Bailiffs, Exempt and Protected Goods (and vehicles).

 

Regulation 4 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 sets out what goods are exempt goods for the purpose of civil enforcement. It states;

 

 

4.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2) and to regulation 5, the following goods of the debtor are exempt goods—

(a)items or equipment (for example, tools, books, telephones, computer equipment and vehicles) which are necessary 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;

(b)such clothing, 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, including (but not restricted to)—

(i)a cooker or microwave;

(ii)a refrigerator;

(iii)a washing machine;

(iv)a dining table large enough, and sufficient dining chairs, to seat the debtor and every member of the debtor’s household;

(v)beds and bedding sufficient for the debtor and every member of the debtor’s household;

(vi)one landline telephone, or if there is no landline telephone at the premises, a mobile or internet telephone which may be used by the debtor or a member of the debtor’s household;

(vii)any item or equipment reasonably required for—

(aa)the medical care of the debtor or any member of the debtor’s household;

(bb)safety in the dwelling-house; or

(cc)the security of the dwelling-house (for example, an alarm system) or security in the dwelling-house;

(viii)sufficient lamps or stoves, or other appliance designed to provide lighting or heating facilities, to satisfy the basic heating and lighting needs of the debtor’s household; and

(ix)any item or equipment reasonably required for the care of—

(aa)a person under the age of 18;

(bb)a disabled person; or

(cc)an older person;

(c)assistance dogs (including guide dogs, hearing dogs and dogs for disabled persons), sheep dogs, guard dogs or domestic pets;

(d)a vehicle on which a valid disabled person’s badge is displayed because it is used for, or in relation to which there are reasonable grounds for believing that it is used for, the carriage of a disabled person;

(e)a vehicle (whether in public ownership or not) which is being used for, or in relation to which there are reasonable grounds for believing that it is used for, police, fire or ambulance purposes; and

(f)a vehicle displaying a valid British Medical Association badge or other health emergency badge because it is being used for, or in relation to which there are reasonable grounds for believing that it is used for, health emergency purposes.

 

 

If your vehicle or goods fit into any of the above, you make an interpleader claim.

You make an sworn statement of truth to prove the goods are exempt, and this needs to be sworn before a solicitor or a commissioner of oaths (fee, usually about £5). Make plenty of copies; one is sent to the court with your claim, one to the defendant and one is your file copy. Remember to add the cost of the sworn statement of truth to your claim as "disbursements".

Make a sworn statement proving the goods are exempt.

 

 

 

If your vehicle or goods cannot be returned to you then you can recover the "replacement cost" of them, or the cost of new goods if equivalent like-for-like goods are not available.

You can also claim for the unlawful deprivation of the vehicle of goods as well at a daily rate.

 

 

 

Warning! - £1350 exemption limit.

If your vehicle, especially a trade vehicle has been clamped or towed, Bailiffs may try the so-called £1350-scam.

It gets its name from regulation 4(1)(a) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 which states;

 

items or equipment (for example, tools, books, telephones, computer equipment and vehicles) which are necessary 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;

 

In English, it means debtors only have a limit of £1350 of exempt goods.

Bailiffs try to get round this because the law says bailiffs can value the goods. They will overvalue vehicles above the £1350 threshold enabling them to take control of it. However, whenever bailiffs make a valuation, they must give a written valuation that complies with regulation 35 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013, which states:

 

(2) Where the enforcement agent makes the valuation—

(a)the valuation must be in writing, signed by the enforcement agent and set out—


(i)the enforcement agent’s name, the reference number or numbers and the date of the valuation; and


(ii)where appropriate, a separate value for each item of goods of which control has been taken; and

(b)the enforcement agent must provide a copy of the written valuation, once made, to the debtor and any co-owner.

 

 

Without this written valuation, enforcement fails. Is a breach of Paragraph 36 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 which states:

 

36(1)Before the end of the minimum period, the enforcement agent must—


(a)make or obtain a valuation of the controlled goods in accordance with regulations;

(b)give the debtor, and separately any co-owner, an opportunity to obtain an independent valuation of the goods.

(2)In this paragraph “minimum period” means the period specified by regulations under—

(a)paragraph 49, in the case of securities;

(b)paragraph 39, in any other case.

 

NB, The minimum period is specified under regulation 37(1) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 which states:

 

37.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the minimum period before sale required by paragraph 39 of Schedule 12 is 7 clear days from removing controlled goods for sale.

 

The enforcement also fails if the vehicle is sold at auction for a auction value less than £1350. Following the case of Larnyou vs. LB Croydon and Newlyn Plc 2015, Central London County Court, the solicitor for the defendants persuaded the court the value of the goods is always the "auction value". While that suited the case proceedings in hand, it resulted in an avalance of failed enforcement claims because the enforcement agent failed to reach a sale price at auction exceeding £1350 resulting in the vehicle not being bound for the purposes of civil enforcement under paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 which states:

 

(1)For the purposes of any enforcement power, the property in all goods of the debtor, except goods that are exempt goods for the purposes of this Schedule or are protected under any other enactment, becomes bound in accordance with this paragraph.

 

When goods have an auction value under £1350, they are exempt goods under this paragraph, and the owner of the vehicle can claim damages by bringing an action under Paragraph 66 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

 

 

 

 

Other exemptions

 

Council tax arrears

 

Regulation 5 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 1993 states;

5. In regulation 45, after paragraph (1), there is inserted the following paragraph—

“(1A) Without prejudice to paragraph (8) below, no person making a distress shall seize any goods of the debtor of the following descriptions—

(a)such tools, books, vehicles and other items of equipment as are necessary to the debtor for use personally by him in his employment, business or vocation;

(b)such clothing, bedding, furniture, household equipment and provisions as are necessary for satisfying the basic domestic needs of the debtor and his family.”.

 

 

High Court Writs:

Paragraphs 9(2) and 9(3) of Schedule 7 of the Courts Act 2003 states;

9(1)This paragraph applies where an enforcement officer or other person who is under a duty to execute the writ is executing it.
(2)The officer may, by virtue of the writ, seize—

(a)any goods of the execution debtor that are not exempt goods, and

(b)any money, banknotes, bills of exchange, promissory notes, bonds, specialties or securities for money belonging to the execution debtor.

(3)“Exempt goods” means—

(a)such tools, books, vehicles and other items of equipment as are necessary to the execution debtor for use personally by him in his employment, business or vocation;

(b)such clothing, bedding, furniture, household equipment and provisions as are necessary for satisfying the basic domestic needs of the execution debtor and his family.