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On 6th April 2014 significant changes were made to 'bailiff enforcement' and it is important for anyone viewing this forum to understand how the new regulations affect the 'clamping (or immobilisation) of a motor vehicles and the implications on debtors (or others) if a wheel clamp is removed. The following is a brief summary: 'Clamping' (Immobilsing) of a motor vehicle: The regulations clearly provide that an enforcement agent may immobilise a vehicle by fitting a wheel clamp. For those interested, the relevant legisation can be found under Section 1© of Regulation 16 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 entitled: Securing Goods of the Debtor on Premises where found. Location where a vehicle may be clamped (immobilised) The regulation clearly provide that a vehicle may be clamped at: The debtor's home The debtor's place of business or: On the 'Highway'. NB: CIVEA and I differ on the interpretation of 'Highway' and I will write more on the 'definition' at a later stage. However, for the avoidance of doubt, an enforcment agent may NOT take control of a vehicle in either a public or a private car park (which includes supermarkets, large shopping outlets etc), unadopted roads or other land that is owned by private individuals (such as a neighbours or relatives driveway). Does Section 54 of Chapter 2 of the Protection of Freedoms Act apply? NO!!! Section 54 is ONLY in relation to unathorised parking on private land (such as supermarket car parks, large shopping centre etc). It does not apply to private driveways given that the new regulations allow for goods to be 'taken into control' at "the debtors home". Clamping of a car belonging to wife/husband One area of the new regulations that I confess to being uncomfortable with is that of 'joint-ownership'. In this respect, goods in which a 'co-owner' has an 'interest' may be taken into control. The enforcement agent would need to either 'know' that the person has an 'interest' (in the goods0 or that he would know if he made 'reasonable' enquiries.
The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Statutory Notices Notice of Enforcement: This notice must provide the amount of the debt and the relevance Compliance Stage fee. The Notice of Enforcement must state the precise date that the debtor must pay or agree a payment arrangement with the enforcement agent. If the debtor does not pay or agree a payment arrangement by the date specified an enforcement agent will make a personal visit and may seize your belongings. This is called 'taking control'. The notice must also outline the additional fees and expenses that may be applied if payment is not made by the date specified Details on how to pay (with the opening hours and days) together with the contact details must be provided. Controlled Goods Agreement By entering into a Controlled Goods Agreement you will be able to continue to use the goods listed but you need to be aware that you are acknowledging that the goods listed are under the 'control' of the Enforcment Agent until the sum outstanding is paid in full. The Controlled Goods Agreement also must state that if you fail to stick to the terms of the agreement the goods may be removed and sold. This will incur a further fee. The notice will state the debt outstanding, the Compliance Stage fee, Enforcment Stage fee and any expenses. The Agreement must be signed by the debtor, a person authorised by the debtor or a person 'in apparent authority'. The Agreement must provide a detailed description of the item (eg: Computer, television, car etc together with the make and model (if known) and the relevant serial number, colour and any identifying marks. Warning of Immobilisation This notice will be provided if the Enforcement agent has fitted a clamp to the vehicle. This notice only needs to be signed by the Enforcement Agent. Notice of Intention to re-enter premises. This notice will be sent where a debtor has failed to keep to the payment terms under the Controlled Goods agreement and the notice is to advice that the enforcement agent intends to re-enter your premises to either 'inspect the goods' or to remove them for sale'. This Notice must provide details of the Controlled Goods Agreement and details of how the agreement has failed. This notice will provide the amount of the debt, the Compliance Stage fee and Enforcment Stage fee and details of the precise date and time when payment must be made. Details of the additional fees that could apply must be provided. Notice after Entry or Taking Control of Goods (on a highway) and Inventory of Goods Taken into Control This notice will advise the debtor of the action taken by the Enforcment agent (to enter premise or to take control of a vehicle on a highway. Details on how to make payment and the date and time by which the payment must be made. The goods will be released on payment in full (or may be released if you have signed a payment arrangement with the enforcement agent). This notice only requires to be signed by the Enforcment Agent. Notice that goods have been removed for storage or sale. This must be provided to the debtor when goods are actually removed. This notice must outline the daily or weekly storage fee. The notice will also outline the debt, Compliance Stage fee, Enforcment Stage Fee and Sale stage fee and any 'expenses'. Payment in full will avoid the sale of the goods and the goods may be collected. The notice only requires the signature of the Enforcement agent. Inventory This notice is to advise the debtor and co-owner that goods have been taken into control taken into control listed belong to the debtor and a co-owner and once again, only needs to be signed by the Enforcement Agent Notice of Sale This must be provided PRIOR to the sale the goods have been sold and must provide the name of the co-owner (if applicable) This itemise the debt, Compliance Stage fee, Enforcment Stage Fee, sale Stage fee and any expenses. details must also be provided of the date, time and place of sale and will advise WHEN the sale will take place and the time. If payment in full is made goods can be collected. The notice must itemises the goods (model, serial number etc) and must also provide a 'valuation'. The sale is conditional on the reserve price being met. If this condition is not met a new time and place of sale must be given in a further notice. Notice of Abandonment of Goods This notice will tell you that goods listed have been formally abandoned and that you are free to collect the goods. The reason for abandonment will be because the debtor or co-owner were not given notice of sale within the period required by law. Goods must be collected within 28 days of the date provide on the Notice.