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Bailiffs

© Brian Gurrola

Every year, tens of thousands of people experience unacceptable and sometimes aggressive harassment at the hands of bailiffs. For decades Citizens Advice called on successive governments to do something about these out of control bailiffs, but little action was taken.

Our report showed how councils use bailiffs to enforce council tax arrears. [Adobe Acrobat Document 160 KB]

Evidence from our bureaux across England and Wales showed many cases of bailiffs overstating powers and behaving aggressively. In an analysis of over 400 cases of private bailiffs collecting debt, 39 per cent of private bailiffs threatened to force their way into people’s properties and 29 per cent threatened to seize goods belonging to someone else – neither of which they have the power to do.

Our campaign called for the following:

More information

For more information on what reform has been promised and what has been delivered, as well as the action Citizens Advice has taken around bailiffs since the 1990s, download our bailiffs timeline [Adobe Acrobat Document 210 KB].

Need advice about bailiffs?

For more information on bailiffs, including what they can and cannot do, visit our dedicated self-help website Adviceguide.

Citizens Advice