This article answers the question, can bailiffs take my car? The general rule is that bailiffs can only take goods or vehicles belonging to the debtor or goods that are jointly owned.
You may also want to read our article on wrongful repossession and how to complain.
In short yes, bailiffs can take your car. Remember the vehicle registered keeper is not the owner of the car. Therefore since bailiffs can only take the debtors goods into possession, they can take the car.
Please also note, the DVLA do not record the name of the vehicle owner. They only have the name of the person responsible for its use on the road.
Bailiffs can only seize goods belonging to the debtor. However, the onus will be on you to prove that your partner owns the vehicle.
The bailiff can only take goods belonging to the debtor or goods that they jointly own. If you are the registered keeper of the car then you are not necessarily the owner. In the case that the bailiff seizes the vehicle, the onus would be on you to prove your ownership. If you can do this then the bailiff should not take the vehicle, but you may find it difficult to prove given that the debtor paid for the vehicle.
You are not responsible for someone else’s debts and if anyone knocks on your door asking for someone you do not know then all you can do is tell them that this is the case and ask them to leave. If needed you could provide proof of your identity and show some information to prove who does live in your property and you may also need to show them the details of the ownership of the vehicle. If you have already identified that the person is not known to you and has never lived at your address then you can raise a complaint with the council if you wish to do so.
The V5 only details the registered keeper of the car, not the actual owner. The bailiff can apply to the DVLA for a duplicate certificate.
There is a disclaimer on the V5C registration document that states it is the seller’s responsibility to inform the DVLA that the car has been sold. Therefore you will be liable for any debts linked to that vehicle for the period in which it was registered in your name with the DVLA, even if you sold the car at an earlier date.
If a bailiff comes to the property to recover a debt owed by the debtor they will check ownership of the car; if the car is owned by the debtor they will seek possession to pay back their debt.
The bailiff can check with DVLA and can check any document presented to them to prove ownership of the vehicle. So you would have to prove to them that you are the owner of the vehicle rather than the debtor, this is usually done by showing proof of payments and receipts to show that you are the owner rather than the debtor. If another person has unmanageable debts and you are worried that this may result in enforcement action it may be a good idea for the debtor to go through their situation with a free debt adviser. They may be able to help identify the options they have for dealing with the debts and preventing further action being taken.
This really depends on who owns the car and you will need to check the agreement to find this out.
Some loans are Hire Purchase (HP) agreements and this means that you do not own the vehicle whilst paying for it. You Hire the vehicle and at some point pay a final payment and you then Purchase the vehicle. So the HP company may be the owner of the vehicle. However, some vehicle purchases are financed by unsecured loans. On the day you bought a car you actually took out a loan which paid for the car in full and this means that you own the vehicle and just owe a sum of money to a loan agreement. If you own the vehicle then it may be at risk of being seized for non-payment of the fine.
If you cannot keep up the payments on your car HP then the company that owns the vehicle may take steps to recover the debt, this would usually mean by repossession of the vehicle.
Assuming that the bailiff is not acting on behalf of the lease company because you have defaulted on the lease, then they cannot clamp the car. If you show the bailiff documents to prove the car is leased then they cannot levy it.
Property can only be seized if it belongs to you. Production of any documents proving the cars belong to your family members should put a stop to the bailiffs attempting to seize it. If they do seize any property that does not belong to you and you can prove that it does not belong to you, you can take legal action against them. If this should occur you should seek advice from CAB or a solicitor. Bailiffs will only attempt to seize your goods a number of times before passing the account back to the court or council who dealt with the original parking fine. Once the debt has been passed back you need to set up a repayment plan directly.
If you have a logbook loan this is a bill of sale and will be registered at the High Court in London. This means that until the loan has been repaid the lender has ownership of the vehicle but you continue to have the use of the vehicle. Once the loan has been repaid then ownership goes back to you. If you take the documents to a local free debt advisor, perhaps Citizens Advice Bureau, they can check if the loan documents have been completed and registered correctly, if they haven’t then the agreement could be void and the vehicle could be at risk from bailiffs. Contacting a debt advisor and finding the best way to resolve your council tax arrears may mean that this is no longer a worry.
A bailiff cannot seize a vehicle that is required for work purposes. For more information, please read our article: Can a bailiff come to my work?
Although not specifically included in a list of exempt goods that bailiffs cannot seize, your vehicle could fall under the category of ‘equipment and provisions that are necessary for satisfying basic domestic needs’ due to your disability. This means a bailiff cannot levy your car against a debt owing.
Bankruptcy provisions state that applicants can usually keep a car worth less than £1,000. So if you are going down this route your car could fall under this exemption.
It may be worth exploring whether you qualify for Disability Living Allowance and subsequently can apply for a car under the mobility scheme.
If you have taken out debt in your name which has then been passed to the bailiffs, the bailiffs do have the power to seize your car regardless of which address it has been registered to.
The rules pretty much state that a bailiff can seize your vehicle unless it is subject to HP (as someone else owns it) or used by you in the course of your employment. The bailiffs could clamp your car, don’t try to remove it as you will be committing a criminal damage offence. Bailiffs collecting the vehicle to cover the debt do not have police powers but they can request a police presence if they fear a breach of the peace is likely.
On the other hand, if you can demonstrate that you need the vehicle to satisfy basic domestic needs, the bailiff should not be able to take it.
It depends on the type of parking tickets. If they are from a private landowner, you should appeal to them on the grounds you weren’t driving the car. They will want a name and address for your son but should cancel the tickets and transfer the liability to your son.
This is also the case if they are fixed penalty tickets from the police. It is important you contact the police as it may end up in court, but again they will want the name and address of your son.
If it is a Penalty Charge Notice or an Excess Charge Notice from the local council, it is the registered keeper who is liable.
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