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2 Jul 2021 Attachment of vehicles simplified

It has recently become possible to carry out an administrative seizure of a motor vehicle or trailer without the bailiff having seen the vehicle himself and with the seizure being recorded in the RDW's vehicle registration register.

Prejudgmental and executory attachment

If a creditor has won a case, unfortunately this does not always result in the debtor paying voluntarily. Attachment and enforcement law makes it possible to have a court judgment enforced.

In order to secure a claim, an attachment may be levied. So-called prejudgment attachment may be levied shortly before or during legal proceedings. An executory attachment can only be made if the judge in legal proceedings has ruled that the debtor must indeed pay the creditor. If the creditor fails to comply with the judgment, the judicial officer can then collect the claim by means of an attachment for enforcement. If a prejudgment attachment has been levied in advance, the attachment will change colour after the judgment and will then be automatically enforceable. The attachment may be 'enforced', for example by the (public) sale of attached goods, or by a bank's having to release the amount in the account subject to the attachment.

Amendments to attachment and enforcement law

The law on attachment and enforcement was recently amended in a number of important respects. The purpose of the legislative amendment is threefold: (1) to prevent a debtor from no longer being able to provide for his livelihood as a result of the attachment, (2) to make attachment and execution more effective and efficient, and (3) to prevent attachment from being used solely as a means of exerting pressure.

One of the amendments concerns the attachment of vehicles.

Before the amendment of the law, the attachment of motor vehicles and trailers (both provisional and enforceable) was effected by the judicial officer recording the motor vehicles present at the debtor's address on the spot. In order to avoid unnecessary costs, it was necessary to find out where the vehicle was located and to send the bailiff out at a time when there was a good chance of actually finding the vehicle there. It was never certain whether this would succeed and it required careful planning.

Since the amendment, it is no longer necessary for the judicial officer to actually find the motor vehicle in question. It is sufficient to make an entry in the Road Administration's vehicle registration list ("RDW"), the only condition being that the motor vehicle in question is registered in the debtor's name. This rule applies to motor vehicles and trailers. The attachment of a vehicle has thus become an 'administrative attachment'.

Blockage in the RDW vehicle register

Due to an automatic ensuing registration blockade, it is not possible for a debtor to transfer the motor vehicle to another licence plate holder (and subsequently argue in court that the vehicle does not belong to him). Potential buyers can see in the RDW register that the seizure has been made and are thus better protected. The attachment therefore offers more security than before.

In addition, the bailiff can give the debtor an instruction to surrender the vehicle for the purpose of execution. If the debtor fails to comply with this instruction, the bailiff may report the matter.

However, there is also a disadvantage to this administrative attachment. It is difficult for the bailiff to assess the value of the car because he does not see it. If the expectation is that the costs of the attachment will be higher than the proceeds, it is not permitted to make the attachment. After all, the attachment may not serve only to put pressure on the debtor.
In order to determine the current value, the website www.anwb.nl/auto/koerslijst can be of assistance. Extra costs for e.g. new car papers and keys should also be taken into account.

Do you have any questions or need advice about debt collection or seizure? Then contact one of our lawyers. We will be happy to assist you!

SPEE advocaten & mediation Maastricht

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