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    It is a bailiff’s method to see whether a property is empty. A document would otherwise be taken in when the occupant comes home. This is the practice of burglars and criminals checking whether a house is empty. It also finds out if the document provokes a reply as a method of tracing missing debtors. It can also be to attract an enforcement stage fee.

    Bailiffs leave a document hanging out from the letterbox without knocking the door

    It is the practice of many bailiff companies to leave documents hanging out of your letter-box without knocking the door.

    There are a number of reasons:

    Fraud. To avail the bailiff to the statutory £235 attendance fee without attending. High Court writs attract further visit fees using this method

    Phishing. To find out if the debtor is living at the address and hope they telephone the bailiff on the number on the document

    Empty Property Check . The bailiff will drive-by later to see if anyone has taken in the document.

    Bogus Caller. Give it to the police.

    The £235 fee scam

    The Enforcement stage fee is payable when the bailiff first attends the address. Regulation 5(b) of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

    Bailiff companies exploit Regulation 5(b) by employing non-certificated persons to go round a list of addresses and do hit & run by sticking a document into your door and running away. They charge it as a visit.


    Bailiff companies often use this practice and take the law into their own hands. They try tracing gone-away debtors using a “locksmiths” document. They short-list a number of addresses they think the debtor is living and put a strong-worded bailiffs notice through the door.

    The bailiff will wait to see if anyone calls him and “confirms” their name and address,- and the debtor has been “traced” and enforcement action starts. This is actually illegal because the creditor must restart the enforcement process from over at that new address.

    If you contact the bailiff from your mobile, then you will get nuisance text messages and calls from the bailiff saying he is outside your home with a locksmith.

    Paragraph 52 of the Taking Control of Goods: National Standards 2014 states;

    Enforcement agents should, so far as it is practical, avoid disclosing the purpose of their visit to anyone other than the debtor or a third party nominated by the debtor, for example an advice agency representative. Where the debtor is not seen, the relevant documents must be left at the address in a sealed envelope addressed to the debtor.

    Empty Property Check

    It is the modus operandi of burglars to discover whether a property is occupied. They place a flyer hanging out of a letter-box, then return to the property later to see if it has been taken in.

    The hit & runner will never knock the door to give away their appearance.

    Hand the document to the police.

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