What is a warrant of control?

Written by Sam Critten on 17 May 2019

If a creditor successfully has a County Court Judgment (CCJ) awarded against you and you don’t pay it, then a creditor may apply to court for a Warrant of Control. Put simply, this is a legal document that allows bailiffs (also known as enforcement agents) to try to take control of your possessions. These may then be sold at auction in order to pay the debt that you owe.

What should I do if I receive a Warrant of Control?

Issuing a warrant of control is something that can only be done if you’ve had a CCJ awarded you, and you haven’t paid what you’ve been ordered to by the court judgment. If a creditor threatens you with a warrant of control without having first started County Court proceedings against you, then politely state the law to them regarding this issue and that they should follow correct procedure.

If you admit that you owe the money, we’d advise simply paying the CCJ before it gets to the stage of a Warrant of Control. This is because having county court bailiffs come to your house can be an unpleasant and highly charged situation.

Perhaps you know that you owe the money, but aren’t able to pay it? If this is the case then give us a call today – we’ll be able to advise you on what the best course of action for you to take is, and there may be a debt solution available to you that will prevent bailiffs visiting your property.

What can happen if I get a Warrant of Control?

If you receive a Warrant of Control, this means that county court bailiffs can visit your home to take control of your possessions. However, there is a strict criterion that bailiffs have to abide by in order to do this, including:

  • Visiting hours

Bailiffs are only allowed to come into your home between the hours of 6am and 9pm. If you get bailiffs showing up at your house outside of these hours and they try to force entry, then you should call the police – this is illegal and well outside an enforcement agent’s remit. Bailiffs also have to prove who they are by showing you ID.

  • Forcing entry

You don’t have to let bailiffs into your home. They can only force entry if:

  • You’ve let them in on a previous visit
  • They took control of your goods
  • You have broken any agreement you made with the bailiffs
  • They’ve given you two clear days’ notice
  • If you haven’t let the bailiffs in before, keep your doors locked. It’s also a good idea to keep windows closed.

    What can bailiffs take from my house?

    Items that bailiffs may remove include:

    • Your vehicle – this will usually be the first thing a bailiff looks at, but if, you’re a courier or tradesman who needs their vehicle for work, you might be able to keep it. Bailiffs aren’t allowed to seize any equipment or vehicle vital to your job worth under £1350, but if it’s worth anything over this they may take it.
    • Electrical luxuries/gadgets – These tend to be things like televisions, games consoles, computers, laptops or other electrical gadgets. Remember, bailiffs only want to seize things that are likely to sell at auction so they can recover the debts, which is why valuable items like this are high on a bailiff’s list.
    • Jewellery
    • Furniture

    Can bailiffs take a vehicle that’s on hire purchase?

    Bailiffs are only allowed to seize vehicles that you’re the legal owner of. They can’t, for example, try to seize a family member’s car to pay a debt, although the family member in question will have to prove that the vehicle belongs to them.

    They’re also not allowed to seize vehicles that are on hire purchase as these don’t belong to you, and cannot be sold at auction to recover debts that you owe. Again, you’ll have to prove to the enforcement agents that the vehicle is under a hire purchase by way of supporting documents such as a contract of your repayments.

    If you initially bought the car through hire purchase but have finished making all the payments on it, then the car is legally classed as your property and may be seized by enforcement agents.

    What happens if bailiffs take control of my goods?

    If bailiffs have removed goods from your home this doesn’t mean that you can’t get them back. After taking control of your possessions the enforcement agents will leave your goods in storage for a week before they’re sold at auction. When this happens the bailiff should provide you with a Notice of Sale.

    During this time you can contact your creditor and either pay the full amount that the court orders you to pay in one go, or negotiate with your creditor to set up a payment plan. If your goods are sold at auction and sell for more money than what you owe, the remaining amount, after deducting costs, will be given to you.

    If you’re worried about enforcement agents visiting your home, then feel free to give us a call on 0800 280 2816. Our phone lines are open between the hours of 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 3pm on Saturday.


    Filed under Debt Facts

    This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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