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Enforcement Officers Arrived at my House This Morning(4 Posts)
Just over a year ago a long standing friend called to say he was being made homeless. It had got to the point of eviction by his local authority landlord; could I possibly take in his elderly cat. I said of course I could. I also said we are trying to sell our caravan, why not use that until you find somewhere / the caravan sells? He initially said no, but the next day said he had been planning on pitching his tent in the woods. At which point, I insisted he come to stay.
He lived with us for the past year. Never paid a penny in rent. I never wanted anything. Just to see him back on his feet with a job and renting somewhere.
I knew the reason for eviction was non payment of rent. I believed him when he said he had fallen into arrears when reapplying for housing benefit and had offered to repay in instalments but they had refused and taken him to court over it. The benefits had stopped and he had lost his job too. He just could not pay a penny at that time.
Approximately a month before he moved out of our home, a letter arrived from his ex local authority. I know it was from them because it had their name on the envelope. He promised he was going to speak to them (I now doubt he ever did). Since moving, he's had a letter from a mobile phone company and one asking him to contact them regarding a personal matter relating to him at a previous address to the one he was evicted from. Both have been contacted to say he doesn't live here. No more letters have arrived.
This morning I was getting out of the shower when the doorbell rang. Two men with Enforcement Officer tags at the door. DH answered but didn't check who they were, ask to see credentials, or any letter of authority. So no idea if they were rent a thugs or genuine High Court Enforcement Officers. White van with no markings also. They told DH who they were looking for, then DH told me to go and speak to them as I know our friends new address. I have 3 young children so this is the last thing I want for them. I gave his new address, confirmed I knew him and that he had lived here, that we've never had any financial arrangement and thought we were helping him out with an address so he could find a job and register with a GP.
But now I'm worried. Shouldn't enforcement officers only attend after some form of notification that they're going to do so? How much notice would be given? Nothing has arrived for him in the past 3 weeks or so.
Or were these men just people tracers? Dressed up to look the part?
I've got myself worried that someone is going to turn up when we are away. Then if we are not in, at some point forcible entry would be made. Imagine coming home from nursery pick up to find someone battering the door down.
Can they do this? How do I stop any other events like this?
As for my 'friend'. Well.... Part of me wants to phone him and give him an earful for letting it get to this point before talking to us and asking us for help, and part of me wants to never see him again.
Enforcement officers should by law have visible ID & usually wear a body camera.
A visit would be on the back of previous notifications informing your former lodger of an intended visit.
They are only allowed entry by peaceful means. This means they cannot enter any property through force.
You're therefore under no obligation to allow them entry.
Your former lodger should be aware that this is not going to disappear. He can apply for a dispersement of the debt which is known as a section 13a.
But that said, there is a lesson here for him. As frightening as it may appear, he needs to deal with this and not you. If they re-attend, ask for ID and raise a complaint with their agency.
Unfortunately if they are legitimate bailiffs and they manage to gain entry to your property (not allowed to use force, but can get in through an open window legally) they can seize goods to the debt value.
The onus is on you to prove, by receipts, that you own items.
It is a very unfair system.
Hopefully, as you have given an address, they won't return.
be careful they can take items belonging to another person if they have previously been let into a propetory and if you dont contact them within the 14 days they only have to give you the money they made from the items not the value of them (the debtor lived at the property prevously had arranged a debt management plan moved out contined paying for 6 months stopped and baleifs came to the properity and sized goods the new owners were on a exteneded trip to Austrilla so missed the deadline so are currently attempting to fight them in the courts to recoup the true value of the items
for example they sold a nearly new 52 inch flat screen bought 1 month priror for £4000 they sold it for £95........
Its a uphill struggle as the law is totally in the favour of the court enforcers and tough luck if they make a bloody mistake
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