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Court warrant against a company registered at a residential property

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  • Court warrant against a company registered at a residential property

    Hi all,

    Need some advice, I submitted a warrant against a company against the address listed on companies house, the court has said it is a residential address and cannot enforce the warrant, any advice would be appreciated.

    This is the email I received from the court:

    The bailiff has no powers even with the court warrant to enter a residential property without being invited over the threshold.

    Unfortunately, on this occasion nobody has communicated with a court officer making this impossible to enforce. Therefore this was not returned with immediate effect with bailiff trying to retrieve your monies further.

    The court is unable to provide legal advice, please seek this independently.


    thanks
    Tags: None

  • Ukmicky
    replied
    As far as Iím aware the warrant is valid and bailiffs can enforce if a business is run from a residential address. They canít I believe force entry but thatís separate to knocking on the door and trying get payment. They can force entry to any shed , garage etc if itís not directly connected to the residence via a door. Also they can take vehicles they believe are company assets.
    Last edited by Ukmicky; 26th October 2021, 21:29:PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • islandgirl
    replied
    I would definitely speak to a High Court Enforcement company and see if you can transfer it up to the High Court - they sorted an "uncollectable" debt for me!

    Leave a comment:


  • R0b
    replied
    Hi Des

    There's nothing I can find that suggests enforcement agents do not have the power to use reasonable force where premises have a dual role i.e. it is a domestic property but being used as a base for business or is an address registered by the business. Schedule 12, para. 17 + 18A together give the power for an EA to use reasonable force to enter premises where the debtor carries on a trade or business. There is nothing to say or suggest that the premises must be a commercial unit and cannot be a domestic building. As we know, many sole traders operate out of their own home and that would defeat the object of the use of EAs if they can't enter any premises where a debtor carries on their trade or business.

    Don't think I suggested in my last post that EAs needed to make an application to use reasonable force, rather the opposite which is they do have the power to force entry since the company has registered its address at a domestic property. Absent any case law (which I was not able to find), the fact that a business is run from a domestic property does not in my view prevent an EA for using reasonable force to enter the premises to effect a warrant. Use of reasonable force depends on the situation but I would think that using a locksmith to break the lock is considered reasonable force as is using bolt cutters or angle grinder to cut the lock from a shed or garage in order to access the property or remove goods that are valuable.
    Last edited by R0b; 26th October 2021, 08:57:AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    OK Rob, my misreading, but all the enforcement agent websites agree that they cannot use force to enter any premises which are wholly or partially domestic
    So looking around further The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 sec 20 says entry to premises is by the usual means of entry, and in sec 28 gives details of applying for a warrant to use reasonable force to gain entry. CPR84.9 sets out the rules for an application to use reasonable force to enter premises.
    Why would enforcement agents need to apply for a warrant to use reasonable force if they already had that power?

    Likewise Schedule 12 of TCE 2007 at para 20 onwards gives details about applications for use of reasonable force


    The Ministry of Justice guidelines (https://assets.publishing.service.go...-standards.pdf) Se 57 onwards seems to differentiate between residential and business premises in the use of force

    Leave a comment:


  • R0b
    replied
    Originally posted by des8 View Post
    Regarding "Powers of Entry", I think you will find that under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA) a Statutory Code of Practice came into force in 2015, to which all enforcement agents must adhere.
    Sections 9 & 10 of the code are relevant (https://assets.publishing.service.go...ntry__web_.pdf)
    Don't think that applies Des, as far as I am aware the CoP relates to national authorities not the enforcement of goods by agents related to a judgment debt. The TCE 2007 is the authority for that and CPR 83+84 and is further reinforced by the fact that under the repeals and amendments section, there is nothing that has been repealed or amended under TCE 2007.

    The Act also refers to the Code applying to a 'relevant person' but cannot find anything to suggest enforcement agents are a relevant person under a statutory instrument.

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    Regarding "Powers of Entry", I think you will find that under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA) a Statutory Code of Practice came into force in 2015, to which all enforcement agents must adhere.
    Sections 9 & 10 of the code are relevant (https://assets.publishing.service.go...ntry__web_.pdf)

    Leave a comment:


  • R0b
    replied
    Sorry I haven't replied, I have been looking into a few things because what the court stated didn't quite stack up for me, and it appears that I was correct. I won't intend on giving a lengthy post here but I'll summarise what I've found and you can decide what you want to do with it.

