Now Christmas is behind us, landlords may be looking to repossess property with either non-paying or problem tenants.

The process entails applying for an order for possession via the County Court, sending a 14-day notice of eviction and then the actual eviction.

There are two routes for enforcing the order – the first is via a County Court Bailiff (CCB) and the second is via a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO).

HCEOs are private companies who can act quickly on the landlord’s behalf. Permission is required from the court to transfer the possession order to the High Court for enforcement. This is best requested at the same time as starting the possession claim – further details are below.

County Court Bailiff delays

CCBs are employed by the courts, but are very under-resourced and are experiencing delays in enforcing possession orders.
The time between a claim and the repossession of a property by a CCB is currently 38.1 weeks (source: Ministry of Justice mortgage and landlord possession statistics, July to September 2023.

Benefits of using an HCEO

The High Court route is much faster – for example, we can normally commence proceedings within one to two working days of instruction, by sending a 14-day notice of eviction to the tenants. If they do not vacate during the notice period, we will arrange repossession very promptly.

For landlords who are losing money every day their property is tied up by tenants not paying rent – and possibly causing damage to the property – the HCEO option is very timely and therefore cost-effective.

How to use the High Court route

You need to request permission to transfer up the possession order to the High Court for enforcement using form N244 under Section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984.

The best time to do this is at the point of initial application for the order for possession. If you did not obtain permission at the time of initial application, then you can do so using form N244.

Once permission is granted by the court, you can then instruct us. We will apply for the writ of possession on your behalf. Once it has been issued, we will send the 14-day notice of eviction, then arrange the eviction if they still have not left the property.

There are court fees that apply.

Adding rent arrears to the possession order

Should the tenant owe rent arrears, this can be added as a money order to the possession order, to be enforced either at the same time or separately.

It is worth bearing in mind that rent arrears can be difficult to recover. If the tenant is struggling to pay the rent, there may be few, if any, goods that can be taken into control to clear the debt. Once the tenant has moved out, they will also need to be traced to their new residence in order to enforce the money element of the order, plus the limited value of goods may also still be relevant.

Find out more or instruct us

We have a free downloadable digital guide for residential landlords on how to evict tenants.

If you already have your possession order AND permission to transfer the possession order under Section 42 of the County Courts Act, you can instruct us online.

David Asker

David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance