I need my car to get to work, can it still be seized by Enforcement Agents?

I need my car to get to work, can it still be seized by Enforcement Agents?

Yes, unless it is specifically required for your job. This is a common reason for people to mistakenly make complaints against enforcement agents (incorrectly but commonly referred to as a bailiff).

There is a great deal of confusion leading to motorists believing that if they need their car for work it will be exempt from seizure. This is not the case. Even if a motorist is able to provide evidence that his employment would be at risk if his vehicle were seized, his vehicle would only be considered an exempt item if its value is below £1,350.

There is a difference between a vehicle that is classed as a tool of the trade compared to one considered necessary or essential, for example, driving to work. For a vehicle to be considered as a tool of the trade you must be able to show that it is vital for both operating your business and is solely used for business purposes. This can often be evidenced by insurance documentation showing the vehicle is insured for business purposes only.

If any other vehicle could be used as a substitute for work purposes, such as a hire car, then the vehicle is less likely to be classed as a tool of the trade. A vehicle used for commuting to and from work is not a tool of the trade. Also, a limited company cannot claim the benefit of this exemption.

The regulations state that an enforcement agent can immobilise a vehicle at the debtor’s premises or on a highway. The vehicle must be secured by an immobilisation device unless the debtor voluntarily surrenders the keys to the vehicle to the enforcement agent.

The enforcement agent must provide a written warning affixed to the vehicle, which states that it has been immobilised because a debt has not been paid. The vehicle must remain immobilised for a period of not less than 2 hours from the time of immobilisation unless the sum outstanding is paid or an agreement is reached to release the vehicle, for example on part payment. On expiry of this time, if payment is not made, the vehicle can be removed to storage.

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