High Court Enforcement

Shergroup is one of the leading High Court enforcement companies in the UK. It has a national and international presence and unrivalled expertise in dealing with evictions for commercial and residential landlords.

Shergroup is an approved service provider to the British Landlords Association, providing exclusive discounted service for BLA members throughout England & Wales.

If you need to trace a tenant to pursue a debt, they can help. If you need a high court enforcement officer to pursue a debt, they can help you there, too!

Shergroup Enforcement agents are fully certificated, and their enforcement agents are experienced in dealing with the Writ of control, County Court judgments, or High court action. They have vast experience when dealing with business premises.

They can deal with all types of Writs of Control, Commercial or residential premises. Whereas a county court may, in some cases, take three months to act on an eviction, Shergroup can act within days, provided you have permission from high court enforcement.

You can discuss your requirements or explore the enforcement types, methods, and the cost of enforcement action.

Discounted Bailiff service for all BLA members

Once a possession order expires, if your tenant fails to give up vacant possession of the let property, you can use Shergroup if required. This is a discounted service for all BLA members.

Once the eviction application has been made to the Court, the court bailiff will issue a warrant number. Once you have a warrant number, the county court bailiff will issue the landlord and the tenant a date and time of the eviction.

County court bailiffs face an excessive workload.

Beware: Bailiffs will not carry out the eviction if a landlord has failed to provide the bailiff risk assessment form, even if it’s gone astray in the post or the court office.

The Bailiff will not inform you in advance that they have not received the form; they will not turn it up at the eviction date. We strongly recommend you email the form to the Bailiff and post it too.

The Court requires the landlord or agent to complete a risk assessment questionnaire to highlight any risks before the eviction. If you have not received a risk assessment form, please contact the Court.

Should I use a High Court Bailiff or a County Court Bailiff?

A High Court Bailiff (High enforcement officer) is much quicker than a County Court Bailiff.

You need to seek to leave (permission) to use the High Court enforcement procedure. This should be pleaded in the claim for possession.

Your court advocate should, in turn, plead with the judge to be given leave to use the High Court enforcement officers at the court hearing.

Some Judges may be unhappy with the request, as they may feel the Court can deal with the eviction promptly and may refuse to grant leave.

Once leave has been granted, your possession claim can be transferred to the High Court. This involves further paperwork and a court fee.

For many properties in London, it makes financial sense to use high court enforcement due to potential rent loss and delay in eviction by using a county court bailiff.

If you want to use the county or high court route, Shergroup can quickly deal with the eviction on your behalf as a BLA member.

Understanding Bailiffs: A Comprehensive Guide

Bailiffs play a critical role in enforcing court orders and collecting debt. Creditors and debtors must understand their functions, rights, and limitations.

This guide provides an in-depth look into the world of bailiffs, clarifying their operations and the legal framework governing their actions.

What is a Bailiff?

A bailiff is an individual authorized by law to collect debts on behalf of creditors. They have the legal power to seize goods and properties to satisfy outstanding debts.

Bailiffs operate under various titles and functions, including county court bailiffs, high court enforcement officers, and certificated enforcement agents.

Types of Bailiffs

County Court Bailiffs

County court bailiffs are employed by the county courts and handle cases involving small debts, usually under £5,000. They enforce orders from the county court, such as warrants of possession and warrants of execution.

High Court Enforcement Officers

High court enforcement officers (HCEOs) deal with larger debts, typically above £600. They are authorized to enforce judgments from the high court and have broader powers than county court bailiffs.

Certificated Enforcement Agents

Certificated enforcement agents, often called private bailiffs, work for private companies and collect debts for various clients, including utility companies and local authorities.

They must possess a certificate from the county court, validating their authority to act.

Legal Powers and Limitations

Bailiffs have specific legal powers and limitations defined by UK law. Understanding these can help individuals and businesses navigate interactions with bailiffs more effectively.

Powers

  1. Entering Premises: Bailiffs can enter residential and business premises to seize goods. However, they must adhere to strict guidelines, such as not entering by force without a court order.
  2. Seizing Goods: Bailiffs can take non-essential items to sell at auction to cover the debt. Essential items, like clothing, bedding, and tools of trade, are usually exempt.
  3. Payment Agreements: Bailiffs can arrange repayment plans, allowing debtors to settle their debts without immediately seizing goods.

Limitations

  1. Prohibited Entry Times: Bailiffs cannot enter premises at unreasonable hours, typically outside 6 am to 9 pm, unless authorised by the court.
  2. Protected Goods: Certain items are protected from seizure, including essentials and items necessary for work.
  3. Vulnerable Debtors: Bailiffs must consider the debtor’s vulnerability, such as disability or serious illness, and may need to refer the case back to the creditor.

Procedure for Debt Collection

Notification

Before taking action, bailiffs must provide a written notice, usually giving the debtor at least seven days to respond and arrange payment.

Entry and Inventory

If the debt remains unpaid, the bailiff can visit the premises, gain peaceful entry, and create an inventory of goods to be seized. They must leave a copy of the inventory with the debtor.

Sale of Goods

The listed goods can be seized and sold at auction if the debtor does not pay. The proceeds are then used to settle the debt, with any surplus returned to the debtor.

Check our FAQ below the form, or download What Bailiffs can and cannot do

The British Landlords Association is a national landlords association for residential & commercial landlords. Join us today. Membership for the year is only £79.95

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Diagram: Bailiff Process Flowchart

				
					Notification
Entry and Inventory
Payment Agreement
Debt Settled
If note:Goods Seized
Auction
Debt Settled
Surplus Returned to Debtor
				
			

Rights of Debtors

Debtors have specific rights when dealing with bailiffs. Being aware of these rights can prevent unnecessary stress and legal issues.

