The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 states the fees a bailiff can charge for their services. If a judge has told you to pay back a debt and you now face bailiffs, you need to know what they can currently charge.

Below we cover all of the fees in the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 without jargon, and we explain a little-known loophole!

What is the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014?

The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 limits the amount debtors can be charged by enforcement officers – also known as bailiffs – for enforcing debts for a creditor as per a court order. Debtors are faced with various fees when dealing with bailiffs and this simplifies and caps what they can be charged. 

More information can be found in the tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

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What can a bailiff legally charge you?

If you have agents coming to your property to enforce a debt as instructed by the court (maybe via a creditor), there are certain fees they can charge during each stage of the process:

  1. Compliance fee

The “compliance stage” is when the agent must give notice to debtors to pay the outstanding money, known as a Notice of Enforcement. It is called the compliance stage because they are complying with their legal obligations using the notice. 

The debtor must be given seven days to act and make the payment, not including Sundays or national holidays. If the payment is recovered, debt collection is complete and no further action is taken. 

This compliance notice will also state that enforcement officers will visit the debtor at their home address or business premises to take control of goods if they do not receive payment in time. 

The fee for this is £75 which is added to your debt. 

  1. Enforcement fee

If the debtor does not repay within those seven days, an enforcement agent will come to the debtor’s home, known as the “enforcement stage”. They will be charged for the enforcement agent coming out and executing a repossession, but as per Regulation 11, they can only be charged once even if the enforcement agent is enforcing multiple debts.

The enforcement fee for this is £235 + 7.5% of the value of the debt being enforced above £1,500.

  1. Sale fee

The bailiff can make another charge to the debtor for taking control of goods and preparing them for sale, known as the sale stage or selling stage. 

The fee for this is £110 + 7.5% of the value of the debt above £1,500.

However, additional fees may be charged if the enforcement agent needs the services of a locksmith or storage facility. If any goods are disposed of, there is a disposal stage which also comes with additional fees. Different Disposal stage charges can apply depending on what is being disposed of. 

Given the above information, the combined full fee paid to enforcement companies can certainly be high!

Does Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 always apply?

The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 dictates what can be charged in most debt enforcements, such as instructions by county and tribunals courts. However, the above fees are not relevant when an enforcement agent is executing a ‘writ of control’ for the High Court. High court debt enforcement is subject to another fee structure. 

The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 also includes exceptions for vulnerable people. If you are classed as a vulnerable person as per the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, you will not have to pay one of the above charges – and you might not have to face enforcement agents at all.

Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 and vulnerable debtors

The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 protects debtors who are vulnerable from some taking control of goods practices. And these debtors can even avoid charges. 

First, as per Regulation 12, if an enforcement agent attends a premises and deems the debtor as a vulnerable person, they should not be taking control of goods. Instead, they should provide the debtor with contact details for debt charities and support. Moreover, the bailiff can no longer charge the enforcement fee.

However, the bailiff is allowed to request payment; they just cannot take control of any goods until debt advice has been provided. 

Does the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 say I’m vulnerable?

Vulnerability as per the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 can be either permanently vulnerable or temporarily vulnerable debtors. For example, someone with learning difficulties would be classed as permanently vulnerable and Regulation 12 will always apply, whereas someone who is pregnant is only temporarily vulnerable and will only benefit from it for a set period. 

You might be considered vulnerable if:

  • You are elderly or seriously ill
  • You have been made unemployed 
  • You are overcoming a bereavement 
  • You are a single parent
  • You cannot speak or read English

Vulnerability is assessed on a case by case basis. You might want to contact debt charity services for guidance. 

Tell enforcement agents you’re vulnerable

Don’t wait until the enforcement agents turn up at your door to claim you’re a vulnerable person. It is advantageous to tell the enforcement company about your vulnerability in advance by calling them or sending an email.

By doing this, you will not have to deal with enforcement officers at your door and arrangements can be made remotely. 

Will I need to prove vulnerability?

You will need to show evidence that you are vulnerable, such as a doctor’s note or evidence from DWP showing related state benefits. 

Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 FAQs

Why do bailiffs charge?

They charge because they are providing a service on behalf of the court and their clients, even if the service might not be what you want. 

Do you have to pay bailiff fees?

The regulations state they can legally charge you a fee, meaning you have to cough up. 

What is the enforcement stage?

The enforcement stage is when the bailiff comes to your property to recover payment or goods and charge the enforcement fee. This is the highest fixed fee they can charge. The enforcement stage comes after the compliance stage and before the sale stage.

Are bailiff fees against the law?

No, the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 allows enforcement companies to charge a fee. 

Can I report an enforcement company for illegal fees?

Write, call or email the enforcement agency to discuss a problem with the fees they’ve charged. You will find their contact details on their website. Or report them to the FCA. 

More Help with Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014!

For more information dealing with enforcement collection services, speak with a debt charity. They offer online help through their website or you can chat with them over the phone. 

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more