ACCELERATED POSSESSION BY USING HIGH COURT ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO EVICT A TENANT

Introduction

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has issued guidance on procedures for transfer of possession orders made in the County Court so that they can be enforced by Court Enforcement Officers. Landlords looking to repossess their properties from tenants have to rely on Council Court Bailiffs and it is well known that this process can take several weeks. This can be far longer than many landlords would want to wait especially if rent arrears are building up.

In order to standardise the procedure the MoJ guidance sets out how an application can be made to the County Court to transfer the possession order. It is important to note, however, that this procedure is more expensive, although once transferred the High Court Enforcement Officer will be quicker.

Ministry of Justice guidance

A copy of the MoJ Guidance is attached. Click here to access it. This provides -

  • Application to transfer the possession order is to be made on form N244.
  • A supporting fee needs to be paid, whether the application is without notice or on notice.
  • The application to transfer needs to be made regardless of whether there is an existing warrant of possession.
  • The current occupant must have received sufficient notice of proceedings to allow them to apply to the Court for relief (apart from in the case of trespassers).
  • Applications will be considered by a District Judge, who will decide whether a hearing is required.
  • When the transfer order is granted it means that the County Court bailiffs lose enforcement jurisdiction.

The warrant fee for a County Court Bailiff to evict a tenant is currently £121.

If the case is transferred to the High Court then instead of the County Court Warrant fee of £121 a fee is payable to the High Court Enforcement Officer which is likely to be at least £500.

Time taken

One of the RLA concerns is the length of time it may take for the County Court to process the application for transfer. If the application is granted then you can expect a High Court Enforcement Officer to act faster than a County Court Bailiff. County Court Bailiffs can take around three or four weeks, at least, and perhaps more in the case of some Courts, depending on the work load.

Is the application likely to be granted?

Experience so far shows that some County Court District Judges are reluctant to transfer possession orders into the High Court for enforcement purposes.

Use of the N293A form for evicting tenants

Many landlords have been told that it is possible to use the N293A form to evict their tenants. However, this is not the case. This form is for use with trespassers only and should not be used when dealing with tenants. Due to complaints over this, a new practice note was issued on 21st March 2016 confirming that this practice is wrong, the courts will not accept the form for anything other trespassers in future and that the form itself will be amended to make it clearer that it is only for use with trespassers.

The rest of this Guide to Accelerated Possession by Using High Court Enforcement Officers to Evict a Tenant contains the accompanying documents in the form of an Application Notice and a Transfer of Possession Proceedings. Please sign in to access the rest of this guide. Alternatively if you're not already a guest member, you can join today for free!

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