My housemate has received a Notice of Enforcement, are my possessions at risk?

My housemate has received a Notice of Enforcement, are my possessions at risk?

If you have a housemate that receives a letter of enforcement, it is always advised to encourage them to speak to the enforcement company and resolve the situation before this progresses any further and more charges are added.

If you share a home with someone named on a court order or warrant, an enforcement agent will need proof of ownership of your belongings so that they can be excluded from a controlled goods agreement.

If your goods or vehicle has been taken into control for someone else's debt you can make a Third Party Claim. Making a claim suspends the sale. You must start the claim within 7 days from the date the goods were taken into control. If the goods have been sold, and your third party claim succeeds, the court may undo the sale.

Technically, the enforcement agent’s (bailiff’s) job is to collect the full amount of the debt or take goods that can be sold to make up the value of the money owed. In reality, enforcement firms want the process to be as painless as possible. The best way to do that is to engage. In some circumstances, an arrangement to pay the debt off in instalments can be agreed. However, enforcement agents are not obligated to accept a payment plan. They may decide that taking control of your belongings has a better outcome for the court or their client.

The enforcement fee structure is designed to encourage people to make contact at an early stage and as a result, over half of related debt cases are settled by payment arrangements without a visit ever taking place.

The Notice of Enforcement is the most important document. You may get other letters notifying you of the debt and the consequences, but the Notice of Enforcement is the court notifying you that enforcement action is underway.

Enforcement companies are not instructed to deal with disputes regarding the original debt and it is not their responsibility to raise a dispute on behalf of a debtor. The role of the enforcement company and enforcement agent is to collect the balance outstanding or take control of goods to be sold at auction. If you are disputing the debt, you should address the matter at the earliest opportunity directly with the creditor who instructed the enforcement company to act. Only the creditor can suspend the enforcement action.

Can I help my housemate to pay what is owed?

An enforcement agent can accept a payment from a third party, but the regulations state that this must be a voluntary payment. Encouraging your housemate to communicate with the enforcement company is always the best way to resolve a debt that they owe.

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