A court bailiff can remove your belongings and then change the locks. If necessary, a court bailiff can even physically remove you from the property.
If you are paying your rent, it is illegal for a landlord to remove your belongings from the rental unit or lock you out of the rental unit without using an authorized court bailiff. The Attorney General publishes a list of authorized court bailiffs, and only the companies on this list are allowed to enforce a Writ of Possession. You can find the list of court authorized bailiffs on the Attorney General’s website: List of Authorized Court Bailiffs.
Warning: There are people in BC who make money by pressuring tenants to move out, even though they’re not actually authorized by the Attorney General to carry out an eviction.
If someone comes to your door saying that he/she is a bailiff, make sure you ask for identification, including the name of the bailiff company. Then, look to see if that company is on the Attorney General’s list. If not, they don’t have the authority to evict you.
Being evicted by a court bailiff is a stressful process. It means you have no control over the timeline for your move. The court bailiffs may move your belongings out on the street or they may put your belongings into a storage facility. If your belongings are put in storage, the bailiff may ask you to pay something towards the storage fees before they will let you get your belongings out of storage. The bailiffs may even seize some of your belongings to go towards their fees.
Your landlord can try to collect the cost of hiring the court bailiffs from you after the eviction, which can be several thousand dollars.
If your landlord is on track to get a writ of possession, we strongly recommend you get legal advice right away and – even more important – work on finding a new place to live immediately. You will often not get advance notice that your landlord has a writ of possession; the first time that you see it may be when the bailiffs are at your door to remove your belongings and change the locks.
Frequently Asked Questions: Court bailiff information sheet from the BC Ministry of Justice