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i The advice on this page applies to residents in England and Wales only.

Bailiff and enforcement agents advice

Bailiffs’ fees and costs. What can a bailiff charge?

When a creditor uses a bailiff as part of the debt collection process, bailiffs’ fees are added to the total amount of the debt.

Bailiff charges vary and are added to the debt at different times during the collection process that the bailiff (also called an enforcement agent) should follow.

What do bailiffs charge?

Extra fees will be added to your debt when a bailiff is involved.

  • £75 will be added to your debt when the initial ‘Notice of enforcement’ letter is sent
  • £235 +7.5% of the debt’s value over £1,500 will be added when the bailiff makes their first visit
  • £110 +7.5% of the debt’s value over £1,500 will be added if the bailiff comes back to remove your goods
  • Other storage and auction costs will be added if your goods are removed and sold

For example, if you have a debt of £500, you refuse to make payment, and the bailiff takes your goods, the total fees added will be at least another £420, and probably a lot more than that.

Bailiffs’ costs are the same for all types of debt apart from when High Court Enforcement Officers are used for High Court writs. They have higher fees.

Bailiff fees are fixed in law, so the bailiff can’t charge you more than the standard amounts. This means that the bailiff can't keep adding more and more fees.

However older debts, where bailiffs got involved before April 2014 have different fees, and these may be higher.

Need help and advice on a bailiff debt?

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What happens if I don’t pay a bailiff?

If you don’t make payments the goods that have been taken into control will be removed and sold.

The bailiff will return, usually with a van or tow-truck, and take the goods listed in the inventory. They can’t take any extra goods which weren’t included in the inventory.

If you refuse to let the bailiff in they can apply to the court for a warrant to force entry. This will add extra costs to your debt.

If you try to physically stop a bailiff from taking your goods you could be arrested.

Once your goods have been removed, they’ll be taken to storage. You’ll be sent a letter stating the estimated value of the goods. Then they’ll be sold, usually at a public auction.

There’ll normally be at least 10 days between removal and auction, and you may still be able to make a last-minute arrangement to pay the debt in this time.

If the auction goes ahead, your goods will be sold and the money raised will pay off the debt and the bailiff’s fees.

If there’s any money left over it’ll be refunded to you. But if the auction doesn’t raise enough to clear the whole debt, your creditor can take further action to collect this from you. This might be further court action, such as an attachment of earnings or even bankruptcy.

Bailiffs coming? We can give you debt help

A letter or visit from a bailiff is sign that you need free and impartial debt help. We can give expert budgeting advice to help deal with the bailiff debt and manage your situation.

To build a budget and get a personal action plan to deal with your debts now, use our online debt advice tool. It’s free to use, confidential and you can start, stop and restart again at a time that suits you.

Or if you’d prefer to speak to us, call us (free from all landlines and mobiles).