    1. First of all, you have a right under CPR 83.8 to write to the bailiff and request reasonable information as to what the bailiff has done in terms of executing the warrant. The bailiff has 7 days to respond to the notice. If there is no reply, you can go to court and ask for an order to force the bailiff to respond (presumably you likely to get your costs back on that too).

    2. The statement from the court:

    bailiffs cannot execute business warrant on a residential address. If you have further information, please provide further new address details upon issuing the warrant.
    As far as I can see is not true. Schedule 12 of the The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 governs the procedure for taking control of goods. Paragraph 14 of that Schedule explains that a bailiff can enter premises with or without the need of a warrant. Specifically, it says they can enter relevant premises to search for and take control of goods. It then goes on to say that except for commercial rent arrears, the meaning of relevant premises is if the bailiff reasonably believes that it is a place where the debtor usually lives or (more importantly) carries on business.

    3. Paras. 17-18 of Schedule 12 talk about reasonable force to enter premises. Para. 18A explains that a bailiff can enter premises with reasonable force (under the powers given in para. 14) if the bailiff reasonably believes that the debtor is carrying on a trade or business and the bailiff is executing a warrant of control under a county court judgment.

    4. Bailiffs shuld do what they reasonably can to execute the warrant. If there is any neglect, connivance or omission on their part, then you have a right to make a complaint about them under section 124 of the County Courts Act 1984. If a judge finds the bailiff has failed to do their duties, then a judge may award compensation up to the cost of the warrant. Not sure of the process to make a complaint but I would imagine it's done by way of application to the court.

    5. Given the amount you are claiming is over £600, have you considered transferring it up to the High Court and using their enforcement officers? They are generally better at recovering debt than County Court bailiffs.

    6. You can apply for an order to obtain information from the debtor. This is where the debtor attends court and under oath answers a series of court generate questions in addition to your own questions you wish to ask him. You could then potentially use that as a way to determine the assets available. Of course he can then start shifting those assets around so you may need to be quick, though it can still be useful where assets such as property are owned by the debtor and you could then look at applying for a charging order or something similar.

    I think there are options for you, most if not all come at a cost but it depends on how far you want to pursue this.

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    Do they carry out the manufacturing at the residential address?
    How do they deliver their goods? perhaps they have a vehicle owned by the company?
    have you checked out their accounts as filed with Companies House?
    Do they have a presence on social media such as Bookface? there may be clues there as to assets/

    I'm afraid it means a lot of legwork

    Leave a comment:


  • Slicster1
    replied
    Hi Des8, the company It is against manufacturer clothing, the amount is for about £830 which is a lot of money to me right - how would I go about finding out if they have other assets and how would I enforce it? Would I need to request another warrant? Sorry for the questions

    Leave a comment:


  • des8
    replied
    You have only given minimal information, but I suspect it is a small concern with minimal information in the accounts.
    What sort of company? they may have assets which wouldn't be listed but you could enforce against
    How much were you awarded? is it worth bothering about?

    You have six years in which to enforce the judgment, so keep an eye on them in case things change

    Leave a comment:


  • Slicster1
    replied
    Iím guessing I have no options from here but to forgot about it?

    Leave a comment:


  • Slicster1
    replied
    No worries rob I need all the advice I can get! The warrant was issued, I didnít receive any correspondence for months so I raised a complaint and received this reply:
    The warrant was issued in June 2021. I have now investigated your complaint regarding bailiff visit to retrieve the monies owed.

    This warrant will be returned, bailiffs cannot execute business warrant on a residential address. If you have further information, please provide further new address details upon issuing the warrant.

    I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience you have experience and trust any further dealing you may have with The Romford County Court will be of a higher standard.

    Leave a comment:


  • Slicster1
    replied
    definitely no covenant preventing running a business on the property

    Leave a comment:


  • R0b
    replied
    Sorry to chime in but in your first post, are you saying the court did not issue the warrant or that it did issue the warrant but the bailiff is not prepared to enforce it? Did they give you your money back either way?

    Also was this County Court of High Court bailiffs you wanted to instruct?

    Leave a comment:

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