Estate agency forced to close branch following visit from bailiffs

An estate agency in Lancashire has been forced to close its office following a visit from bailiffs.

Ainsworth Lord Estates has shut its Darwen branch after enforcement agents entered its Market Street office last Thursday, January 31.

The estate agents’ office remains closed due to a dispute with bailiffs over an unpaid utility bill.

The notice from Commercial Rent Bailiffs Ltd says: “No unauthorised persons are permitted to entry into these premises any attempt to do so will result in criminal proceedings being instigated against you.”

Ainsworth Lord Estates offered reassurance to clients and tenants, saying the matter “will be resolved in the next day or so”. It said enforcement action was due to a dispute over an unpaid utility bill on a commercial premises they manage, which led bailiffs to visit the office in an attempt to recover the debt yesterday.

Ainsworth Lord said they were unable to resolve the issue during the bailiff’s visit, which meant they were forced to shut up shop until payment is made.

A spokesman for Ainsworth Lord told the press: “Due to a dispute with a large utility bill on a large commercial property we manage, the bills were put in our name by the tenant.

“This has resulted in us having a dispute with the enforcement officers on Wednesday afternoon, who came to collect payment but due to the time of the day we weren’t able to satisfy their enquiries.

“As a result our office will be temporarily closed, however we are functioning as normal from our Blackburn office in Mill Hill.

“We expect this matter to be resolved in the next day or so. (As everyone knows, trying to contact utility companies is not easy!)

“All tenants and clients remain unaffected by this interruption and its business as usual. Thanks for your patience and understanding.”



Email the story to a friend!


  1. Devon John

    We are battling with a similar dispute at the moment regarding a managed property where the utility bills were mistakenly registered in our name instead of the landlord’s (by the utility company) during a void period. So far we have spent over 30 hours attempting to resolve the issue and the hoops we have been asked to jump through have been ridiculous.

    Utility companies in the UK, gas and electricity in particular, are no longer fit for purpose. Since higher prices eroded any real competition between firms, they are now little more than heavy handed money collectors with systems in place that simply do not work.

    On the face if it, measuring and billing the use of a utility is such a simple task, I fail to understand how the process is so grossly overcomplicated in almost every situation.

    We manage a large portfolio and I hate to think how many hours are wasted each year arguing with utility companies who simply cannot grasp the facts. Furthermore, their staff are often poorly trained resulting in what should be simple fixes taking hours and hours to resolve. Our default position now is to raise a complaint each time as it is generally the only way to get anyone to listen.

    1. AcornsRNuts

      Just advised Octopus of a change of occupant. They are demanding a copy of the tenancy agreement. Well, in polite terms. they will be told where to go.

  2. CountryLass

    We had a buyer who transferred the bills from the time it was on the market into our companies name… I spent ages trying to get it put into the sellers name so they could pay the bill, but the utility company said that they could not put it into someone’s name without them authorising it, and seemed remarkably deaf when I pointed out that our company had not got in touch to put it into our name, so they obviously could! I gave them the sellers details and confirmed in writing that they had given permission for the utility company to contact them so they could change it, rather than having to negotiate the endless “press 1, Press 2, Press 9, hold-music, Press 7” of trying to call the utility company! They refused. I pointed out that they were demanding payment, and I was trying to get them payment as it certainly was not coming from us, and they seemed uninterested…

  3. CSM

    We have the same issue too, we sold a PLOT of land back in 2021. At the time the land was sold there was no building and no electricity supply but that has not stopped British Gas Lite from registering the new building in our name and chasing us for a debt we do not owe. We have sent them a solicitors letter and the TR1 as proof of sale but to no avail. They are still chasing us for the debt and threatening our business with debt collectors. The worst bit is you can not ring this bunch of turkeys, you have to webchat with a moron who has no clue and despite several requests to raise a complaint because apparently the ombudsman will not take your complaint seriously unless you have raised one they refuse to do so. How the hell are you supposed to work with this. It seems they are judge and jury and frankly post office scandal springs to mind when trying to deal with them. I’d love a day in court but it seems they can destroy my business at will and I can do nothing to stop them.

  4. mywayorthehiway

    Strange; Surely a court case is needed in order for baillifs to attend in this way, unless the matter relates to the office itself?
    In which case it would explain why no access is allowed.
    Not aware that Baillifs can prevent access to your premises relating to a non leasehold/mortgage debt?

  5. Handford

    That bailiff notice is iffy and AFAIK you cant secure premises like this anymore . Did they leave an inventory of goods? And for a utility bill? Good grounds for taking legal advice and getting paid for loss of earnings.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.