If you’re struggling to keep up with debt repayments or have failed to pay debts you owe, you may be threatened with action from Enforcement Agents commonly known as Bailiffs. This page explains what an Enforcement Agent is and when they can be used to collect debts.

An Enforcement Agent is someone who has a legal power to collect certain debts. They may do this by asking you to pay what you owe, or by taking and selling your belongings to raise the money. An Enforcement Agent can either be a court official or employed by a private firm.

If you owe money, an Enforcement Agent may visit your home to see if anything you own can be sold to pay the debt. Any money raised from selling belongings is used to pay the Enforcement Agents fees and charges as well as the debts you owe.

Enforcement Agents are only normally used when the people you owe money to, also known as creditors, have tried other ways to get you to repay your debt. You will normally get a warning that your creditors are considering using Enforcement Agents to get you to repay your debt. If you haven’t already contacted your creditor, this is the time to do so. By discussing your problems paying the debt you owe, you may be able to come to an arrangement with your creditor and avoid enforcement action altogether.

When can Enforcement Agents be used?

Enforcement Agents can only be used for certain types of debts. These include:

Council Tax and Business Rates
Parking penalties
County Court Judgements (CCJs)
High Court Judgements
Magistrates’ Court Fines and Compensation Orders
Child Support
Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT
Commercial/Business Rent
For more information on debt please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau Consumer Helpline