Bailiffs cannot just take everything from your home. There are protected items that they must not take.
Bailiffs operate under strict rules and are regulated by UK law. If a bailiff tries to take an item away from you that is on this protected list you can try to stop them or complain.
Bailiffs are not able to take:
- Belongings that you need to live. For example, your cooker, fridge or clothes. This is defined as needing to 'serve your basic domestic needs'. See further explanation below.
- Tools and equipment that you use to work, earn a living or for education that are worth less than £1350.00.
- Items in your home that do not belong to you. You will have to proove that the goods belong to someone else.
- Goods that belong to a child. Toys, clothes or bedding.
- Pets or assistance animals.
- Any item or vehicle that is on a hire purchase agreement or conditional sale agreement.
- Vehicles used for emergency work such as the fire service or ambulance service.
- Anything that is also or could be used as your home, a tent, caravan or house boat for example.
Basic Domestic Needs
Items that are essential for "basic domestic needs" might include the following:
- a fridge
- washing machine
- table and chairs to seat everyone who lives in the home
- beds and bedding for you and other people who live in your home
- essential clothing for you and other people who live in your home
- a means to contact others, eg a telephone or mobile telephone
- medical equipment
- light and heat giving equipment, portable radiators or lamps
- belongings needed for the care of children
- belongings needed for the care of disabled or elderly people living in the home
This is not an exhaustive list. Before a bailiff takes anything from your home they must discuss with you what they can and can't take. They must reach an agreement with you over what items are needed to serve you basic domestic needs and what items are not.
These are examples of items that would not be considered essential:
- DVD player
- CD player
- Stereo or music player
- Computer or games console (that is not being used for work or study)
- Non essential designer clothing
- Luxury kitchen items such as soup blenders, balloon whisks or egg timers.
For more information on the rules bailiffs must follow when seizing goods, see the Bailiff Rules guide.