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A Warrant of Control gives bailiffs the green light to step into your property and seize your belongings to settle your debt. But you can prevent this from happening if you could get in touch with them as soon as possible. You might be wondering how to avoid receiving this Warrant of Control.

Dont worry. Let us guide you through to find your options…

Warren Marshall
Last updated on 9 October 2023
Fact Checked

Table of Contents

1. What is a Warrant of Control?
2. What happens next?
3. Can a bailiff force entry with a Warrant of Control?
4. What can a bailiff not take?
5. Learn how to deal with bailiffs for free!
6. How long does a Warrant of Control last?
7. Can you stop a Warrant of Control?
8. Is a Warrant of Control from the High Court?
9. What is the difference between a Writ of Control and a Warrant of Control?
10. Want more free debt info?
11. Key Points:


Within this article, we have discussed all the things you need to know about Warrant of Control. Plus, we have discussed the risks you may have to face if things escalate to this extent.

What is a Warrant of Control?

A Warrant of Control is a legal document that gives permission to creditors to enforce a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against a debtor (you, in this case) using bailiff agents. Through this legal document, the bailiffs get legal permission to enter your home and seize your belongings.

Then, those seized goods will be sold in an auction to settle the total debt and all bailiffs’ charges.

Taking a Warrant of Control is the last step that a creditor will take against a debtor if all other attempts to recover the debt fail.

When will your creditors may take a warrant of control against you?

After all normal communication attempts fail to recover the debt, they will send you one last letter titled “Letter Before Action (LBA)“. Through that letter, they will let you know that they will take legal against you if you do not settle the debt before the due date mentioned in the letter.

Surely, they will go to court and take a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against you if you ignore their LBA notice. The court will grant a CCJ against you if your creditors prove you really owe them. You will be legally responsible for the debt if a CCJ has been issued against you by the court.

The CCJ conjugation will be removed from your credit report and public register if you manage to settle the debt within 30 days of receiving the court order. Otherwise, it will last on your credit report for six years if you do not settle the debt.

Additionally, your credit report and public register status will be updated to satisfied and last for six years if you take more than 30 days to settle the debt from the day of the court order issuing.

Next, your creditors will go again to the court to take a Warrant of Control against you to use bailiff agents to visit your home and seize your belongings if you ignore the CCJ or have missed payments as part of the agreed payment plan.

The bailiffs will store your seized goods in a warehouse and eventually sell them in auction to recover the total debt and all their fees.

Therefore, It’s essential to sustain consistent communication with your creditors to keep them informed about your financial difficulties. Surely, your reasoning with proof could potentially lead to them granting you an extension to settle your outstanding debts.

What happens next?

If you ignore the initial CCJ court order, then your creditors will hire enforcement agents (bailiffs) to recover the debt from yours once their request for a Warrant of Control from the court gets accepted against you.

Next, the bailiffs will send you (to the debtor) a Notice of Enforcement letter. Through this letter, they will let you know that you have 7 days to settle the debts with your creditors. Or else they will visit your home and do one of the following.

1. Requesting payment through a proposed payment arrangement
2. Your valuable belongings in your home will seized. Eventually, those seized goods will be sold in an auction to settle the total debt and all other bailiffs’ charges.

The bailiffs have the authority to include their own charges to your total outstanding debt if they become involved in the debt recovery process. These charges can be quite costly. Normally, it starts at £75 for just to send a Notice of Enforcement letter.

To prevent your debt from increasing further, It is advisable to settle the debt within seven days of receiving the enforcement notice letter. It could prevent bailiffs from making a visit to your home. Plus, it will prevent them from adding additional fees to the total debt.

Once you receive a Warrant of Control, it’s a good practice to propose a payment plan to the bailiff. Keep in mind your proposed payment plan should be one that you could practically be affordable.

Remember to submit your payment proposal in writing to the bailiff. Additionally, make sure to attach a copy of your budget as well. If the bailiff agrees to your proposal, they may not find it necessary to visit you or attempt to seize your assets.

Can a bailiff force entry with a Warrant of Control?

No, bailiffs generally cannot force entry into your home or business premises using a Warrant of Control for most types of debts in the United Kingdom. They are allowed to enter homes where doors have been kept open or unlocked if they have a warrant of control in hand. But they cannot force entry to a home by breaking the door or kicking down the door.

Conversely, they can force entry into your home if you have

1. Unpaid magistrate’s court fines.
2. Unpaid criminal fines.
3. Unpaid Income Tax or Stamp Duty.
4. They may be able to use the “peaceful entry” rule to enter your home and seize your belongings. This happens only if they’ve been on your property before.

You have the right to deny bailiffs access to your home if you wish. It does not matter even if they have a Warrant of Control in hand. For that, you can communicate via the letterbox or from an upstairs window if you prefer to engage with them while preventing access through an open door.

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that bailiffs may still tow away a vehicle registered in your name, whether it’s on your driveway or parked on the street.

Remember that bailiffs are permitted to make visits only between 6 am and 9 pm. You are well within your rights to contact the police if they arrive outside of these hours.

What can a bailiff not take?

In the UK, there are items and properties that bailiffs generally cannot take when attempting to recover debts.

