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Can Bailiffs Take Sofas? What You Need To Know 2022


For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

Want to know if bailiffs can take sofas? The answer is yes. A bailiff can take your sofa; however, it can only be sold if it has an original fire safety label attached. Additionally, bailiffs must leave you enough furniture for you and your family to use for your basic needs.

Bailiffs also called enforcement officers can come to your home, and take your property for debts you need to pay. There are many things they can take, including the sofa, but there are things that they can’t take. In this article, I’ll be sharing details on what bailiffs can’t take. What you can do if you’re expecting bailiffs and your rights.

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Will Bailiffs Take My Sofa?

Bailiffs can only take your possessions if you let them in or if you leave the doors unlocked so they can gain entry. Bailiffs can only call at your home between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm. If you let them in, or they come through an open door you need to know what things they can’t take.

A bailiff can take a sofa, but this is often more trouble than it’s worth. For example, a sofa cannot be sold if it doesn’t have the original fire safety label. Additionally, sofas can be difficult to sell. That doesn’t mean they won’t take it, but they may decide to leave it if it has no value to them.

What Can Bailiffs Take?

Bailiffs can take many things from your home that have value. They are usually interested in things such as entertainment equipment, vehicles, money, jewellery, white goods, and high-value goods. What’s important is you know what a bailiff can’t take. If you’re aware of your rights, you can ensure the bailiffs follow the rules and you can take steps to claim back things taken in error.

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What Can’t a Bailiff Take?

There are many things a bailiff can’t take. It’s important to know what these things are as you can stop them from taking them or put in a complaint if they do. Things bailiffs can’t take include:

  • Your pets including your guide dog
  • Things that don’t belong to you, such as items belonging to your children or partner
  • Things you need for your job or study up to a value of £1350. These things include tools, computers, and vehicles.
  • Mobility vehicle
  • Vehicles displaying a valid Blue Badge
  • Things that are attached to your home that will cause damage if they remove. This is things such as kitchen units or built-in wardrobes. Bailiffs can take these items if they aren’t attached or easily removable.
  • Bailiffs can’t take things that you need to live, that cover your basic domestic needs.

What Are Things for Your Basic Domestic Needs?

You must have enough things left that will cover your basic domestic needs. Your basic domestic needs are:

  • Enough chairs for each person living on the property
  • Table
  • Fridge
  • Washing Machine
  • Cooker or microwave
  • A phone (can be a mobile phone)
  • Required medical equipment
  • Things necessary for the care of a child or an elderly person

Can Bailiffs Enter Your Home When You’re out?

Most bailiffs don’t have the right to enter your home if you’re not there. However, certain debts allow bailiffs to gain entry even through locked doors with the assistance of a locksmith. A bailiff can enter this way if they’re collecting tax debts or debts for criminal fines.

Bailiffs can’t enter your home if you are out or when only children aged under 16 or vulnerable people are at the property. Vulnerable people are those with disabilities, are pregnant, have an illness or have mental health problems. There are set rules bailiffs must follow if you are classed as vulnerable.

How to Keep Out the Bailiffs

The best thing to do is take every step to avoid letting the bailiffs in. Inform everyone in the house about the impending visit and ensure they understand how important it is to keep the doors locked. Let children know not to answer the door and not to let anyone in.

Can Bailiffs Enter Through an Open Window?

Bailiffs can’t enter your home through an open window. However, you are advised to keep all windows locked along with the doors. Bailiffs can force entry for debts such as:

  • Stamp Duty
  • Income Tax
  • Unpaid criminal fines

For most debts, the only way a bailiff can gain entry is if you let them in or if the door is open unless they have visited and given access before. You will have at least 7 days’ notice of the first visit, so you do have time to get prepared. Once you receive notice you can still stop the bailiff from calling by organising payment of the debt. Talk to a debt advisor if you’d like help with dealing with the bailiffs or looking at your available options.

Can a Bailiff Take My Car?

A bailiff can take your car and any other belongings that you have from the outside of your property. This could be your car, garden equipment and anything else you have left outside. Move your car far away from the outside of your property if you’re expecting a visit from the bailiffs. Or lock it inside a garage.

Can Bailiffs Look in Drawers?

Bailiffs can look in drawers and will do so. They usually won’t take everything from the house, but they will look for things of value, such as jewellery. They are aware that cash and jewellery can be easily hidden, so they will look for them.

Can Bailiffs Take My Child’s Belongings?

Bailiffs only have the right to take things belonging to the person named on the debt. They cannot take things that belong to the children, spouse friend or lodger.

How to Stop Bailiffs Taking What They Shouldn’t

Bailiffs might try to take, or successfully take things that they shouldn’t. If this happens you can request the items are returned to you. You’ll need to show evidence supporting your claim. If they fail to return the goods contact the original creditor, the person who has hired the bailiffs. Inform them and show them evidence showing why the item or items should be returned to you.

I have more articles below full of advice about bailiffs and what you can and can’t do to stop bailiffs from entering your home and taking your property. Click through the articles below and speak to a debt advisor when struggling with bailiffs or debt management.

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Are you struggling with debt?
Are you struggling with debt?
  • Affordable repayments
  • Reduce pressure from people you owe money to
  • Stop interest and charges from soaring