What is a bailiff?
This guide explains what a bailiff is.
A bailiff is a debt collector. Bailiffs have legal powers to collect certain types of debt and are certificated and approved to act as bailiffs by a court.
This is what makes bailiffs different from debt collectors although they are also known as 'Enforcement Agents' in the UK and 'Sheriffs' in Scotland.
Bailiffs typically visit your home or place of business to collect a debt payment from you. If you are unable to pay the debt using money, the bailiff will seek to obtain goods to the value of the debt.
Money raised through the sale of your goods is used to pay the debt you owe and to cover the bailiff's fees. Bailiffs are usually a last resort used by your creditors after they have asked you for payment.
Creditors normally (although not always) write to you before instructing a bailiff. If this has happened to you, you may be able to come to some arrangement with your creditor to avoid bailiff action. For more information on how to do this, see our get help dealing with bailiffs page.