/7833530.stm)

Dr747
16th Jan 2009, 19:47
That's why i love self defence laws of Pakistan. Read a story in a newspaper with a chap being given a cheque for his bravery by police chief... Story ws on the lines that two guys jumped in his house and ended up on the garden grass with holes in their head then the nature had indended. Apparently this retired major used his double barrel in the early hours of the morning without any warning in his self defence and was given a bravery medal and prize...HHHHmmmmmm only if we have the same rules here!!!I would love to see baliffs trying to get into a house.
Only once baliffs came to my home to collect someone's about £100 pound and that person had never lived at my address, atleast not in last 40 years. I just showed them my passport to prove that i am not that person and my 6 month old son could not have owned that sort of money hence just accept my ID. They did leave, a bit unhappy though as apparently they had tried visiting us on atleast 3-4 previous occasion and noone was at home and they did not leave any notes.

Mr Chips
16th Jan 2009, 22:02
wow Captain Stable, thats the most amazing conspiracy theory ever!

I'm not trying to be a cheerleader for baliffs (I've been on the end of their huge incompetence before) but when you see som eof the people they deal with, people who have ignored letter after letter allowing £30 fines build up into the hundreds...

I don't work with baliffs, but my company do licence a clamping company to operate on our prperty. I get the phonecalls from "innocent" motorists who are being "victimised" by the clampers...and then when you investigate you prove that the clampers are entirely within their rules as to what they have done! I guess the same is often true for baliffs

gingernut
16th Jan 2009, 22:39
Best way of dealing with them is to shut the windows and doors, and give'em the Harvey Smith.

It always worries me when well established doctrines such as The Right to Silence, The Burden of Proof (ASBO's) and The English Man's Home become erroded by the all powerful state, of which, I must admit, I have an inherent distrust.

Having said that, I wonder if the law had to be changed to stop people taking mickey.:confused: