Summary: this article will clarify what a bailiff is legally allowed to remove from an individual’s home, as well as items that they are not allowed to remove.
In order for a bailiff to legally enter a home and remove goods to repay outstanding debt, they must first be approved by the courts and hold a Warrant of Execution. They are not allowed to force entry to a property (unless as the last resort in the case of unpaid criminal fines, tax or vat debt), and they should only take items to the value of the amount outstanding (including any additional costs added by the bailiff themselves).
Bailiffs have removed items that cost far more than the original debt, can they do this?
It is important to remember that the bailiffs will need to sell the goods they take, and resale value is often lower than the value when first purchased. That said, the bailiff is required to get the best price possible at auction or, in some cases, a private sale. Furthermore, the original debt may have increased due to additional interest owed, and the bailiff will also charge a fee.
Is there anything a bailiff is not allowed to take?
Bailiffs are not entitled to remove any items that are deemed to be essential, nor are they allowed to take anything owned by someone else. As a rule of thumb, anything at is considered a luxury item (for example, a television and/or games console) can, and more than likely will, be seized by the bailiff. However, essential items, such as a bed, clothing etc, cannot be taken by a bailiff.
Can I stop a bailiff removing items from my home?
If a bailiff has been allowed to enter the property 'peacefully', then aside from paying the amount outstanding (or coming to a mutual agreement with the bailiff), there is little that can be done to prevent the removal of items. However, it may be possible to come to a 'Walking Possession Agreement' with the bailiff. This means that the items will remain in the property for a set period of time with a daily fee payable to the bailiff. This is really only suitable if the debtor is in the middle of an appeal, or attempting to come to an alternative arrangement with the court, as it is only a short term solution.