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Eviction by bailiffs after repossession

Who are bailiffs?

Bailiffs who evict people from repossessed properties are usually employed by the local county court.

Some lenders use high court enforcement officers (HCEOs) to carry out an eviction. These are private bailiffs who are authorised by the high court.

The bailiff's job is to give the repossessed property back to your lender. You and anyone living in your home will have to leave.

You can stay in your home right up until the date of the bailiff's eviction warrant if you need to. You can move out before then if you have somewhere else to stay.

When bailiffs can be asked to evict you

Eviction is the final stage of mortgage possession action.

The lender can ask bailiffs to carry out an eviction if the court has made:

  • an outright order and the date for possession has passed

  • a suspended possession order and you break the terms of the order

What the lender must do

The lender must:

  • apply for an eviction warrant from the court

  • provide evidence if you've broken the terms of a suspended order

There will not usually be a hearing but the lender must send a notice to your home to say they've applied for a warrant.

The notice may be addressed to the tenant or the occupier.

You could be evicted 14 days after this notice unless you take action. Find out how to stop an eviction after a repossession hearing.

If you're a tenant in the property

Find out if you can stop or delay an eviction if your landlord defaults on their mortgage.

When you get an eviction date

You will get another letter with the date of the eviction once it has been scheduled.

The lender will usually use county court bailiffs to carry out an eviction.

How soon it happens depends on how busy the local county court bailiffs are. If they use high court enforcement officers (HCEOs) it will usually be quicker.

You'll get 14 days notice of eviction from the bailiffs or HCEOs. The notice tells you:

  • the time and date of the eviction

  • what you can do about it

  • contact details for the bailiffs and the lender's solicitor

It's still not too late to take action. You may be able to ask the court to suspend the warrant or postpone the date for eviction.

You can also ask for help from your local council. They can give advice and practical help.

What happens when an eviction takes place

If you're still in the property, the bailiffs will show you identification and ask you to leave.

A locksmith will usually change the locks once you've left. 

The lender's agent will also be there. The bailiffs give the keys to them.

How bailiffs should behave

Bailiffs must act reasonably. They are not allowed to:

  • use violence, threaten or harass you or other people in your home

  • cause damage to your belongings

  • use offensive language

They can force entry if necessary but they should give you time to leave first.

Removal of belongings

You should arrange for removal and storage of your furniture and possessions before the eviction takes place.

Your belongings will be locked inside the property unless you remove them. 

The lender only has to take care of your possessions for a limited period. 

The lender usually writes and asks you to collect your belongings by a certain date. For example, within 2 weeks of the eviction. They could take steps to dispose of your belongings if you don't collect them by the date stated.

The council can help with storage of your belongings if you're homeless or facing homelessness. They can make a reasonable charge for this.

Last updated: 23 November 2022

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