Thank you to all who took part in our last webinar – it was one of our best attended, with almost 700 people signing up! Here is part 1 of the answers to the many questions asked.

I have a tenant who absconded in 2014 and is an ex-police officer! I believe he lives in London. Can HCEOs trace him and enforce the CCJ with costs awarded?

We offer an in-depth tracing service for £45. If we are unable to locate the debtor, there’s no fee. Once we have a valid address in England or Wales, we can commence enforcement.

I am confused by how long a CCJ is valid. Some legal sites say a CCJ has no limitations of time. You appear to be saying there is a 6-year limit.

A writ of control can only be sealed if the judgment is less than 6 years old. An N244 application can be made to enforce after 6 years, although you will need to provide the judge with good reason for awarding the extension.

I have an order for arrears from a commercial tenant; can The Sheriffs Office collect the money for me? Possession is not required.

Yes, we can enforce this. You will with a valid address for enforcement, assuming they have moved premises. If it is a limited company, they must not be in liquidation or administration.

A District Judge had to be persuaded to make an order - he told me that the HCEO will take longer. Naturally, I knew that was not correct. You were instructed and we had possession within 7 days from the date of the order of the County Court.

We are pleased that we were able to assist you. With regards to communications, we understand that the High Court has issued guidance and directions to District Judges across England and Wales, but we acknowledge not all courts have implemented this yet.

When applying to transfer for enforcement, if this is done in the claim form, do you still need an application on N244 to issue the writ? Is this normally done by the HCEO? Or is the N244 to apply to transfer after claim issued only i.e. when application wasn’t included in claim form?

The N244 requesting leave to transfer enforcement to the High Court will not be required if permission is obtained at the outset when making the claim. However, you do need to make an application later in the process to issue a writ of possession in the High Court. This request also uses form N244. You can read more about the process here.

We have received a CCJ for possession and outstanding arrears, but the tenant has absconded, does your firm do a trace and recover the o/s rent on a commission basis?

Yes, we can undertake a trace to find your tenant (please see the first question above). Regarding the enforcement of the CCJ, we do not work on a commission basis, as our fees  are set by law (Taking Control of Goods Fees Regulations 2014). The enforcement fees are recoverable from the defendant. If we are unable to recover, perhaps there are insufficient assets available, all you have to pay is the compliance fee of £75 plus VAT.

What are your fees for carrying out the possession further to an order for possession being granted?

Our fees will depend on the circumstances and what manpower is required. We would suggest that you give us or your chosen HCEO a call to discuss the circumstances so that a realistic quote can be given to you.

Could the requirement to send the notice of enforcement be waived?

Yes, it can be waived on application to the court, but you must demonstrate that goods are at risk of disposal before enforcement.

Why do you suggest using the HCEOs locksmith?

Any non/late attendance of the locksmith will attract HCEO costs which will be charged. We know that the locksmiths we work with know what equipment is needed and are skilled and qualified to gain entry as quickly as possible, without causing unnecessary damage.

Is it possible to recover the landlord's court fees from the tenant's deposit?

This can only be done where the court has ordered this.

Alex Hill

Alex Hill is the Evictions & Security Manager at The Sheriffs Office

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