Part of the debt enforcement procedure in Scotland involves the sending out of official enforcement notices to debtors. An enforcement notice can be sent by post, email or fax, or be delivered by hand by bailiffs.
The notice provides the debtor with seven days in which to pay the full amount of debt outstanding, or to come to a satisfactory payment arrangement with the bailiff company. If the debt remains outstanding after seven days, the next stage of enforcement involves a visit from the bailiff to identify goods for seizure.
There are strict regulations regarding these visits, however, and it is only with a specific court order that they can legally enter your home. This order is called an Exceptional Attachment Order, and is only granted in rare circumstances.
Although they cannot force entry into your home, the bailiff can identify goods belonging to you outside of the property that could potentially be seized at a later date. This might include cars parked on the driveway, or items in an unlocked garage or outbuilding that could later become the subject of a controlled goods agreement.
In these instances, you may find that a notice of ‘Goods viewed for potential removal’ has been attached to certain assets – your car or items inside your garage, for example.
The first stage of enforcement involves the official identification of goods owned by you, for sale at auction. If the goods remain at your home and you sign a controlled goods agreement, it means that you cannot sell or move the items from your property. At this stage, you are given a further period in which to pay off the debt, after which the itemised goods will be seized for sale.
Refusing to sign a controlled goods agreement could result in bailiffs seizing the items immediately, in order to safeguard the assets on behalf of the creditor.
Even if you negotiate a new repayment plan, the goods identified during enforcement remain part of a controlled goods agreement until the debt has been repaid in full. The notice of ‘goods viewed for potential removal’ attached to your car or other belongings could be just the start of a staged enforcement process by bailiffs, introduced by the Taking Control of Goods Regulations, 2013.
Any notice from a bailiff relating to a potential controlled goods agreement, must include sufficient detail to easily identify each item, but even at this stage you can prevent the sale going ahead by paying off the debt in full.
If you live in Scotland and are struggling with debt, Scotland Debt Solutions can offer professional guidance on how to deal with bailiff companies, and what to do if you are issued with an enforcement notice. With five offices around Scotland, we are able to offer a free same-day meeting.
The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund is available for individuals facing the risk of eviction as they cannot claim housing benefits or support.
Are personal debts in Scotland written off after six years? What is statute-barred debt? When is Scottish debt unenforceable? Find out more in this article.
Our Scottish based team can help advise you on your debt problems.