What You Need To Know About Warrants Of Control

If a creditor successfully obtains a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against you and you don’t pay, the creditor may request a Warrant of Control from the court.

This warrant allows a county court bailiff to collect money owed by seizing your property to compel you to pay your debt. The bailiff should give you seven clear days’ notice in advance of their visit, often referred to as the enforcement notice.

It can be worrying not knowing what to do, but this article will help you understand more about this kind of warrant and what steps you can take.

What Does A Warrant Of Control Do?

A Warrant of Control empowers an enforcement agent or county court bailiffs to visit the judgement debtor at their home or place of business. Essentially, if you have a county court judgement against you for a debt and fail to pay as the court has directed, your creditor may apply to the court for a legal document known as a Warrant of Control.

When a warrant of control is acquired, the bailiffs can confiscate your property. However, they cannot do so until the period mentioned in the enforcement notice has passed.

This means that bailiffs may still seize your property even if you transfer it before the time limit ends, and they may try to recover possession of it after the time limit has gone.

How Does A Warrant Of Control Work?

Before initiating any legal action, a creditor must attempt to reach an arrangement with you. This is referred to as the pre-action process in the context of debt claims.

You should have received a letter of claim form outlining numerous possible resolutions and requiring you to react within 30 days before your creditor may issue a default notice before initiating a CCJ claim.

If you and your creditor cannot reach an agreement or if you do not respond to the letter of claim within 30 days, you will get a warning letter or default notice. This informs you that you must return what you owe, or else your creditor will initiate legal proceedings.

County Court Judgement (CCJ)

You must have a court county judgement (CCJ) against you to get a Warrant of Control. A CCJ is a court order directing you to pay a debt to a creditor. If you get a judgement, the court has legally determined that you owe the money.

The court’s decision will be sent by the postal service and will explain:

  • What you owe.
  • How to make payment (in full or in instalments).
  • The payment deadline.
  • Who is responsible for the payment.

Generally, a CCJ gives you two weeks to answer. Judgments are retained for 6 years unless the whole sum is paid within a month. This might make it challenging to get credit in the future.

Failure to pay or missed payments

If you continue to default on your obligation even after the creditor has filed for a CCJ against you and the court agrees, the creditor can actively pursue a Warrant of Control. You must have one of the following before this can start happening:

  • You have failed to pay the entire amount that has been requested of you.
  • Defaulted on at least one payment.

Notice of enforcement

If you default on a payment or skip a payment, the court may issue a warrant of control, authorising county court bailiffs to seize your property. They will typically send you a letter notifying you of any enforcement action, referred to as an enforcement notice, 7 days in advance.

Once the enforcement authorities have taken your property in exchange for payment, they usually auction it off and apply the proceeds to your obligations.

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What Happens After I Receive A Warrant Of Control?

Once you’ve received an enforcement notice informing you that the county court bailiffs will visit you in 7 clear days, you can expect the bailiff to take action. The definition of clear days does not include Sundays, bank holidays, and Christmas Day.

Bailiffs will probably visit you if you do not pay within 7 days; however, bailiffs are bound by strict laws. Make sure you’re familiar with the rules so you can defend yourself if the bailiffs break them.

You are not required to admit the bailiffs, and they are not permitted to force their way in unless and until:

  • You let them in before at another time.
  • They have already seized possession of your property.
  • You have violated a contract you signed with them.
  • They’ve provided you with at least 2 full days’ notice.

Bailiffs may only attend between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. A bailiff is not permitted to come outside of these hours, and you are within your rights to contact the police if they do. They can only enter via a conventional entrance, such as a door, and they are not permitted to enter the building via a window.

Can Enforcement Agents Force Entry With A Warrant of Control?

Court county bailiffs are not permitted to forcibly enter your house, regardless of whether they have a warrant of control. You are under no obligation to welcome them in.

Enforcement agents must adhere to strict rules about what they can and cannot do. Following the pandemic, these requirements have become more stringent. The only time they are permitted to force entry is in the following circumstances:

  • They’ve given you 2 days’ notice.
  • You breached a contract you had with the county court/bailiffs.
  • You had allowed them in on a prior visit.

Are Enforcement Agents Allowed To Enter my Home When I’m Not There?

Bailiffs are not permitted to access your property if no one is there. Additionally, they are not allowed to enter your home if the sole occupants are under 16 or are vulnerable (for example, due to disability). To prevent bailiffs from entering your home while away, secure all doors and windows while leaving the residence. Remember to secure the porch door if you have one.

If you reside with others, make sure they understand not to allow bailiffs to enter the home while you are not there.

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Our trained advisors are here to help, so if you think an IVA proposal is one of the best debt solutions for you, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 464 7235 to speak to one of our trained debt advisors or click below to see if you qualify…

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What Type Of Goods Can Enforcement Agents Take?

If bailiffs arrive at your residence with a control warrant, they are within their rights to seize your household items and other assets.


A car is something that bailiffs will try to recover due to its monetary worth. Unless you are reliant on your vehicle for employment, there is nothing you can do to prevent them.

