New streamlined procedures that make it easier for landlords to use a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to evict residential tenants came into force on 23rd August 2020.
With the temporary cessation of enforcement visits during the lockdown, creditors may be wondering what happens to their writ of control, normally valid for 12 months from the date of the notice of enforcement.
This was addressed in the Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.
First, let us take a look at how the regulations worked prior to COVID, and then cover the amendments since.
Extending a writ of control
Under normal circumstances, if the debtor has entered into a controlled goods agreement and subsequently defaults on the payments, the writ is then automatically valid for a further 12 months from the date of the breach.
The writ may also be extended, just once, for a further 12-month period. This is done by applying to court for permission. The applicant will need to demonstrate why they need the extension and provide the grounds for not having taken control of the goods during the initial 12-month period.
The application for the extension should be made before the expiry of the writ. Whilst it might be possible to obtain an extension after the expiry of the writ, the applicant will need to make a very strong case.
The extension of writs is covered under CPR rule 84.5. There will be a court fee of £100.
Since coronavirus regulations
The 2020 regulations have amended the expiry rules, so that if there was less than one month remaining before the expiry of the time limit for the taking control of goods, either during the emergency period or between 26th February 2020 and the start of the emergency period, this time limit will be extended by a period of 12 months.
We will automatically apply the extension on your behalf – there is no need to apply to court and there is no fee.
The regulations also provide for the time limit to be so extended where this circumstance arose or will arise at any time when restrictions are in place.
This applies to both the original period of the writ and to writs where the court had extended the writ by a further 12 months.
If you would like any assistance with your writ, please get in touch.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance