• Certificated Bailiffs

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Certificated Bailiffs

As a creditor, you have various options available to you to help get your money back from a debtor. One of these methods is to instruct our certificated bailiffs. Here, we explain what our bailiffs can and can’t do when they visit the debtor, including when they can access a property, the debtor’s rights when our bailiffs call at their home and what happens if our bailiffs seize the goods from the debtor.

About Bailiffs

Our bailiff’s job is to seize assets belonging to the debtor so they can be sold and the money raised credited against the debt. Our bailiffs can also be used to evict tenants from a property, either commercial or residential. The process for eviction from commercial premises is very simple and can happen without a court process. Eviction from a residential property can be a little more complex, but we will be happy to answer your questions on this. For more information on using our bailiffs for eviction, see our residential tenant evictions section or call us on 0203 826 8386.

About Certificated Bailiffs & Enforcement Agents

  • When can you use our bailiffs?
  • How are bailiffs different from ‘debt collectors’?
  • The different types of bailiffs
  • Do bailiffs have to be authorised?
  • Does a bailiff have to provide notice to the debtor?
  • Bailiffs’ fees
  • Burlington can help

When can you use our bailiffs?

You can use bailiffs to recover judgment debts, i.e. debts that have been determined and decided by a court. Whilst the court process might seem a little daunting, it is a lot easier than most people think and many of our clients are able to obtain their own judgments using ‘Money Claim Online’, the HM Courts and Tribunals Service web portal.

What choices of enforcement officer do you have when enforcing a judgment?

When enforcing a court order, you will have a choice of using the County Court bailiff (who is employed by the court service) or a private firm of High Court Enforcement Officers, like Burlington. County Court Bailiffs work on a ‘flat fee’ basis, which will be the same regardless of outcome. High Court Enforcement Officers will generally charge fees (to the debtor) which may vary with the amount collected. Commercial landlords can also use our bailiffs to recover commercial rent arrears. Check out our website to see more on commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR).

How are bailiffs different from ‘debt collectors’?

Any person or firm collecting money on behalf of a lender might be referred to as a ‘debt collector’ but this does not mean they have the same powers as a bailiff. Only a bailiff acting under certain types of warrant or executing a court process can seize goods.

The different types of bailiffs

The term bailiff has fallen into common usage for an individual who collects debts on behalf of a creditor. However, there are various types of ‘bailiff’ and the debts that they are authorised to collect will differ. Burlington are able to offer a full suite of bailiff services, so regardless of your requirement, we can help. Call us now for a free assessment of your situation – 0203 826 8386. The common types of bailiff are as follows:


A private bailiff is typically a field debt collector who will be appointed by a creditor to negotiate with a debtor to collect payment. Private bailiffs will not have the power to seize assets and are not appointed or authorised by the courts.

Certificated Bailiffs or ‘Enforcement Officers’

An Enforcement Officer is authorised by County Court and will hold a ‘Bailiff’s General Certificate’. A certificated bailiff (or ‘Enforcement Officer’) is empowered to take control of goods to recover rent arrears due under a lease on commercial premises. Enforcement Officers are also authorised to collect certain types of public sector debt; Council Tax, Non-Domestic (Business) rates and parking fines being the most common debt types.

County Court Bailiffs

A County Court bailiff is a civil servant and is in the employment of HM Courts and Tribunals Service. A County Court bailiff will be tasked with enforcing orders granted in the courts, e.g. judgments for a sum of money or orders for possession of property.

High Court Enforcement Officers

High Court Enforcement Officers enforce judgment debts in much the same way as a County Court bailiff. An HCEO will act under a writ of execution and can enforce both High Court and County Court judgments that have been transferred to the High Court for enforcement purposes. Although not strictly ‘bailiffs’ as such, an HCEO or his assigned officer will carry out similar work to County Court or certificated bailiffs in that they are usually authorised to seize and remove goods from the defendant if payment is not made.

Do bailiffs have to be authorised?

