What is a charging order?
A charging order applies a charge to assets such as shares or property that means that once the asset is sold, your judgement will be cleared before any proceeds are issued to the debtor.
How do I find the assets?
A charging order is typically used to apply a charge to a house or flat that you know is owned by the debtor or their guarantor. For registered land, you can get details on the ownership of a property by paying a small fee at the Land Registry portal to receive official copies of the register. You will need to attach a copy of this to your application.
How do I apply?
You will need to complete and send the N379 form to:
County Court Money Claims Centre
PO Box 527
At the time of writing, the cost of an application will be £110 but you should always check the EX50 document as the court may change their fees with little notice.
What happens after?
If the court is satisfied with the information provided in the application then they will issue an interim charging order. If the debtor does not challenge this within 10 days then the charging order will become final or a hearing will be called to establish whether or not to make the final order. You must attend a hearing if called.
Once the interim order has been sent, you should contact the Land Registry directly to have the charge registered on the property.
When should I use this?
Typically, this will be used on guarantors who are UK home owners as you have the address from the original guarantor referencing, making it easy to check they are the property owner.
It does not force the debtor to sell their home, so it may take a significant amount of time to receive the money.
Please be aware that charges on a property are set in the order that they are issued. Most properties are mortgaged from the point of purchase and some have further mortgages and charges already. If the total value of the charges on the land registry copy that you received is similar to or more than the current value of the property then it is not advisable to use this order.