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.
Can legal costs be recovered from the tenants using Money Claim Online?
You can claim the court fee costs but unfortunately not any other legal fees. The nature of the small claims court is that it is easy to use so therefore legal assistance should not be necessary.
Can I use HCEO if occupant doesn’t move out after the completion of the purchase by auction?
If you are purchasing a property via auction, it is the seller’s responsibility to hand over the keys to a vacant property if that is what you have agreed with them to purchase. If you have purchased a property with a tenant, then the tenant will need to have an AST agreement and you will have to follow the process. If you are considering purchasing a property with a tenant in situ there is a handy breakdown of the 26 questions you should be asking here.
How does a landlord ask for permission to allow enforcement by HCEO when he submits the application for Possession, as requesting permission afterwards is almost as slow as using the County Court Bailiff?
You must apply at the County Court for leave to transfer under section 42. You can improve your chances of success by using accurate information, statements that back up your application and remaining factual. For example, you might want to include information about anti-social behaviour, loss of rent, damage to property or any violent or aggressive behaviour. You can also attach a claim for money to the possession order for unpaid rent.
If leave to transfer up is granted, you’ll need to serve the documents on the occupants. The documents you serve must include the order for possession, and your order under section 42 granting leave to transfer up.
You will then need to complete form N215 Certificate of service or witness statement.
Once these steps have been completed, The Sheriffs Office are able to commence their part in the successful possession of your property, and this will usually enforced after the 7 day notice period (required by the Court), once the writ of possession has been received by your named High Court enforcement officer.
If we have instructed the County Court Bailiff and tenant remains, can we then instruct you?
Yes, if the tenant remains you can then apply to have the claim transferred up to the High Court; this can be done by completing the form N244 Application notice, for which you will need to pay the fee of £100, and we are happy to assist with the paperwork to ensure it is correct. It is very important at this stage that the details used are accurate so that the paperwork is not rejected by the court.
Can you still apply for possession via the High Court if the reason for serving notice isn’t rent arrears but another breach of tenancy?
Yes, you can still apply to transfer up to the High Court if you are wanting to regain possession of the property under section 8. Section 8 evictions include breach of tenancy and you must state the specific grounds you are seeking possession under.
If the procedure is that fast why do most landlords not seek possession through the HCEO route?
The landlords may not be aware that this option exists, the transfer up procedure is something we are keen to educate and inform landlords of and we hope that they will use HCEOs when they need to recover their property quickly.
We have had an order for possession granted and costs recoverable, which the judge gave them a certain timescale to pay back, however no money has been received, they have vacated but we do not know where. Where do we go from here as they owe us quite a bit of money?
You will need to find out where the debtor is; you can use a tracing service for this to track down the address of the debtor. We offer a range of tracing services and this is something you can find out more about here
You can instruct an HCEO once you have the debtor’s address if the amount owed totals over £600 and the judgment is under 6 years old.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance