What items can the Bailiff take from my home?

In 2014 the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 came into effect and this significantly changed the way in which bailiffs/enforcement agents can pursue debts (such as council tax arrears, unpaid parking charge notice, and unpaid magistrate court fines).

It is most important to be aware that you are not under any legal obligation to allow a bailiff into your home. You can refuse to allow him into your home and in the vast majority of cases, this is what we would suggest.

Secondly, it is important to be aware that it is very rare indeed for goods to actually be removed with industry sources stating that goods are only removed in less than 0.5% of cases!!

Sadly, it is the ‘threat’ of removal that a bailiff relies upon for payment and whether this is right or wrong, the fact remains that such a threat very often leads to payment being made (many times by borrowing from family or friends). It is of course much easier for a bailiff/enforcement agent to use the ‘threat’ of removal if you have previously allowed him into your home and a Controlled Goods Agreement signed. You need to take this into consideration if you are minded to allow him into your home.

The good news is that under the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013, far more household items are exempt from being ‘taken into control’ by the bailiff. These are as follows:

Items that are  ‘exempt’ by law from being taken by a bailiff:

Items or equipment (for example, tools, books, telephones, computer equipment and vehicles) which are necessary and for use personally by the debtor in the debtor’s employment, business, trade, profession, study or education, except that in any case the aggregate value of the items or equipment to which this exemption is applied shall not exceed £1,350;

Clothes, beds, bedding, furniture, household equipment, items and provisions as are reasonably required to satisfy the basic domestic needs of the debtor and 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

Sufficient lighting and heating facilities

Medical equipment and items needed for the care of a child or elderly person.

Safety and security equipment, eg. burglar alarms, locks and CCTV system

Domestic pets and guide dogs

A vehicle displaying a valid disabled person’s badge, and used for the transportation needs of a disabled person.

Will the bailiff take my car?

Motor vehicles are always a problem. They are an attractive and valuable asset and are easy to identify given that in most cases, the car is parked on the debtor’s  own driveway and this means that the bailiff does not have to gain access into the property. Also, vehicles tend to raise significantly more at auction than household goods. Given the importance of a motor vehicle and its value we have a separate page on this subject which can be read here.

Note from Bailiff Advice:

As mentioned above, in 2014 the new Taking Control of Goods regulations came into effect and we have provided a simple overview of the new regulations with details of the fees that can be charged and the notices that must be given by the bailiff. A copy can be read here.

If you have any queries about bailiff enforcement or about goods that can be taken, you can email a question to us using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone. Details are on our Contact page.