Kiteleys Solicitors

Kiteleys Solicitors. 7 St. Stephen's Court, 15-17 St. Stephen's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset. BH2 6LA. Telephone 01202 299992.
Kiteleys Solicitors is the trading style of Kiteleys Solicitors Limited registered in England and Wales, registered number 03113721. VAT Registration No: 658 8813 79.
This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of directors is available for inspection at our registered office.

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22nd August 2016

Bailiffs- Goods Owned By Other People

Proving who owns the items

Should bailiffs turn up at your home and some of the items on your driveway or in your home do not belong to you, it is up to you to prove this to the bailiff.

You can prove that they do not belong to you by:

  • Making a list of all the items that do not belong to you to give to the bailiff
  • Make it clear to the bailiff who the belongings actually belong to
  • Show proof that these belongings are not yours
  • Warn the bailiffs that they will be liable for costs should the goods be wrongly taken.

Can bailiffs take goods that belong to other people?

The bailiff can only take control of the goods if they belong to the person named on the notice of enforcement, i.e. the person who owes the debt.

If the possessions are jointly owned by another person and you, the bailiff can take these items. The bailiff will need to ask the other owner what percentage of the goods they hold. The goods can then be taken and sold, the proceeds of the sale will then be split.

Conditional sale items and hire purchase

As the items do not belong to you the bailiff cannot take possession of any goods on hire, hire purchase, or conditional sale, until the final payment has been made on the agreement.

Goods purchased on credit, by way of personal loan or credit card, or credit agreement, can be taken from you as technically they belong to you.

 

Goods belonging to someone else are taken by the bailiff

If the bailiff is unsure whether the goods belong to you or someone else they should not take the goods.

If the bailiffs do take goods that do not belong to you, known as a third party, either you or the person they belong to can complain to the bailiffs firm, asking for the goods to be returned.

The following process should be adopted when making a complaint to the bailiff:

  • Within 7 days of the goods being taken either you or the person the goods belong to need to write to the bailiff to claim the goods back
  • Within 3 days of receiving your letter the bailiff must contact the creditor to get their opinion
  • From the date of being contacted the creditor then has 7 days to decide whether the goods were correctly obtained
  • Should the creditor agree that the goods were wrongfully taken they will instruct the bailiff to return the goods
  • The claim will be rejected if the creditor confirms the goods were correctly taken

Should the claim prove to be unsuccessful the owner of the goods can apply to get the belongings back at court. When the owner of the goods applies to the court claiming ownership of the goods, the bailiff will be notified of the application. Once the bailiff is in receipt of the notification they are unable to sell or dispose of the goods until the court orders otherwise.

At the hearing the court will decide whether to order the bailiff to return the goods back to the rightful owner, they may also award damages if the actual owner of the goods suffered a financial loss as a result of the goods being taken.

The goods belonging to someone else have been sold

If the goods belonging to someone else have been sold whilst that person is taking legal action to regain possession, the bailiff must hand the proceeds of the sale over to the court.

However, the bailiff can only be liable for the mistake if either of the following apply:

  • The bailiff knew the goods belonged to someone else at the time they were sold
  • Prior to the goods being sold the bailiff had been notified that a third party had applied to the court to regain possession.

The belongings have been given away

Once the bailiffs are involved with the enforcement proceedings, belongings cannot be given away. If the belongings are given away in this time the bailiff can still take them.

Should you decide to give any of your possessions away, it must be an unconditional gift. If you decide to make a gift on the condition that the other person returns it once the bailiffs have gone, you face the possibility of being held in contempt of court.

Posted by Mark Kiteley.

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Kiteleys Solicitors. 7 St. Stephen's Court, 15-17 St. Stephen's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset. BH2 6LA. Telephone 01202 299992.
Kiteleys Solicitors is the trading style of Kiteleys Solicitors Limited registered in England and Wales, registered number 03113721. VAT Registration No: 658 8813 79.
This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of directors is available for inspection at our registered office.