How to deal with a bailiff seizing your vehicle

kk922 - How to deal with a bailiff seizing your vehicle

A bailiff will target your vehicle due to its high saleable value in order to recover capital to use against the payment of your debt. If this does happen then we suggest that you seek help, for click here for more information 

When can’t the bailiff take your vehicle?

If the vehicle is leased or subject to a hire purchase agreement the bailiff cannot remove it to sell and use as payment as it is still legally the property of the leasing or purchase company.

They cannot remove any vehicle that you do not own or have borrowed.

The bailiff cannot take your vehicle if it is used as part of your business, study, education or employment.

They cannot remove any vehicle that is used for police, fire or ambulance purposes.

They cannot remove a vehicle displaying a valid British Medical Association badge or other health emergency body certification.

They cannot take the vehicle if it was clamped before 6am or after 9pm.

They cannot take the vehicle if it is in use; i.e. being driven by the owner or another driver.

They cannot take the vehicle if the appropriate Notice of Enforcement hasn’t been provided.

If you register your vehicle through a limited company the vehicle belongs to the business, it isn’t part of your personal belongings so cannot be removed by the bailiff.

Ways to avoid having your vehicle taken

Park it on private property

A bailiff can only remove a vehicle that is parked on the owner’s property or on a public highway or parking space. If you park your vehicle on a friend’s or neighbour’s property, or in a private or commercial parking space, the bailiff doesn’t have the correct authority to remove the vehicle.

Fit a disabled badge

A bailiff cannot remove any vehicle displaying a disabled blue badge inside the vehicle. You should take a photograph of the vehicle displaying the badge to be used as proof in any resulting court proceedings.

If you can prove that the vehicle is used in the transportation of a disabled person then there are exceptions to the removal of the vehicle even without them displaying a blue badge.

What not to do

Do not try to sell the vehicle

Do not attempt to sell or transfer the vehicle. This claim will never work for you against the bailiff.

Do not attempt to remove a wheel clamp

The bailiff’s property is protected by law. This includes the wheel clamp so any damage you cause will be liable to prosecution.

Tracking your vehicle if seized by the bailiff

It’s possible to hide a tracking device in your vehicle. For under £50 you can buy such a device with a year’s mobile network and SMS subscription that will show you the vehicle’s position via Google Maps and text you whenever its location changes.

If the vehicle has been taken unlawfully you have the right to recover it yourself, and you can only do that if you know where it is.

Recovering your vehicle

Report it stolen

You should report your vehicle stolen to the police as soon as the vehicle is seized. The police won’t be interested as it is a civil matter and even if they don’t accept that it is stolen you will be better protected if you attain an Incident Reference Number and the police will also have to tell you where you can find your car.

Tell the DVLA

Your car has been taken without permission so you must report it to the DVLA. If you don’t you may be liable to fines for failure to report a change of registered keeper. By warning the DVLA that there are legal proceedings in progress this will prevent anyone driving the vehicle on public roads. The vehicle will be recorded as SORN until the court action is completed.

Make an Interpleader Claim

If you believe any of the rules in seizing a vehicle have been broken you can hire a solicitor to prove it and recover your vehicle.

Pay the debt

The only immediate way to retrieve your vehicle is to pay the debt in full. In certain cases you may be able to claim the amount back from the court if the vehicle was seized wrongly or if they have been seen to have broken any of the rules.

On recovery of your vehicle

Do not sign any document supplied by the bailiff as a condition of recovering your vehicle. They have no right to hold the vehicle and any document they pursue you to sign will be in order to waive your right to making a claim against them for the damages to your vehicle.

You should make a list of all damages incurred against the condition of your vehicle prior to being taken and use them to compile your claim for damages. Gather quotes for all repairs before submitting.

Action against damage

It is very likely that your vehicle will be damaged in the process of a bailiff’s seizure. In order to claim against this you should make a comprehensive guide about the condition and content of the vehicle.

Create a video

Film and time-stamp a video as proof on your mobile phone showing all of the vehicle and its current condition. Include the number plate and the complete front end of the vehicle. If already clamped make sure to show where the clamp is fitted and how.

Be sure to include all paintwork, the condition of the wheels, bonnet, roof, interiors, all door locks, windows and openings. If you can get under the vehicle show the condition of the body underneath, the exhaust system, engine pan and fuel lines. A forklift can cause a great deal of damage if used in the removal of the vehicle often to a point where the vehicle could be written off.

Open the boot to show the contents, the spare wheel, any tools and emergency equipment. Also show everything contained in the glove compartment and if possible to do so lock it, and show that it is locked.

