Where does the bailiff get knowledge about the debtor?

An unpaid loan, even a small payday loan, can follow the borrower for months. If he still defaults, the matter is usually referred to debt collection. Failure to settle the debt arising, depending on the patience of the debt collector, will sooner or later find its final in court, and if the creditor has accrued arrears according to the law, the debtor cannot count on escaping from repayment. Sooner or later the debt will be enforced by a bailiff, who will thoroughly check the creditor’s assets and take care of it enough to cover the liability together with the additional costs of recovery and enforcement proceedings.


Creditors the best source of bailiff information

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The success of bailiff proceedings and the speed of enforcement depend largely on the extent to which the creditor has extensive knowledge of the debtor. This usually depends on the title of the claim and the type of dependence of the debtor on the creditor. If the claim is the result of a loan, the creditor will have the following information:

• address and legal title of the borrower to the premises he inhabits – such information will appear in the application;
• PESEL number, ID card number;
• parents’ names;
• place of employment and income;
• the debtor’s bank account number.

Importantly, the bailiff is looking for hidden assets at the creditor’s request – it depends on him how the bailiff will conduct his proceedings. If the creditor does not have the relevant data, he may order the bailiff to search for hidden assets.

Fortunately (or the misfortune of the debtor) the bailiff has the appropriate means to do this. First of all, he may use databases inaccessible to creditors. He can apply to appropriate offices, which will allow him to determine the place of work of the debtor and the amount of benefits he receives. These will primarily be the registers of the Social Insurance Institution and the Tax Office. There, he will also receive information about the debtor’s bank account numbers and find out about a possible tax refund, which he can also take.


Electronic record systems

Electronic record systems

The bailiff has the appropriate permissions to check online whether the debtor to be enforced owns the property, and if so, which one. In addition, such property can also be taken remotely and independently, without having to draw up an appropriate application to the land and mortgage register court, and also make an entry on the mortgage. This reduces the time needed to carry out the seizure procedure so that the debtor does not have time to sell or dispose of his property, rewriting the property for someone else. As for movables, the bailiff can send a relevant inquiry to the Central Register of Vehicles and Drivers and check whether the debtor has any vehicle.

In an electronic way it can be identified (in the OGNIVO system) and the debtor’s bank account is also seized and, most importantly, the bank branch is obliged to inform the bailiff of any influence on the debtor’s account. Only an account in SKOK cannot be seized, although this institution also has an information obligation.


Attachment of items in the debtor’s home

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Unlike the field debt collector, the bailiff can enter the debtor’s house by force, with the assistance of the police, and even in the absence of household members. There, he can also seize items that are at the debtor’s disposal. This is very important, because in practice it gives the bailiff almost unlimited seizure of valuable items (except personal items, food, scientific materials and items of religious worship) that are in the apartment, not necessarily belonging to the debtor. The attachment will remain until the real owner of the objection.



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The bailiff does not have full authority to have the debtor disclose all his assets to him. In such a case, it may be necessary to conduct disclosure proceedings before the district court. Such a request may be directed by the creditor and the bailiff, regardless of the stage of debt recovery (before, during or after the execution of the bailiff). This can happen even if the bailiff’s execution was ineffective or was not fully satisfied. Before the court, under pain of criminal liability for making a false statement, the debtor is obliged to disclose a detailed list of assets, property rights and own debts. In the event of concealment of assets, the debtor may face a fine or imprisonment for up to 1 month.


Debtors avoid responsibility

Debtors avoid responsibility

Unfortunately, very often the situation is deliberate disposal of property and income. One way to avoid bailiff seizure is to sign a new contract with employers at the lowest rate. They also sell their property at a rapid pace, often at low prices, and transfer their property to the family.

However, the punishment for such actions may be more severe than the execution itself. First, the creditor has the right to lodge a Pauline complaint under which the claim will also be satisfied on the property transferred. Secondly, if intentional divestiture is detected, the debtor may be accused of thwarting a bailiff’s execution, which carries the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 5 years, so it doesn’t seem worth avoiding liability. For the future, however, it is worth considering twice before reaching for a loan.

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