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Bailiffs

What is a Bailiff? 

There are two types of bailiff, those employed by the court and those employed by private companies. This guide refers to the county court bailiffs and is intended to be a guide for tenants in rent arrears and for owner-occupiers in mortgage arrears. You may also find it useful to read the information on 'mortgage arrears and 'losing private rented accommodation'. If you receive a bailiff warrant please urgently contact us for Housing Advice, 01202 633804

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Legal Terms

Notice of appointment (with bailiff)
This notice from the court gives details of the date and time of eviction by a bailiff It is normally sent by the court to the defendant in advance.

Defendant
The person against whom action is being taken in the courts, usually you.

Plaintiff
The person taking the action.

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I have received a Bailiff's Warrant (Application Notice N244)

If you receive a bailiff's warrant, it means that you landlord/lender has applied to the county court for a warrant of possession, following a court hearing. You should be aware of any possession order made. The landlord/lender does not have to inform you of the application to the court to evict you. Occasionally this may happen and you could have bailiffs turning up at your door to evict you. Your landlord cannot evict you until a warrant has been obtained. The eviction can only take place at the date and time shown on the warrant.

As soon as you receive the warrant:

  • Read the warrant carefully and note the date and time

  • Try to contact your landlord/lender to negotiate further with them

  • Apply to the court to suspend the warrant

  • Seek advice

If you receive a bailiffs warrant it is important that you get advice immediately. You can contact Housing and Community Services, the Citizen's Advice Bureau or a solicitor, all of which will try to help you. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for free or low cost advice from a solicitor under the legal aid scheme. If you are not sure whether you qualify, check with your solicitor. 

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How do I apply to the court to suspend the warrant?

In some circumstances it may be possible to get the eviction suspended or postponed. The court will need evidence that there is a good reason for this. For example:

  • Your circumstances have changed so that there are good reasons why you have been unable to keep up payments - e.g. difficulties in claiming benefits, non-payment of a standing order because of a mistake by your bank

  • You did not attend the original hearing because of illness or because you did not receive the summons

  • The terms in the original court order were not realistic

  • You have not breached the court order, and have maintained payments as agreed

  • You have arranged alternative accommodation, but it is not available within the time the bailiffs are due to evict you.

The court will decide whether the reason you have given is justifiable. You should be aware that the court also has the right to refuse an application for a bailiff's warrant to be suspended. You can apply for a bailiff's warrant to be suspended more than once, although the court may be less sympathetic. 

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What action do I need to take?

You need to complete form N244 (this can be obtained from the court or Housing and Community Services) and take it to the court office in support of your application. You must do this as quickly as possible. You will be given a date and time to come back and see the judge or district judge.

You should think carefully about how much you could realistically afford to pay off the arrears. If possible pay off all the arrears.

Get advice to make sure you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled.

Advise your landlord/lender of your application to suspend the warrant, and why. They may agree to withdraw the warrant and save the court hearing. If this happens you should get a letter from your landlord/lender confirming that they have accepted your proposals and that they have cancelled the warrant.

Prepare for the court hearing. You will need to tell the judge of the problems you have had, why you have failed to pay the amount agreed at the possession hearing, your income and expenditure, family details and why you think you can now keep up payments but could not in the past. 

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What happens at court?

Arrive at court early and find out where the hearing will take place. Tell the court usher that you have arrived, and then wait until you are called. You will be shown into a room, which is usually the judges or the district judges chambers.

Give your reasons for your application to suspend the warrant. It may be best to rehearse the information you want to give, and to provide written evidence/proof of your information. The judge may ask questions of you and your landlord/lender. The landlord/lender will be asked of any objections or proposals. The judge will then decide. 

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The Decision

If the decision is successful

You should contact the bailiffs office immediately and advise them of the decision. Ensure that you make all payments as agreed, as just one missing payment can result in another warrant being issued.

If the decision is Unsuccessful

Get further advice immediately, contact your landlord/lender again and ask for more time. 

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The Eviction

If you are still in the property at the eviction date, the usual procedure is for a bailiff to escort you from the property and change the locks, with your belongings having been placed outside. It may be possible for your belongings to be left inside, and arrangements made with your landlord/lender for collection at a later date.

Do not leave it to the last minute. Freefone Housing Advice on 01202 633804

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Contact Details

Email
housingadvice@poole.gov.u
k

Telephone
01202 633804

Text Relay
18001 01202 633805

Address
Housing and Community Services
Civic Centre
Poole
BH15 2RU

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