If you can you should also show the engine and all fluid levels as equipment used in lifting vehicles can often damage the steering and the hydraulic brake system.

Record the mileage and the fuel levels. All this information is and will be relevant in proving the damage incurred and to make the maximum claim against the bailiff for all of your losses.


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What do you need to know about debt?

featured3 - What do you need to know about debt?

Debt seems to be an almost inescapable part of modern life. It has become very common to use credit cards, have mortgages, and take out loans to survive during financial hardship. So, what is debt? And what do you need to know about it?


1. What is debt?

1 - What do you need to know about debt?

Most people know what debt is. It is an amount of money that is owed to another person or company. But what many people don’t know is that there are many different types of debt.

Secured debt: Debt which is connected to one of your assets, such as to your house or your car. Mortgages and car loans are the best example of this, but it is possible to take out loans against other valuables, such as white goods, televisions, or even jewellery.

Unsecured debt: Other debts which are not taken out against your possessions. This may be credit card debts, bank loans, or pay day loans. However, this does not include loans that require a guarantor.

Joint debt: Joint debt is debt which is taken out by two, or more, people. All the people who have taken out these debts are liable for the full amount, and if one person cannot pay, the others must pay the full amount. Credit cards cannot have joint debt as only one person ever legally owns the card, any other people given access to the account are not legally responsible for their debt.

Arrears: Arrears occur when a payment is missed. For example, you could have tax arrears, rent arrears, or utility bill arrears. Tax arrears are one of the worst debts to have because the government is more likely to turn to legal measures to reclaim the debts, such as Bailiffs, and are less likely to be open to negotiation.

Student Debt: Student debt is very different to other kinds of debt, because it operates more like a tax than a debt. A percentage of your income is taken to pay off your debt, and it often happens before it reaches your bank account. However, if you work abroad, or are self-employed, you may have to calculate and pay this debt back yourself.

2. Debt is not scary

2 - What do you need to know about debt?

As we mentioned earlier, debt has become a very normal part of life, and this is because not all debt is bad debt. Student debt, for example, allows you to have an education, and can be very manageable.

Just because you have some debt, doesn’t mean you are in trouble. Debt is often used as a great tool to build up a great credit score. If you are able to pay off your debts comfortably, then you have nothing to worry about. It is important to remember your ‘priority debts’. These are debts, such as council tax arrears, that can have serious implications if they are not paid. Local councils, for example, could have the amount taken directly from your wages or benefits.

There are a number of signs that you may need serious help. If you are sacrificing food, or other necessities, in order to pay your debts, or you can’t afford to put aside any money at the end of the month, then you should probably look into getting some debt advice.

Remember, if you do need help, you are not alone. In the UK, there are 8 million people who are seriously struggling with their debts.


3. Bankruptcy is not the only solution

3 - What do you need to know about debt?

Once you have realised that you need help sorting out your debts, it is also important to realise that this does not mean you have to go bankrupt! There are plenty of debt solutions to explore that are great alternatives to bankruptcy.

Debt Management Plans: You can contact your creditors and negotiate with them in order to lower the monthly amounts that you are paying. If you are open and honest with them, they will often agree to do this as they know it is the best chance that they have to get the money owed to them. However, this is not a legal solution, and so there is no guarantee that your creditors will accept, or follow through, with the agreement. For more information on Debt Management Plans, click here.

Debt Consolidation Loans: This is a debt solution which allows you to merge all your debts into one payment, but taking out one big loan to cover all your loans, and then paying that loan off. This can help you manage your debts, but is unlikely to significantly make the amount you pay more manageable, unless you manage to find a loan with a significantly smaller interest rate.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement: An IVA is a legal solution. Affordable monthly payments are calculated based on your actual income and expenditure. You pay these to an Insolvency Practitioner who distributes it among your creditors. As everything is done through an IP, your creditors are no longer able to contact you. Unlike Debt Management Plans, IVAs last for a limited time – 5 or 6 years. After this time, your remaining debt is written off.

Trust Deeds: A Trust Deed is the Scottish Equivalent to an IVA. Like an IVA, affordable monthly payments are distributed amongst your creditors. However, Trust Deeds can last for as little as 4 years.

Bankruptcy: Finally, there is Bankruptcy. In Bankruptcy, an Official Receiver takes control of a person’s finances and assets. This means they can organise payments to creditors out of your wages, and sell your assets, such as your home and your car, to pay off as much of your debt as possible. It can cost £680 to file for bankruptcy. The Scottish equivalent is called sequestration.

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