Right to Notice

Debtors must receive proper notice before a bailiff’s visit. This notice should include details of the debt and the creditor.

Right to Request Identification

Debtors can request to see the bailiff’s identification and proof of their authority to act. This ensures that the bailiff is legitimate and certified.

Right to Complain

If a bailiff acts improperly, the debtor has the right to file a complaint. Complaints can be made to the creditor, the bailiff’s certification court, or professional bodies overseeing bailiffs.

Dealing with Bailiffs: Practical Tips

Communication

Maintain open and honest communication with the bailiff. Ignoring the situation can escalate the problem and lead to further legal action.

Document Everything

Keep detailed records of all correspondence and interactions with bailiffs. This documentation can be crucial if there are disputes or legal challenges.

Seek Legal Advice

If you are uncertain about your rights or the bailiff’s actions, seek legal advice. Professional guidance can provide clarity and help you navigate the situation effectively.

Conclusion

Understanding bailiffs’ role, powers, and limitations is crucial for creditors and debtors.

Knowing your rights and the legal framework governing bailiff actions can help you manage interactions more effectively and protect your interests.

Whether you are a creditor seeking to recover debts or a debtor dealing with bailiff visits, this comprehensive guide offers the insights needed to navigate the complexities of debt enforcement.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bailiffs

What is a Bailiff?

A bailiff is a legally authorised individual responsible for collecting debts on behalf of creditors. They can seize property and goods to cover unpaid debts.

What Types of Bailiffs Are There?

There are several types of bailiffs, including:

  • County Court Bailiffs: Handle small debts and enforce county court orders.
  • High Court Enforcement Officers: Deal with larger debts and enforce high court judgments.
  • Certificated Enforcement Agents: Private bailiffs working for various clients, certified by the county court.

What Can Bailiffs Do?

Bailiffs have the authority to:

  • Enter premises to seize goods (under specific conditions).
  • Arrange repayment plans.
  • Seize non-essential items for auction to cover debts.

What Are Bailiffs Not Allowed to Do?

Bailiffs cannot:

  • Enter premises by force without a court order.
  • Enter at unreasonable hours (typically outside 6 am to 9 pm).
  • Seize essential items like clothing, bedding, and tools necessary for work.
  • Harass or threaten debtors.

What Should I Do if a Bailiff Visits?

If a bailiff visits:

  1. Request Identification: Ensure they are legitimate by asking for ID and proof of authority.
  2. Understand Your Rights: Know what they can and cannot do.
  3. Communicate: Discuss the situation and try to arrange a payment plan.
  4. Document Everything: Keep records of all interactions.

Can Bailiffs Force Entry Into My Home?

Bailiffs cannot force entry into a residential property for most debts without a court order. They can enter through unlocked doors or if invited in.

What Items Can Bailiffs Take?

Bailiffs can take non-essential items, including:

  • Electronics (TVs, computers).
  • Luxury items (jewellery).
  • Furniture (non-essential).

They cannot take essential items like:

  • Clothing.
  • Bedding.
  • Tools of the trade.

How Can I Stop a Bailiff from Taking My Goods?

To prevent a bailiff from taking goods:

  • Pay the debt in full.
  • Arrange a repayment plan.
  • Seek legal advice if you believe the bailiff is acting unlawfully.

What Happens to Seized Goods?

Seized goods are typically sold at auction to cover the debt. Any proceeds above the debt amount are returned to the debtor.

How Do I File a Complaint Against a Bailiff?

If you believe a bailiff has acted improperly, you can:

  • Complain to the creditor.
  • File a complaint with the bailiff’s certification court.
  • Contact professional bodies that oversee bailiffs.

What Should I Do if I Cannot Afford to Pay My Debt?

If you cannot afford to pay your debt:

  • Contact the creditor to explain your situation.
  • Seek advice from a debt advisor or legal professional.
  • Consider options like debt consolidation or applying for a debt relief order.

Can Bailiffs Take Goods Belonging to Someone Else?

Bailiffs can only take goods belonging to the debtor. If they mistakenly seize goods someone else owns, they must prove ownership to reclaim them.

Are There Any Special Considerations for Vulnerable Debtors?

Yes, bailiffs must consider the vulnerability of debtors, such as those with disabilities, serious illnesses, or other special circumstances. If the debtor is deemed vulnerable, they may need to refer the case back to the creditor.

How Can I Verify a Bailiff’s Credentials?

You can verify a bailiff’s credentials by:

  • Asking for their ID and proof of certification.
  • Checking their certification with the county court.
  • Contacting the creditor to confirm the bailiff’s authorization.

What Are the Consequences of Ignoring a Bailiff?

Ignoring a bailiff can lead to:

  • Increased fees and charges.
  • Further legal action, including court orders for forced entry.
  • Damage to credit rating.

Is There Any Way to Avoid Bailiff Action?

To avoid bailiff action:

  • Address debts promptly by contacting creditors.
  • Seek financial advice to manage debts effectively.
  • Consider legal options like debt management plans or bankruptcy if appropriate.

Understanding the role and regulations surrounding bailiffs is crucial for managing debt situations effectively.

Knowing your rights and the bailiff’s limitations, you can handle their visits more confidently and protect your interests.

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