If you’re a tradesperson and rely on your vehicle for work, you may be permitted to retain it as long as its value is less than £1350 and you can demonstrate that it’s essential to your company. Bailiffs cannot seize vehicles displaying a valid Blue Badge or a Motability vehicle.


Bailiffs are mainly interested in things that can be sold at an auction, such as electronic equipment like smartphones, televisions, or video game console systems. They may also target high-value things like jewellery and furniture.

Types Of Goods Enforcement Agents Cannot Take

Bailiffs are not permitted to remove everything since some items are protected, like your basic household items.

Hire purchase items

Bailiffs are only permitted to seize anything that is legitimately yours. This implies that they cannot confiscate anything on hire purchase (HP), whether a car or anything else, since they legally do not belong to you.

You will be asked to demonstrate that the things are subject to hire purchase. So it is always a good idea to have a copy of your contract on hand. The sole exception to this rule is if your HP repayments are complete; in this case, the item is considered your property.

Basic household items

While it is sometimes assumed that bailiffs have the authority to seize all you possess, this is not the case. To begin, they may take only objects that they have access to.

They are not permitted to take the following items:

  • Appliances such as your stove or microwave, a refrigerator, and a washer and dryer
  • Your mobile or landline phone
  • Animal companions or aid animals
  • Beds and bedding for each member of the household
  • A dining table and sufficient chairs to accommodate the whole household
  • Heating and lighting appliances for your home
  • Equipment for medical or care purposes.

How Long Does A Warrant of Control Last?

The warrant of control is valid for a period of 1 year. If the warrant is not paid within this time period or if the Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) does not file a final report within this time period, it becomes invalid.

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Our trained advisors are here to help, so if you think an IVA proposal is one of the best debt solutions for you, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 464 7235 to speak to one of our trained debt advisors or click below to see if you qualify…

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The Difference Between A High Court Writ Of Control And A Warrant Of Control

The terms “warrant of control” and “high court writ of control” are interchangeable. Both are judicial mechanisms that compel debtors to pay their obligations or face enforcement action, and the level of the court is the most significant distinction between the two.

A Warrant of Control

A Warrant of Control is a legal document that empowers an enforcement agent to visit the debtor’s residence to collect any outstanding money or to take property from the home for auction.

Enforcement officers are restricted in the kind of products they may seize. They are not entitled to take any items necessary for the debtor to do business or any things that would hinder them from maintaining a minimum level of life.

A Writ of Control

The Writ of Control is used only to implement High Court judgments instead of County Court judgments, which are executed by a Warrant of Control. When performing a Warrant of Control, Enforcement Agents visit the debtor’s address; however, a High Court Enforcement Officer fulfils this function when executing a Writ of Control.

Can I Stop A Warrant of Control?

You may petition the court to suspend a Warrant of Control by submitting an N245 form. Even if the bailiffs have not yet visited, the court cannot deny your application – but bailiffs may continue to visit you until the court decides to suspend the Warrant of control.

Send or deliver your completed N245 application form to the County Court hearing centre, where you were served with the warrant. You must pay a court fee when you submit your application unless you are exempt or are not required to pay due to financial hardship. Ensure that you retain a copy of the completed form. A copy of your application form will be sent to the creditor by the court.

Where To Get Expert Debt Advice

Anyone may become financially distressed, and if you are dealing with debt and want assistance, call the IVA Helpline.

With qualified consultants in this field, they can assist you and provide you with expert guidance. If you’re concerned about enforcement officers paying a visit to your house, get in touch on 0800 464 7235.

Call us on 0800 464 7235

Our trained advisors are here to help, so if you think an IVA proposal is one of the best debt solutions for you, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 464 7235 to speak to one of our trained debt advisors or click below to see if you qualify…

Check if you qualify

Final Thoughts

No matter your individual financial circumstances, your creditor can file for a Warrant of Control if you have ignored the CCJ. This warrant allows bailiffs or enforcement agents to enter your home and seize your property.

Contact the IVA Helpline for debt advice and a debt solution to help you going forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can bailiffs take my belongings for someone else’s debt?

    Bailiffs are only permitted to remove anything from inside your house, and they are not allowed to take anything that belongs to you if they are collecting another’s debt.

  • What happens if I have nothing for bailiffs to take?

    If a bailiff cannot collect anything from you, they may send you back to your original creditor, and your creditor may sue you and declare you bankrupt.

  • Can bailiffs take my car if it’s not in my name?

    Bailiffs have the authority to seize your vehicle. Bear in mind that the vehicle’s registered keeper is not the vehicle’s owner. Therefore, since bailiffs may only seize the debtor’s property, they may take the car.

  • How do you challenge a Warrant of Control?

    If you have been unable to pay your debt or negotiate a payment plan and the bailiffs are visiting your house, you are not required to allow them entry. Your best course of action is to complete the N245 form to suspend the Warrant of Control.

    By contacting IVA Helpline, you can also benefit from expert advice as to how to proceed.

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