Knowing the basics about bailiffs in the province can be a little confusing. We’re going to explain how we fit into the equation when it comes to bailiffs in BC.
There are two types of bailiffs in BC; licensed bailiffs and court-appointed bailiffs. There are different rules for each type of bailiff.
Unsure who you’re dealing with?
It can be difficult to tell who you are dealing with. Most bailiffs do both kinds of work, which is why they also choose to hold a licence with us. It comes down to the work they are performing at any given time. If they are enforcing a court order, they are a court-appointed bailiff. If they aren’t enforcing a court order, they are acting as a licensed bailiff.
When bailiffs are not acting on a court order, they are acting as a debt collector and they must be licensed with us and follow the debt collection and consumer protection laws that we oversee.
Licensed bailiffs typically collect money that is owed as result of a contract. They carry out non-judicial remedies and act without court supervision, but they must follow BC’s debt collection laws. For example:
- Bailiffs must conduct themselves in a professional manner and they are not allowed to communicate in a way that qualifies as harassment (including using threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language)
- Bailiffs cannot remove personal property from a debtor’s home, without an adult resident of the home present
- When collecting or attempting to collect a debt the bailiff is prohibited from supplying any false, or misleading information to the consumer or to misrepresent themselves in any way.
- A bailiff is prohibited from moving property that has been repossessed, seized or distrained more than 100 KM from the location it was seized, repossessed or distrained, unless they received written consent from the debtor or the Director of Consumer Protection BC.
If you have any questions or concerns related to how a bailiff is collecting debt, you can contact us for help.
Court bailiffs are appointed by the Attorney General under the Sheriff Act and they are legally authorized to enforce (civil) court orders. The most common court orders of this nature include a writ of possession, a writ of seizure and sale and an order of seizure and sale. Court bailiff services include the court-ordered removal of a tenant and their belongings from a residence. There is a charge for these services.
Some court bailiffs hold a licence with us, but it is not required to perform court-ordered tasks and we have no oversight over these types of bailiffs.
If you have an issue with a court bailiff and you can’t resolve it with them directly – you can report your concerns to the Ministry of Justice.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
24 thoughts on “What you need to know about bailiffs”
Thanks for information as I had no idea how these things worked
Hi Dave! No problem. Happy you enjoyed the content. Please let us know if you have any questions!
I’m wondering what credentials and qualifications are needed to become a licensed Bailiff. What training is a Bailiff required to have to become licensed and who or what governing body issues the licenses? I use the services of the court Bailiff in removing tenants and their belongings and I’m interested in learning the regulations.
Hi Leslie, thanks for your questions. Okay, so – please bear with me, because the rules around bailiffs are a bit confusing. Here at Consumer Protection BC, we oversee certain laws around debt collection. When bailiffs are NOT acting on a court order (court bailiff), they are acting as a debt collector and must follow the laws we oversee around debt collection. If you would like information about how a bailiff can get licensed to collect debt, visit this page here.
You mention you use the services of a court bailiff. Like the blog post says, there are different rules for each type of bailiff. Most bailiffs do both kinds of work, which is why they also choose to hold a licence with us. It comes down to the work they are performing at any given time. If they are enforcing a court order, they are a court-appointed bailiff. If they aren’t enforcing a court order, they are acting as a licensed bailiff.
Some court bailiffs hold a licence with us, but it is not required to perform court-ordered tasks and we have no oversight over these types of bailiffs. If you would like information about enforcing an order of possession from the Residential Tenancy Branch as a landlord, or what kinds of regulations must be followed by bailiffs enforcing a court order, I would suggest you reach out to either the Residential Tenancy Branch or the Ministry of Justice – as those areas are outside our legal authority.
I hope this is helpful and best of luck!
Several years ago I contacted an environmental company via phone to have ask them to have a look at vegetation on a property I was considering purchasing. I was told over the phone they would go look and it would cost approx 100 dollars. I received a short email a few hours later as they had looked and provided me with some advice. I was then sent a bill for well over three times what I was quoted. I didnt sign anything, didnt even enter the business itself. After inquiring regarding the egregious price increase, I didnt receive any correspondence and am now getting calls from a collections agent here in British Columbia. I am wondering if in a situation like this, a collections agent is able to put this on your credit score?
Hi KG, thanks for taking the time to explain your situation. That sounds frustrating. When a debt has been sent to collections, it may affect your credit score. That said, you are within your right to dispute a debt if you don’t believe you owe it. When you dispute a debt, you’re telling the collector and the original creditor that you don’t believe you owe the debt and you want the issue to be taken to court for resolution. Head to this page on our website and follow the instructions under “I want to dispute the debt”: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumer-help/debt-collection/ I hope this helps and best of luck!
Can a bailiff contact my landlord to get contact information for me and my wife and see if we live there. They are trying to collect on an unpaid credit card. The landlord told us they contacted him and said we owe money. The bailiff has since called my wife and told her there sending a bailiff after her to. whatever that means? It’s my credit card and has nothing to do with her.
Hi Jim, is your bailiff licensed with us? Or is it a court-appointed bailiff? If they are not court-appointed, they should be licensed with us and they act as a debt collector. If that is the case they need to follow the debt collection rules in BC. Generally speaking, collectors must not discuss the details of your debt with another person without your permission. However, they can contact a family member, friend or acquaintance to confirm your contact information. Please have a read through about bailiffs here, then debt collectors here and if you are not sure or think they’re not following the law, please submit an official complaint online with us here. Thank you, Jim!
