Introduction to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations
The way in which debts can be enforcement by bailiffs was completely overhauled in 2014 with the introduction of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. At the same time, supporting legislation was also introduced to set the level of fees that can be charged etc. This particular page is an introduction to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations.
Enforcement Agent Fees
It was also in 2014, that the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 came into effect. With the exception of ‘writs of control’ (enforced via the High Court), the following fees apply to all debt types (council tax and non domestic rate arrears, penalty charge notices, unpaid Dart Charge, magistrate court fines, rent arrears).
Stage 1: Compliance Stage Fee: £75
When an enforcement company receive a warrant from the creditor (local authority or court) they must by law send you a Notice of Enforcement. This notice must provide the date of the notice and the date and time by when full payment or a payment arrangement must be set up. This period of time is referred to as the ‘Compliance stage’. An enforcement agent must by law give you a minimum period of seven ‘clear days’ before making a personal visit to your property. The compliance fee of £75 is payable for each Liability Order or Warrant of Control.
Stage 2: Enforcement Stage fee: £235.00 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt that exceeds £1,500)
If full payment or a payment arrangement is not made during the Compliance stage, or if a previous payment arrangement is broken, the case will progress to the ‘enforcement stage’. As a consequence, an individual enforcement agent/bailiff will make a personal visit to your property. The purpose of the visit would be to ‘take control’ of your goods. When the visit is actually made, an enforcement fee becomes payable. It must not be changed before a visit takes place.
If the enforcement agent is enforcing more than one Liability Order or Warrant of Control, he should only charge one ‘enforcement stage’ fee (of £235). He should not apply ‘multiple’ enforcement fees.
Stage 3: Sale stage Fee: £110.00 (plus 7.5% of the value of the debt that exceeds £1,500.00).
This fee can be charged when an Enforcement Agent actually attends your property and make preparations for the sale of your goods. If your goods are actually removed, additional disbursements may be charged. The most significant disbursement being storage fees and where applicable; locksmith fees.
NB: A more detailed description of the fees that may be charged can be be found in our Bailiff Fees section here
Forms and Documentation
An enforcement agency must use specific statutory notices when writing to you. All these notices are outlined in The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Details of all the forms and the information that must by law be provided on them can be viewed here
Making a payment proposal
The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 provides a strict period in which to make payment or to negotiate a payment arrangement. This is referred to as the ‘Compliance stage’ and begins with receipt of the Notice of Enforcement. If you cannot pay the entire debt in full by the date outlined in the notice, (a minimum of seven ‘clear days’) then it is vitally important to contact the enforcement company to set up a payment arrangement.
If you fail to make full payment (or to agree a payment arrangement) during the compliance stage a personal visit will be made to your property. The purpose of the visit will be to ‘take control’ of your goods. This visit will incur an enforcement fee of £235 as outlined above.
If you are considered vulnerable.
There is some protection under the Taking Control of Good Regulations if you are considered vulnerable. For example, a vehicle displaying a disabled blue badge is now exempt from being taken by a bailiff. Given the importance of bailiff enforcement and vulnerability, we have introduced this new page to our website
Times of day when a Bailiff/ Enforcement Agent may visit.
A bailiff/enforcement agent may visit a property seven days a week (including Sunday) between 6am and 9pm. He is not allowed to visit you on Bank Holidays or Christmas Day.
Items that are exempt from being taken by a bailiff.
In the first instance, it is very rare for an enforcement agent to actually remove goods from your property. This is because, the regulations provide that many household items are consider ‘exempt’. For example, an enforcement agent cannot take control of any of the following:
- Tools, books, telephones, computer equipment and vehicles which are necessary to you (as the debtor) in either your employment, business, trade, profession, study or education. Unfortunately, the aggregate value of the items cannot exceed £1,350;
- Clothes, beds, bedding, furniture, household equipment, and items to cover the basic domestic needs of not only the debtor…..but every member of the debtor’s household.
- Cooker or microwave, fridge, washing machine, dining table and dining chairs to seat the debtor and every member of the debtor’s household.
- Land line telephone, or a mobile phone.
- Domestic pets and guide dogs.
Finally, we have recently introduced a Glossary of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice
If you have a question that you would like to ask us regarding any aspect of bailiff enforcement, you can email your question to us using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Please refer to our Contact us page for further details.