Can Rundles Force Entry?
Since the aim of the article is to help readers in being able to answer the question of whether or not Rundles Bailiffs can force entry into their homes, we will discuss the rights and responsibilities of both bailiffs and residents in the case of debt collection. In addition to this, we will also explore the special circumstances under which some residents are classed as vulnerable and how they are to be treated during a house visit by bailiffs.
Can Rundles Force Entry?
No, Rundles cannot force entry into your house to recover the debt that you owe. If you are unable to pay back the debt to them, they have the authority to visit your home to recover the dues; however, they are not permitted to force entry or even visit at unreasonable times.
Being authorised, ethical enforcement agents, appointed by the court, Rundles Bailiffs have legal powers that allow them to collect debts such as unpaid:
- council tax
- business rates
- parking tickets
- commercial rent
However, Rundles are required to give a 7-day notice to the individual whose residence they intend to visit for debt collection, indicating a date and time of their visit. If you find their scheduled visit to be placed at an inconvenient time or date, you know that you will not be present at home, there will only be children younger than 16 years of age or a vulnerable family member at home, you can request a rescheduled visit.
That said, you cannot turn down a visit from Rundles. If they come to collect the debt that you owe, you should allow them inside and even if you are unable to clear the entire amount of your dues, you should pay as much as you can.
You can pay them either through an online 24/7 service, telephone, in person or a bank transfer. While you will find their contact details in the letter they send to you before visiting your home, below are their details for ready reference:
Rundle & Co. Ltd.
53 Northampton Road, Market Harborough
Leicestershire, LE16 9HB
Telephone No: 0800 0816000
In the other case, in extreme cases such as unpaid income tax, bailiffs have the right to remove assets and valuables such as a car, jewellery or even electrical equipment such as a television set or gaming console to recover the debt. In addition to this, they will also charge you an enforcement fee of £235.
The only exception to bailiffs being legally allowed to force entry into your home is when they are collecting unpaid court fines or income tax dues. In this case, too, they are only permitted to use reasonable force. This means that they can get a locksmith to open your door at a reasonable hour of the day (between 9 am and 6 pm); however, they cannot break down a door or use a window to force entry into your house.
If you are in a situation in which a bailiff is trying to force entry into your premises in an unreasonable manner you should immediately call the Bailiff Helpline on 0800 368 8133 or call 999 if you are being threatened by them.
What Should You Do If A Bailiff Visits Your Home For Debt Recovery?
If a bailiff visits your home for debt recovery, you should follow the below-listed steps for a smooth and successful interaction:
Ask the visitor to provide you with proof of their identity. Bailiffs are required by law to carry a badge, ID card or enforcement agent certificate that they show to residents to confirm their identity when they make house visits.
The next thing you should ask them is the name and contact details of the company that they represent. You don’t have to open your door to check their identification and can ask them to show them through the window or pass them through the letterbox.
If you are not satisfied with the identification documents they provide or they are unable to provide them, you should immediately call 999.
On the other hand, if you are satisfied with their identity confirmation, you still don’t have to open the door and can continue talking through the door, a window or step outside of your home to talk to them.
Meanwhile, there is no problem in allowing them to enter your home as well; but it is a personal choice. If you allow them into your home you are expected to either pay back your debt or work out a repayment plan with them which includes clearance of the dues that they are here to collect as well as their own fee.
If you are unable to agree to payment at all, they have the right to seize valuables from your home to cover the debt; or a part of it.
What Are The Rights Of Vulnerable Residents When Bailiffs Visit For Debt Recovery?
The following basic rules apply if someone is classed as a vulnerable resident:
- bailiffs cannot visit the premises when the vulnerable resident is alone at home
- they need to give them extra time in being able to respond to letters and demand
- generally, deal with vulnerable residents with extra care
The following list of individuals are generally classed as vulnerable in such cases:
- disabled, seriously ill or have mental health problems
- have children or are pregnant and are a single parent
- under 18 years old or older than 65 years
- unable to communicate well in English
In addition to this, if someone has experienced extreme emotional stress due to unemployment, the loss of a loved one or being a victim of crime, they are also classed as being vulnerable.
If the bailiffs ask for evidence of a resident’s vulnerable condition, you can share copies of the following documents with them:
- a doctor’s note explaining a health condition or disability
- a letter from the DWP about the benefits you claim
- a council tax bill indicating how many adults live in your home
If you need advice regarding dealing with debt, you can get advice online about debt as well.
The above discussion clearly highlights that Rundles Bailiffs cannot force entry into your house especially since their responsibility is to collect dues regarding council tax, business rates, parking tickets and commercial rent. It is only in the case of income tax dues or unpaid court fines that bailiffs have the authority to force entry.