Belongings and bailiffs

If you worried about bailiffs at your door it may be because you know that they can take your belongings. Obviously there are some rules and regulations about what bailiffs can and cannot take. Although it’s also important to know where they can take the belongings from and how you can get them back. It can be incredibly worrying thinking of people removing your items but it’s important you know the following facts to make sure you understand what is happening.

What can the bailiff take?

Bailiffs are entitled to take a number of things from your property as a form of debt repayment.

  • Any items which belong to you – This is anything can has been fully purchased and is solely owned by you. This will mainly be personal items of value.
  • Jointly owned items – These are usually items such as your car, television or computer
  • Items bought with personal loans – This includes any items that were bought for with credit cards, store card, bank loan or finance company loan
  • Any cash, cheques, bonds, stocks and shares – If you have any of these on your premises then the bailiff is entitled to take them.
  • Items that you are wearing or carrying – These are usually items such jewellery, items of clothing, gadgets such as your phone or watch.

What can’t the bailiff take?

  • Items which are necessary for you work, study, or education – Unless your debt is for unpaid business rates, in which case these items are not protected
  • Household equipment – This is anything that you need to serve your basic domestic needs
  • Anything belonging to a child – This includes mainly any toys your children may own
  • Anything you are paying for on hire – These usually include kitchen or technological equipment that are not rightfully yours
  • Any domestic pets or service animals – Any pets or animals you own are rightfully yours and cannot be taken by the bailiff
  • Food – This also comes under your basic domestic needs.
  • Any goods that are also your home – This is relevant if your home is a tent or a caravan.

How much should the bailiff take?

Once the bailiffs have arrived they will go through all of your belongings. They will then establish which things they will take to sell. They are entitles to either take them away, secure them, or ask you to sign a controlled goods agreement. This is where you promise not give away or dispose of the good they have repossessed.

The bailiffs will provide you with a list or inventory. This is so you are entirely aware everything that has been taken from you. A formal notice should also be given to you entitled ‘notice after entry’. This will explain in detail what the bailiff has done, what will happen next, and how you can stop the bailiff action from continuing.

The bailiffs should only take control of enough goods to cover the amount of money that you owe. This includes your debt plus the bailiffs fee and charges. If the bailiffs take something of a higher value than they need, then after the belonging is sold the remaining money will be returned to you.

How do I get my belongings back?

You do have some options when it comes getting your items back.

  • Pay off your debt – This is the quickest and simplest way of reclaiming your belongings. You usually will have seven days until the sale takes place. Remember you still have to pay the bailiff fees.
  • Come to an agreement with your creditors – You creditors might still agree to a payment plan or another way of paying back what you owe. They don’t have to co-operate, but it is worth having a conversation with them about your options.
  • Buy back the goods – You do have the right to buy the goods back yourself if you want. You must offer highest bid in auction.
  • If the bailiffs did not comply to regulation – Bailiffs do have a number of rules and regulations to uphold. If you feel these rules and regulations were not met when they took your belongings then you can make a complaint to the bailiff firm. If they are not co-operative you may take your argument to court and reclaim your items before they are sold.

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