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Can Bailiffs Take My Car for a Parking Fine? 2022

HomeParking TicketsCan Bailiffs Take My Car for a Parking Fine? 2022
bailiffs take car parking fine

Can bailiffs take my car for a parking fine? We’ll be answering this and related questions about bailiffs chasing parking fines here. Read on to uncover the answer. 

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances, parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

What happens if you don’t pay a parking fine?

What happens when you don’t pay a parking fine depends entirely on the type of parking fine you’ve received. You’re likely to have been issued a Penalty Charge Notice from a local authority, or you’ll have been served a Parking Charge Notice from a private car park operator.

When you don’t pay a council parking fine within 28 days, the council increases your fine by 50%. They do this by sending you a formal notice called a charge certificate. You are given 14 days to pay the increased fine. If you don’t pay within 14 days, the council can apply for a court order, which is when a judge tells you to pay or face further action. 

When you don’t pay a private parking ticket, the car park operator may or may not take legal action. If no action is taken, you won’t be obligated or forced to pay. But you could receive a court summons. If you don’t defend yourself a judge is likely to issue a County Court Judgment (CCJ) stating you must pay. Alternatively, you could go to court and may win or end up having to pay. 

Can the council or car park operator use bailiffs?

The council or private car park company can enforce the debt if a court order has been issued stating you must pay, and this includes the potential use of bailiffs

Ignoring a court order to pay the parking ticket will give the local authority or private firm the option to use different methods to enforce the debt, such as:

  1. A Charging Order on a property you own
  2. An Attachment of Earnings Order
  3. Enforcement officers to collect the money (bailiffs!)

What happens when bailiffs are called?

The council or private company will employ bailiffs to collect the money owed as stated in the court order. They will contact the debtor in writing to tell them to pay the debt or expect them to visit. They must give seven days’ notice before attending a property, which is why the letter is called a Notice of Enforcement. 

Just for sending this letter, the bailiff company will charge £75. But this fee is added to your debt rather than becoming payable by the council or car park company. There are further and much more expensive fees if they have to visit your home or take possessions to clear the debt. So it’s best to try and clear the debt before they visit!

They will only seize your assets to sell them and clear the debt if you are unwilling or unable to pay with cash when they arrive. They might accept a payment plan but they don’t have to. 

Can a bailiff force entry for a parking fine?

Bailiffs cannot force entry into your home by breaking down doors. They are only allowed to enter unlocked or ajar doors and they can’t climb through windows. There are limited exceptions to this rule, such as when you’ve defaulted on a Controlled Goods Agreement. But even then, they use locksmiths rather than break down doors. 

That’s why communicating with bailiffs is best done from an upstairs window rather than your doorway. 

Can a bailiff take my car for a parking fine?

Technically, a bailiff can seize a vehicle for an unpaid parking fine when you’re subject to a court order to pay. But they will try to get a cash payment from you first, and may target other assets before your vehicle. 

We discuss more on this shortly. 

Can bailiffs take my car if it’s not in my name?

Bailiffs cannot take a vehicle when the vehicle isn’t in your name, such as being owned by a partner or on a Hire Purchase Agreement (Because the HP company still owns the vehicle!). They can take the vehicle if it’s jointly owned by someone else. The other person can claim a percentage of the value back if it has to be sold to clear the debt. 

But there are other reasons that a bailiff may not be able to take your car…

When can a bailiff not take my car?

Bailiffs cannot seize a vehicle that is:

  1. Used as your home, such as a campervan
  2. A mobility vehicle or has a Blue Badge
  3. Used for work and valued below £1,350

How to stop bailiffs taking your car

Bailiffs can clamp and seize a vehicle that is on your driveway or on a public road. But they cannot enter a locked garage or other people’s property to clamp or take the vehicle. Therefore, if you want to stop a bailiff from taking your car, you could:

  1. Put the vehicle in a locked garage
  2. Ask a friend or family member to leave it on their property

You should do this if you know they’re coming to visit you, such as after receiving a Notice of Enforcement and not clearing the debt within seven days. 

Will a bailiff take my car for a parking fine?

Although bailiffs can take your car for a parking fine, they might not do so. The total of a parking fine plus bailiff fees is often much smaller than the value of most vehicles, so they might target other assets if you don’t pay in cash. 

They may prefer to seize electrical goods, such as TVs, laptops and games consoles before they attempt to clamp and seize your car. But this isn’t guaranteed. 

Can a debt collector take my car?

No, a debt collector cannot take your car or any of your assets. A private car park operator may use a debt collection agency to chase an unpaid parking fine. These companies aren’t bailiffs and don’t have any legal powers that the car park company does. It’s simply an outsourcing relationship of convenience for the car park company.

Fight back against bailiffs with MoneyNerd!

Learn more about the “cans and can’ts” of enforcement officers with MoneyNerd. Check out our bailiff guide for further help and support – it’s free to read!

Do You Have to Pay?

In many circumstances parking tickets are not enforceable.

It’s a bit sneaky, but last time I had a parking fine, I paid £5 for a trial to chat to an online solicitor.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor fees, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

You can try it out now, just remember to cancel the trial once you’ve got your answer.

GET STARTED

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