I had a baliff leave a homemade card fill in the blank name at my door 2 months ago. He only wrote my first name in the blank. He was on video surveillance at my door loose papers in hand during covid. I texted asking who this was from and what was this about and received no response. Today he showed up again on surveillance at the door then sent a text saying if I avoid accepting papers he will put a court document, and his affidavit on the door. He left no card. Why is he not telling me who and what it’s about also trying to serve me personally during a pandemic? His intimidating text if I don’t accept seems unprofessional.
Hi Lisa, do you know if your bailiff is licensed with us or if they’re a court-appointed bailiff? Please give us a call (1.888.564.9963) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can further assist you with this. Thank you!
Hi Amanda. A bailiff came to my house to repossess my car, saying I haven’t paid my loan for 166 days. However, I haven’t missed 1 payment what so ever, and I can prove it.i have no idea what is going on, if it is some sort of fraud, or maybe a mistake from my bank, or even from the debt collection company. How can I proceed with this? I am concerned that he might come and take my car when I’m not home.
Hi Luis, have you had any contact with a debt collector? If so you have the right to ask for the details of the debt from them. It’s possible that they have mistaken you for someone else. We have more information on Bailiffs here and debt collection here. Have a look at the information there and if you have more questions on how to proceed, please contact us.
I had a balliff show up with a writ of possession for my place, saying the RTB already did a notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent and told me to get my stuff and leave now. I had no idea what was going on as all the documents had my Ex-girlfriends name on them and she moved out over 2 months(lived there for 4 years, been on month to month for 6 months) before that. The landlord knew she was moving out as she emailed him a 1 month notice. The balliff wouldnt listen to me at all even when I pointed out she doesn’t and hadn’t lived here for 2 1/2 months. These court documents have nothing to do with me. Help???
Hi Shane, thank you for getting in touch with us. We do not license court-appointed bailiffs but the government of BC website has some information as well as contact email. Here is the link – I hope you will be able to resolve the issue quickly.
About 3 weeks ago I had a random dude knock on my door while I was at work asking for me. He was told I was at work and to give me a call. He called and I missed it. 3 days later he showed up again with a tow truck after I was home from work and took my car. He didn’t offer me any kind of document or notice of seizure or any credentials. I have received nothing from my bank indicating the amount I owe to get the car back. I called the Bailiffs office and they said they don’t provide that document and that I need to get it from my bank. I called my bank and they told me I need to get it from the bailiff. My bank acted as tho my account was still active basically trying to arrange payment for a car that is no longer in my possession. I absolutely did not surrender this vehicle nor did I sign anything saying so. I dont know what to do at this point.
Hi there, thanks for your question. This sounds frustrating, but we can help point you in the right direction. Bailiffs are allowed to seize property on the behalf of a business or as part of a contract. If you want to learn more about your debt, you have the right to do so, and can use this form on our website under” I want the details of my debt”: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumer-help/debt-collection/#I%20want%20the%20details%20of%20my%20debt.
I would suggest continuing to try and resolve the issue through your bank and the bailiff. If you want to learn more about BC’s debt collection rules and how this applies to bailiffs, you can also explore this page here: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumer-help/consumer-information-bailiffs/” . I hope this helps!
An authorized court bailiff removed the occupant of my rental property. Can the ex-tenant sue us in small court claims for damages to her belongings? What action can she take against us or the bailiff?
Hi Nicole. This is a unique situation that isn’t captured by the bailiff laws we oversee, so you may want to seek legal advice to help answer your questions. You can learn more about the aspects of bailiffs that we cover on our website here: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumer-help/consumer-information-bailiffs/. Hope this helps.
I have one tenant who refuses to give access to another tenant in a joint tenancy plus the unit is furnished by landlord. If we get to the point of writ of possession through the courts and require a bailiff of the court system can we just designate that individuals stuff to be removed leaving our stuff and the other tenants in the unit.
Hi Kryslynn, thanks for the question. We can’t help with issues involving tenancies and we can’t offer legal advice. However, the Residential Tenancy Branch may be able to provide some options for next steps. You can submit your question to them on their website here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/contact-the-residential-tenancy-branch . Outside of that, you may need to speak to a lawyer about your options. I imagine this wasn’t the answer you were looking for but I hope this helps!
My son’s storage locker was accidentally cleared out by his apartment’s manager because the landlord had failed to update his list of storage lockers and the locker had previously been assigned to someone who had been evicted. At first he thought someone had broken into to his locker but then it seemed obvious that it had been cleared out. A conversation with the manager’s assistant confirmed his suspicion. He was given the number of the removal company. He contacted them as it is possible they still have his belongings and they said they couldn’t do anything without him contacting the bailiff. However he has no idea who the bailiff it. Do they mean he has to hire his own?
Hi Anne, thanks for the question. If I understand the situation correctly, it sounds like the removal company thinks your son is the previous tenant, who your landlord most likely used a bailiff to help evict. I suggest contacting your son’s landlord to ask about the bailiff and help explain the situation to the removal company. I hope this helps!
Can a baliff remove your belongings if you are not home if they have a writ of possession?
Hi Diana, thanks for the question. It sounds like you’re talking about a court appointed bailiff, a type of bailiff that we do not oversee. For this type of bailiff, I suggest reaching out to the Ministry of Justice with your question. I hope this helps!