These items are considered “exempt” from seizure, and they include:

1. Essential Household Items: Bailiffs cannot take items that are necessary for your basic domestic needs, such as your bed, refrigerator, cooker, or washing machine.
2. Clothing: Personal clothing, including shoes and coats, are typically exempt from seizure.
3. Essential Furniture: Items like tables, chairs, and sofas that are needed for basic living are usually protected.
4. Cooking and Eating Utensils: Everyday kitchen items like pots, pans, and cutlery are typically exempt. Permanent fixtures within your property, such as built-in kitchen units or fitted wardrobes.
5. Tools of the Trade: If you need specific tools or equipment for your job, they may be exempt from seizure. Essential tools, books, or equipment required for your profession or educational pursuits, with a maximum cumulative value of £1,350.
6. Vehicles with Finance Agreements: If your vehicle is on a finance agreement or hire purchase, it’s usually protected.
7. Vehicles for Disabled People: Vehicles that are adapted for use by disabled individuals may be exempt.
8. Assets Belonging to Someone Else: A bailiff cannot take items or assets that belong to someone else who is not involved in the debt. Belongings that are the property of others, including items owned by your children.
9. pets or guide dogs

It’s important to note that there are exceptions and variations in the rules depending on the type of debt and the specific circumstances.

Additionally, the bailiffs will make a list of items that could potentially be seized if you allow them to enter your property. It’s advisable to seek legal advice or consult a debt advice organisation to understand your specific situation and the exemptions that may apply.

Learn how to deal with bailiffs for free!

Being approached by a bailiff can be a daunting experience. But it doesn’t have to be. There are numerous free resources available that provide guidance on how to handle bailiff interactions.

Organisations like the National Debtline offer free debt advice and can be a beacon of hope in these challenging times.

Alternatively, feel free to fill out our online form by clicking here if you want personal help from our Money Advisor Team based on your current financial standing.

How long does a Warrant of Control last?

A Warrant of Control remains valid for one year. Thus, creditors and bailiffs have enough time to recover their debts from their debtors.

However, creditors need to approach the court and pay additional associated fees if they need to extend this period. Knowing this can allow debtors to strategise their next steps.

Can you stop a Warrant of Control?

Yes, the debtor has the option to pay a fee and request the suspension (halt) of the warrant. The court will provide you with a copy of the debtor’s application to suspend the warrant and Form N246A, which is your response to the debtor’s request for suspension.

Form N246A guides you on the steps to take if:

  • You agree to the warrant being suspended and accept the debtor’s proposed payment.
  • You agree to the suspension but believe the debtor could afford to pay more than what they offered.
  • You do not agree to the warrant being suspended.

A court official will assess the information provided in the debtor’s application to determine an appropriate amount the debtor can afford to pay if you consent to the suspension but not to the debtor’s proposed payment. The court will issue an order to the debtor, specifying the amount and due date. You will also receive a copy of this order.

An appointment will be arranged if you do not agree to the warrant being suspended. Then, both you and the debtor will be informed of the date to appear in court. You have the option to submit your objections in writing to the court. However, a district judge may issue an order regardless of your absence if you fail to attend the appointment.

Is a Warrant of Control from the High Court?

No, a Warrant of Control is issued by the County Court, while the High Court is responsible for the Writ of Control.

Knowing the distinction can assist in better understanding the next steps and potential repercussions.

What is the difference between a Writ of Control and a Warrant of Control?

A Writ of Control is issued by the High Court, whereas a County Court issues a Warrant of Control. However, there is another significant distinction between the two.

A Warrant of Control is employed by an enforcement agent to pursue a debt, while a Writ of Control is utilised by a High Court Enforcement Agent for debt recovery.

In summary, the primary disparities between a Writ of Control and a Warrant of Control encompass:

  • The issuing authority.
  • The type of agent empowered to employ them for debt recovery.

It’s worth noting that some enforcement agents may possess qualifications to utilise both, while others may not be authorised to use a Writ of Control due to their specialisation in High Court debt enforcement.

Want more free debt info?

Empower yourself with knowledge. The complexities of debt can be overwhelming, but ample free resources are at your fingertips. Platforms like Citizens Advice and StepChange can offer in-depth guidance on not just warrants but the entire spectrum of debt-related issues.

With debt, ignorance isn’t bliss, so stay informed!

There are alternative debt solutions available in the UK. But we recommend that you make the choice wisely, as choosing the wrong debt solution can be costly and even burden you further. The best option is to get professional advice on the matter. Feel free to fill out our online form, and our Money Advisor Team will provide personal help.

Key Points:

  • Entry Restrictions: Bailiffs cannot force entry with a Warrant of Control, but they can take accessible vehicles parked outside.
  • Duration: A Warrant of Control typically remains valid for one year, but it can be extended by the court if necessary.
  • Seven-Day Window: Debtors have seven days to pay after receiving a Notice of Enforcement. Otherwise, bailiffs will visit to collect payment or seize assets for sale.
  • Warrant of Control: A legal document used to enforce a County Court Judgment (CCJ) for debt, allowing bailiffs to seize assets to settle the debt.
  • Stopping a Warrant: In specific situations, it is possible to halt a Warrant of Control by applying to the County Court using form N246A.

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