What does reasonable force mean for enforcement agents?

Although many people may have heard the phrase “reasonable force” before, this is most likely in the context of a homeowner defending themselves from an intruder. However, for enforcement agents, the definition of reasonable force is markedly different.

Enforcement agents are permitted to enter a building if they can get in using an unlocked door or gate, below is detailed what happens if this is not the case.

When can reasonable force be used?

In the large majority of cases, enforcement agents or bailiffs cannot force entry into your home or business. The exceptions to this include: if the enforcement agent is following up on magistrates’ court fines, if they have been given a court order either to collect a debt or debts which are owed to HM Revenue and Customs or allowing them to enter a different property which the bailiff believes has been used to hide belongings to prevent them from being seized.

Reasonable force includes

In the small amount of cases where reasonable force is permitted, an enforcement agent may: break the lock or hinges on a door to force it open, force a gate open, use boltcutters or a similar tool to cut a padlock and chain that is restricting entry through a door, gate or loading bay and break down a vehicle security barrier. (This isn’t an exact list, there are other steps that may be taken.)

Reasonable force does not include

Bailiffs cannot enter a property by using force such as pushing their way past someone to get inside. They cannot enter if only children under 16 or vulnerable people are present or between the hours or 9 pm and 6 am. Gaining entry through anything other than the door is also prohibited.

If reasonable force is not granted then an enforcement agent cannot enter the premises unless they are invited inside.

If you have questions about any other rules and regulations that surround bailiffs in Bristol then get in touch with Able Investigations. Our team has over 20 years of experience in recovering debts in the most effective ways while still abiding by the law. Give us a call on 0845 370 7401 or fill out our contact form.

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