Attachment of Earnings Orders
What is an attachment of earnings order?
An attachment of earnings order allows you to reclaim the debt over time via regular payments from the debtor's wages.
When can I apply for an attachment of earnings?
As with the warrant of control, the debtor must have missed at least one payment and they must owe at least £50.
The debtor has a judgement to pay £45 monthly. They miss a payment but this is less than £50 so you must wait until a second payment is missed.
The debtor must also be an employee rather than a company or self-employed person. They also cannot work in armed forces or as a merchant seaman.
How do I find out if the debtor is employed?
Establishing the debtor's financial situation before applying is highly advisable. There are a number of options available to you to help with this.
Landlords may use a tracing service to compile information on their debtor. This can include employer details as well as the tenant's address for the service of documents.
Alternatively, it is possible to have the debtor questioned under oath about their financial circumstances. This is done through applying for an order to obtain information. The current cost of applying for this is £55.
Finally, you can ask the court to search the attachment of earnings index free of charge to see if your debtor already has an existing attachment of earnings with an employer. If there is, you can have your debt added to this existing attachment, with the payments split based on the amount of debt.
How much will it cost?
At the time of writing the cost is £110. The courts change their fees on a regular basis however and you should always check the EX50 document before proceeding. Cheques should be made out to HM Courts & Tribunal Service.
Additional fees also apply for information requests prior to applying for the order.
My debtor is employed, how do I apply?
You can apply by sending the N337 form along with a cheque to –
County Court Money Claims Centre
PO Box 527
The court will then ask the debtor to pay in full or provide them with information on their financial status so that they can assess what would be a reasonable amount to deduct from their wages. Once this is completed you will receive this amount directly from the centralised attachment of earnings payment system.
How long will this take?
It depends as the debtor may have to be arrested to comply with the request for information. As a general rule however, you should contact the court to check the progress if you have not heard anything 8 weeks after applying.
My debtor has changed jobs and payments have stopped, what should I do?
You can fill out an N446 form to reissue the order to the new employer free of charge.
When should I use this option?
This is best used when you have an employee with a stable, well paying, long term job and no other attachments to earnings in place.