A bailiff is someone with, amongst other things, the legal authority to enter your home and seize goods for sale at auction to clear a debt. Debts which are subject to a County Court Judgment (CCJ) may be referred to the bailiffs, as may tax debts including poll tax, council tax, unpaid self employed tax debt and so on. This right is granted by the granting of a so-called ‘distress warrant’.
Most of your possessions may be seized, after which the bailiff is legally obliged to sell them on for the best possible price at auction and use the proceeds to pay off what you owe. When a bailiff gains entry to your home, he will make a list of all your possessions which may be seized, and their approximate value.
These goods can then be taken away immediately, or alternatively the bailiff may agree to a walking possession agreement to be signed which will allow the assets to remain in your home while you attempt a renegotiation on repayment with your creditor.
Goods Which May Not Be Seized
There are some exceptions that limit what a bailiff can levy or seize. For example, only goods which are owned by the person named on the distress warrant can be taken – although this includes goods which are jointly owned with someone else.
In most cases, items such as tools, vehicles and so on which are necessary for personal employment or business can be taken. This doesn’t necessarily apply to bailiffs seeking to recover tax debts.
Bailiffs working under a CCJ can’t take clothing, bedding, or the basic necessities of domestic life such as furniture or cooking facilities.
Finally, the bailiff can’t seize goods which are subject to a hire purchase or rental agreement.
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