There are certain things Bailiffs can and can’t take. But where does the law stand on Christmas presents? The simple answer is if a Bailiff gains access to your property they can seize anything of value in your home – and that INCLUDES some of the Christmas presents that you’ve bought.

There are exceptions to what a Bailiff can take. This includes items:

  • that are easily identifiable as belonging to a child
  • which are used for the care and treatment of an elderly person
  • used for self employment or business purposes. This could include vehicles, computing equipment and smart phones if the value is under £1,350.

Can a Bailiff take children’s Christmas presents?

Anything that is clearly identifiable as a child’s toy shouldn’t be taken by a bailiff. There are some gifts which could be classed as a child’s toy and a valuable item that could be seized – such as a games console.

If a child in your household has been bought such a present, by a friend or relative, the Bailiff can take it unless it can be proved that it was bought as a gift by someone else other than the owner of the debt. In this instance the person giving the gift would need to prove ownership by presenting the receipt to the Bailiff Company.

On most occasions, if goods which don’t belong to you have been seized at your address you will normally have up to 10 days to prove that they are not yours. In order to do this, the owner of the goods would need to prove that the items belong to them through receipts of purchase.

Gifts for adults and valuables

If the Bailiff enters your property and sees valuables which don’t fall in to any of the excluded categories then they can be seized.

What you could do?

If you’re buying a number of physical items, while there may be the threat of Bailiff action, then an alternative could be to house the goods elsewhere.

What to do if a Bailiff calls?

A couple of key points to remember;

Keep your doors locked at all times – A Bailiff can gain what is known as ‘peaceful entry’ by walking through an unlocked door or being invited in by anyone over the age of 18. Once they have gained access to your property they can list goods to later seize and sell.

  • Don’t let the Bailiffs in – you don’t need to let a Bailiff in to your home. If you let them in they can then force entry on subsequent occasions.
  • Don’t sign anything the Bailiff puts in front of you.
  • In these instances we highly recommend getting qualified legal and financial advice.

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