Bailiffs collecting certain types of debt must be certificated. For example, only a certificated bailiff (and ‘Enforcement Officer’) can collect commercial rent or local authority debts under a legislative framework. Certificated bailiffs have to meet certain checks and competency requirements to qualify for a certificate from the County Court. A certificated bailiff will need to reapply for a certificate every two years and have a hearing before a circuit judge. All our bailiffs are certificated. High Court Enforcement Officers are sometimes loosely referred to as ‘bailiffs’ because they also seize goods. A certificated bailiff will often act under the instruction or authority of an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer to enforce a court order.

County Court and High Court orders

A High Court Enforcement Officer (or his designated Enforcement Officer) can enforce both County Court and High Court orders. Both are enforced by means of a High Court writ; for example, judgments or orders for the payment of a sum of money are enforced by Writ of Control (formerly Writ of Fi Fa). County Court orders will need to be transferred to the High Court before a High Court Enforcement Officer can act. A County Court bailiff can only enforce orders of the County Court and does so under a ‘warrant of execution’.

Rent arrears authorisation

Bailiffs can also be employed to recover commercial rent arrears. All that is required in order for a bailiff to act to recover commercial rent arrears is a Warrant, which is simply a written instruction from the landlord to the bailiff. For more information on recovery of commercial rent arrears. Please contact a member of our Client Service Team on 0203 826 8386.

Does a bailiff have to provide notice to the debtor?

From 6th April 2014, under new regulations, an Enforcement Officer will be required to provide seven clear days notice before he can attend to seize goods. Where the notice is provided by post, the notice will be subject to the usual CPR rules around postal service and the Sundays and bank holidays will not count as part of the notice period. In most cases where notice is posted, this will mean that the first visit will not be undertaken until the 12th day after the notice is dispatched. During this period, the defendant will have the option of paying the Enforcement Officer in full and limiting the costs of enforcement to just the ‘Compliance Stage’ fee of £75+VAT.

What are the next steps after the Compliance Stage?

The notice will also make the defendant aware of the ‘next steps’ that the Enforcement Officer could take if the notice is not satisfied, the associated costs of non-compliance and where to seek advice. Under the regulations, the Enforcement Officer has the option of applying to the court to make an order providing for a shorter notice period if he can satisfy the court that the debtor is likely to hide goods.

Bailiffs’ Fees

Generally speaking, the debtor under a judgment will pay our bailiffs’ fees for successful enforcement. These bailiff fees will be applied in accordance with The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. If we are unsuccessful when enforcing a High Court writ, we may invoice the judgment creditor £75+VAT to cover the costs of our attendance.

Burlington can help

Burlington offer all types of private bailiff services. We have comprehensive bailiff coverage across England and Wales including all the major cities; Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle. Our Principal High Court Enforcement Officer is authorised by the Ministry of Justice. We also provide field debt collection services across the UK, including Northern Ireland. Our client services team are available on 0203 826 8386 and will be able to provide you with further information.

  • Commercial Credit Team of the Year 2015

    Burlington were winners for Credit Today awards 2015

  • Voted Enforcement Team of the Year

    Burlington were voted Enforcement Team of the Year at the Debt collection Awards 2014

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Instruct Burlington Today

Let Burlington’s award-winning Enforcement Team help you recover outstanding debts. As Enforcement Agents and High Court Enforcement Officers, Burlington can assist with both general debt collection and judgment enforcement. So, whatever your enforcement requirements, let Burlington help you. To instruct Burlington to act for you simply complete an online instruction form.

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Burlington Group is a trading style of Burlington Credit Limited which is registered in England and Wales company registration number 05397925. The company’s registered office is at Rutland House, 8th Floor, 148 Edmund Street, Birmingham, B3 2JR.

Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for accounts formed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (amended 2006, Authorisation number FRN 625709). Burlington Group 2014.Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 612962) for the provision of reserved legal activities as a multi disciplinary practice licensed body pursuant to Rule 6.2 of the SRA Authorisation Rules for Legal Services Bodies and Licensable Bodies 2011