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 dev.consumerprotectionbc.ca.