High Court Enforcement Officers
The order which allows HCEOs to act is known as a ‘writ of control’. You will have no notice that your creditor has applied for a writ.
The HCEO should give you seven clear days’ notice that they are due to visit you to take control of goods. This is sometimes known as the ‘enforcement notice’. ‘Clear days’ do not include Sundays, Christmas Day or bank holidays.
Enforcing CCJs in the High Court
consumer credit regulated debts
Your creditor cannot enforce your judgment in the High Court if the debt is covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
If a creditor has a CCJ against you, they may be able to enforce it in the High Court by taking control of goods. Business and trade creditors are likely to do this. Also, it can sometimes be done for unpaid nursery fees, funeral charges or even water charges. This is because these types of debt are not covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974
Which claims can be dealt with
If you have a credit agreement that is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974, your creditor has to make a claim against you in the County Court. They cannot apply to enforce the county court judgment in the High Court.
The High Court is most likely to be used by creditors for claims over £100,000 for debts not regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
The Enforcement Agent may climb a perimeter wall or fence to gain entry to the grounds of the property. They can then enter where a door is open. If the door is unlocked they are permitted to use the door handle to gain access. Under previous regulations they were allowed to gain access via an open window. This is no longer permitted.
If the Enforcement Agent is able to gain entry into the property he is then permitted to also break down the inner doors of the property to seek the goods of the debtor. The Enforcement Agent may not be forcibly ejected; however, if they are, they can now force re-entry back into the property.
They are permitted to force entry into a garage, or other outdoor buildings but only if those buildings are not physically attached to, or form any part of, the residence.
The regulations allow the Enforcement Agent can force entry to commercial premises to ‘take control of goods’. This does not apply however if the property is a residential dwelling.
Whilst the regulations do permit forced into the commercial premises it need to be mentioned that this exceptional method of gaining entry should only ever take place in cases where the Enforcement Agent has a genuine reason to believe that goods of the debtor are contained within. Accordingly, the Enforcement Agent should make reasonable enquiries beforehand (possibly by contacting the Landlord etc)
Note from Bailiff Advice Online:
A simple overview of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 including details of fees that can be charged, notices that must be given by the bailiff and items that are ‘exempt’ can be read here.