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Taking control of goods regulations 2013 – FAQs

Prior to the 6th April 2014, bailiffs and enforcement agents were subject to far less rigorous regulations. What this meant in practice is that unscrupulous collection agencies would take advantage of debtors by doing things like turning up to seize goods unannounced, multiplying collection fees, and sometimes even seizing more property than was necessary to clear the debt.

So the government reviewed the industry, and introduced a slate of clear rules and regulations which make the process much clearer, fairer and, ultimately less open to abuse.


This stage is seven ‘clear days’. It starts when you receive a written warning (a Notice of Enforcement) informing you that the agency intends to visit you with a view to taking control of goods. If you fail to agree an alternative payment arrangement at this stage, action will progress to the next stage.

FEE: £75


If you don’t pay the debt (or agree a payment plan) in the Compliance stage, and Enforcement Agent will visit your property with a view to remove goods, or to place them under control ahead of removal at a later date. Crucially however, if the agency is enforcing more than one Liability Order or Warrant of Control against you, they can only charge this fee once.

FEE: £235 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt that exceeds £1,500.00).


This fee is charged when the Enforcement Agent physically removes the controlled goods and makes preparations for their sale. They can also charge you for associated costs at this stage – e.g. storage or locksmith’s fees.

FEE: £110 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt that exceeds £1,500.00).

“I would like to say I found the service to not only excellent but the helpfulness and speed it was done at was fantastic. I was also delighted with the manner in which I was kept updated with the situation and in general I couldn’t be happier with the help I received.”  Garry Cowan

Do Bailiffs have to provide any documentation? What are the different types?

Whereas previously Enforcement Agencies might often have been vague or inconsistent with the information they provide ahead of visiting you or seizing goods – unclear fees, undated letters, that sort of thing – now there is no room for confusion.

The regulations now stipulate what notifications enforcement agents must use. These notifications, and what they must detail, are as follows:


  • Amount of the debt and the relevance Compliance Stage fee of £75
  • Precise date to pay debt, or agree payment plan
  • The date a bailiff will visit should payment agreement be broken
  • Any additional fees you might incur by failing to keep payment agreement


  • Detailed list of good entered into the Controlled Goods Agreement, including detailed descriptions (eg: computer, television, car etc), make and model (if known), and any relevant serial number, colour and any identifying marks
  • Value of debt to be paid (including bailiff fees) the Compliance Stage fee, Enforcement Stage fee and any expenses
  • Clear explanation that breaking the payment agreement will result in removal of listed goods for sale
  • Costs you will incur for removal of goods
  • Must be signed by the debtor, a person authorised by the debtor or a person ‘in apparent authority


  • must be provided if a motor vehicle is to be clamped
  • must be signed by the bailiff/enforcement agent.


  • sent when the Control Goods Agreement payment plan is not kept up
  • advises that the bailiff intends to re-enter the premises to ‘inspect the goods’ or ‘remove them for sale’
  • must detail the Control Goods Agreement and how it has been breached.


  • details the action taken to enter premises or to take control of a vehicle on a highway
  • clear instructions on how to make payment and the date and time by which the payment must be made
  • goods will be released on payment in full (or upon signing a payment arrangement with the enforcement agent)
  • requires the signature of the bailiff/enforcement agent.


  • must be provided when goods are actually removed
  • must outline all the fees charged to date including any ‘expenses’ and the daily or weekly storage fee
  • payment in full will avoid the sale of the goods at which point they may be collected
  • requires the signature of the bailiff/enforcement agent.


  • advises that goods have been ‘taken into control’
    o requires the signature of the bailiff/enforcement agent.


  • must be provided prior to the sale the goods
  • must provide the name of any co-owner and all fees charged (including any expenses)
  • must include details of the date, time and place of the proposed sale
  • must list the goods (model, serial number etc.) and their ‘valuation’
  • the sale is conditional on the reserve price being met. If this condition is not met, a new time and place of sale must be given in a further notice.


  • informs you that goods listed have been formally abandoned and that you may collect them
  • reason for abandonment will be because the debtor or co-owner was not given notice of the sale within the period required by law
  • goods must be collected within 28 days of the date provided.
  • Bailiffs and Enforcement Agents are essentially the same thing

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Can I make a payment proposal to prevent action being taken?

Yes. The Compliance stage is seven ‘clear days’. It starts when you receive a written warning (a Notice of Enforcement) informing you that the agency intends to visit you with a view to taking control of goods. Payment of the debt, or agreeing a payment plan at this stage will prevent further action being taken.

Do vulnerable debtors have any extra protection rights?

Yes. Regulation 12 ensures that where vulnerable debtors might have been unable to seek the relevant advice in the early stages of the process, the onus is on the bailiff to refer them for advice upon visiting them. Should a bailiff fail to give a vulnerable debtor the chance to seek advice prior to removing goods, the enforcement fee would then be deem unrecoverable.


“You assured me of my legal rights. It gave me the confidence and wherewithal to stand up to the overwhelming pressure of being scared about a knock on the door. At last, I knew how to handle the situation.” Lance


Can Bailiffs take anything they want?

No. Under the new regulations bailiffs are obliged to leave a variety of items that are exempt from seizure. Detailed information on what is and isn’t exempt from seizure can be found here.

What if my debt pre-dates these new regulations?

Whilst the regulations are clear on the fees that must be charged by the enforcement agent on all debts where some enforcement action had commenced before 6th April 2014, they are quite complicated.

Even more confusingly, different rules and fees are applied to different kinds of debts and fines. The rules do however strive to correlate different stages of enforcement action to the newly defined three stages of Compliance, Enforcement and Sale, and apply fees accordingly.

Where you have any fees relating to action carried out prior to 6th April 2014 we would recommend that you contact us to discuss whether the fees you are being asked to pay are correct.

Where can I read the new regulations in full?

How can I get help with Bailiffs?

The best way to ensure a difficult situation doesn’t escalate into an upsetting and traumatic one is to seek impartial expert advice as soon as you receive any written notification from a bailiff – don’t ignore the letter in the hope that it will all just go away.

Our advice can help you formulate a reasonable budget and repayment plan and put you on the front foot in your response to any debt collection organisations.

And always remember that bailiffs simply want to collect the debt, and if you offer a clear and agreeable path to achieving this, they will be keen to work with you and will be just as keen as you to avoid escalating the situation.

We are more than happy to help you ensure that you receive the advice and planning guidance you need. To discuss your situation, call us now on 0300 302 1806 anytime between 8am – 8pm, Monday – Friday

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