The looming prospect of a visit from bailiffs can be daunting, but taking proactive steps to negotiate a feasible repayment plan may prevent their arrival at your doorstep and spare you from incurring additional charges. Even if bailiffs have already gained entry to your home, it’s not too late to engage in negotiation to stave off further actions.
Why Negotiate a Repayment Plan?
Negotiating a repayment plan is a prudent strategy, irrespective of whether you’ve received a Notice of Enforcement or not. It can deter bailiffs from paying you a visit and potentially save you from incurring additional fees. Even if bailiffs have already entered your premises, negotiation can still be a viable option to halt further actions.
Maintaining a commitment to making payments towards your debt, even if it’s not the full amount, can enhance your negotiating position with both bailiffs and creditors. This demonstrates your earnest effort to fulfill your financial obligations.
Options for Negotiation:
- Paying the Full Debt: If you have the financial means, consider paying off the entire debt promptly. This can prevent bailiffs from visiting, eliminate extra charges, and spare you the task of managing a repayment plan.
- Partial Payment: If you can cover a portion of your total debt but not the entire sum, contact the bailiffs directly to propose a reduced payment. Surprisingly, they may accept a lower amount since it expedites debt settlement, even if it falls short of the full debt.
- Installment Payments: Even if you can’t afford to pay off any part of your total debt upfront, you might be able to commit to smaller weekly or monthly payments. This option is more likely to gain traction if it aligns with your income and is a realistic proposition for you.
Negotiating the Repayment Plan:
Before initiating negotiations, prepare a budget sheet outlining your monthly income and expenses, revealing your disposable income. Share this sheet with the bailiffs, accompanied by a brief letter explaining your inability to pay the debt in full but expressing your willingness to make regular payments—either monthly or weekly.
Consider sending a copy of this letter and your budget sheet directly to your creditor, as they initiated the bailiff’s involvement and may be more receptive to your proposal. Their contact details can often be found on the Notice of Enforcement or by searching online.
If the bailiffs or your creditor agree to your repayment plan, request a written agreement signed by both parties as confirmation.
What to Do if Your Offer Is Rejected:
If your repayment plan offer is declined, continue making payments to your creditor whenever possible, even if they are modest. These payments demonstrate your commitment to honoring your financial obligations.
Should bailiffs refuse to negotiate, try engaging directly with your creditor. They may be open to a partial payment or alternative repayment plan, even if bailiffs have rejected your proposal. If your debt falls under the County or High Court jurisdiction, you can also explore the option of applying to the court.
If negotiating proves challenging, consider seeking assistance from an experienced debt advisor or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. They can facilitate discussions on your behalf, assist in creating a budget sheet, and determine an affordable repayment strategy.
Understanding Controlled Goods Agreements:
In cases where pre-negotiation with bailiffs is unfeasible, and they have already entered your property, a Controlled Goods Agreement may be established. This agreement lists items that bailiffs could potentially remove and sell to recover the debt. However, this process does not transpire immediately. You will retain possession and usage rights for these items, with the understanding that they cannot be sold. You will also have a window of time to secure the funds needed to settle your debts, including bailiff fees, or explore alternative repayment arrangements.
If you find yourself facing the prospect of bailiff visits, the experts at Bailiff Helpline are available to assist you in negotiating a repayment plan. Contact them at 0161 8260 585 or send a message today for guidance and support.