Seizure of Assets in Netherlands

Updated on Friday 22nd November 2019

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When a debtor cannot honor the payments to a creditor there can be made further procedures to enforce the payment, the most common court decision in this case is the seizure of assets.   

The seizure of assets (known also as asset forfeiture or confiscation) is a form of confiscation initiated by the state, pursuant to law.

The three mains actions of this procedure are: a notification, minutes of seizure and sale.

The first step is sending a notification to the debtor in which is clearly specified the amount of money he owes to the creditor and which are the consequences of refusal to pay. There is also mentioned information such as address of the parties and the address of domicile in the municipality where the execution should take place. After this procedure, the bailiff will elaborate a report of seizure.

An important document is the bailiff’s copy, which is mandatory to start this procedure of debt collection.  A “bailiff’s copy” of a judicial ruling is a certified copy of the ruling. On the top of this document are mentioned the words “In naam der Koningin” (In the name of the Queen), which make the copy easy to recognize. This document is issued to the both parties and it is free of charge.

In conclusion, the bailiff may perform the next actions in the enforcement procedure: the service of the writ of execution, the notification to execute the performance, the process of taking receipt of payment when the debtor does effect payment and even attachment.

Executory attachment can be levied on: movable property that is not registered property; bearer rights or rights to order, to registered shares or other registered securities; under a third party (by garnishee order); on immovable property; on ships; on aircraft, but the executor is free to choose the assets to be executed and there can be various assets at the same time, movable and immovable properties. 

There are some categories which are not eligible for attachment, such as property required for primary necessities of life, food, workmen’s tools, clothing, specialist literature and property for the purposes of education, art and science and also a part of periodic wage, maintenance or benefit payments. Assets intended for public services are another category of goods that can not be taken in attachment.

The debtor is charged with the fix fees (stipulated in an Official Decree) resulted from the official acts issued by the bailiffs and no fixed fees are applied to the creditor.

Acts by the debtor performed after attachment cannot be prejudicial to the rights of the person levying attachment. In this case, if the debtor had the intention to sell his business, the purchaser can not, in principle, claim to the creditor that he has become the owner and the business’ income is also covered by the attachment.

After the recording of the attachment in the public registers, it becomes effective. The incomes from the immovable property obtained after attachment are also included to the attachment and the selling of these goods cannot be relied upon against the person levying attachment.

The authority to enforce a judicial ruling becomes prescribed twenty years from the day following that of the ruling. In the situation in which the enforcement of a judicial ruling is subject to certain requirements, the fulfilment of which is not contingent upon the will of the person who obtained the ruling, then the authority to enforce a judicial ruling becomes prescribed twenty years from the start of the day following that on which the requirements were satisfied. But the usual term of prescription is five years for the payment made in a year or less, when are not involved penalties, fines, interest or other additional orders.

When an attachment by garnishment is implied for collecting a monetary judgment against a defendant, the procedure involves a third party (the garnishee) to pay money, otherwise owed to the defendant, directly to the plaintiff. The most common situations are attachment at a bank, on a bank or giro account, and at an employer, on an employee’s wage.

If you need debt collection services in another country, such as Georgia, we can put you in touch with our local partners specialized in debt recovery in Georgia.