Please Note: This Article is 4 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

County Court bailiffs, along with the courts themselves, can take up to 45 weeks to evict a tenant, that’s according to Ministry of Justice figures, statistics for possession claims for the first quarter on 2016.

According to The Sheriff’s Office, overall there is a slight decrease in the number of possession claims, but the really shocking fact says David Carter, the CEO, is the news that the average time from issuing a claim to eviction by a county court bailiff is 45 weeks!

The impact of a 45-week eviction wait means that, for example, if a landlord starts a claim today, they won’t get the tenant out of their property until April 2017.

According to Your Move and Reeds Rains buy-to-let index data released in April 2016, the average rent in England and Wales is now £793 per month. So, assuming the possession claim was issued because of non-payment of rent – the most common reason – then the 45-week delay could amount to a loss of income of almost £9,000, on top of any existing arrears.

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In London, where average rents are £1,229, the cost to the landlord would be closer to £13,500 plus pre-claim arrears, and even more for larger properties.

These same MoJ statistics show that the average time between starting a claim and being awarded an order for possession is 11 weeks.

One way to speed up an eviction is by by-passing the county court bailiff and going straight to a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO). The High Court offers landlords this faster service providing the correct procedures are followed. Once an order for possession has been awarded, landlords can instruct an HCEO to carry out the eviction under a writ of possession.

The procedure is that the order for possession will need to be transferred up to the High Court, and permission (leave) is required to do this. There is a new process* and forms for doing this and further information has been provided by The Sheriff’s Office below.

Here is our understanding of how the new High Court Eviction process works and the forms and fees it entails:

Step 1 – leave to transfer

Permission to transfer the order for possession to the High Court for enforcement must be applied for and obtained 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, which incurs a court fee of £100.

Step 2 – permission to issue a writ of possession

Again using form N244, you apply to either the High Court or the District Registry for permission to issue a writ of possession under CPR 83.13(2). There is a court fee of £100, as a hearing is not normally required.

If an “on notice” hearing is required, this court fee will increase to £255.

Step 3 – form PF92

Form PF92 needs to be completed, which is the order for permission to issue a writ of possession in the High Court and request that it be sealed at the High Court or District Registry. There is no court fee for this form.

Step 4a – form PF88 for a possession order only

The form PF88 is the request for the issue of the writ of possession and the request that it be sealed at the High Court or District Registry. There is a court fee of £60.

Step 4b – form PF89 for a possession order and recovery of money

The form PF89 is the request for the issue of the combined writ of possession and writ of control and the request that it be sealed at the High Court or District Registry. There is a court fee of £60.

Court permission is not required to transfer up the money judgment or order (for example rent arrears or costs).

Steps 3 and 4 combined

Forms PF92 and PF88/PF89 can be submitted at the same time. Here at The Sheriffs Office, we can guide you through the process.

Step 5 – Form No.66

Form No.66 is for the writ of possession and the request that it be sealed at the High Court or District Registry.

Once the writ of possession has been awarded, the enforcement process will commence.

Further information

The Sheriff’s Office has produced a process flow infographic which you can view here.

Please Note: This Article is 4 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.
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