Sheriff Rides in to Tackle Transfer Times of Orders for Possession

Sheriff Rides in to Tackle Transfer Times of Orders for Possession

15:47 PM, 24th May 2021, About 2 months ago

Text Size

As Sheriffs, we are continuing to monitor transfer times of Orders for Possession from the County Court to the High Court for landlords, and other claimants who want a faster and more effective transfer system.  So, we will be sharing our research with the Property 118 community, and naturally, we would like to hear from you about your experience in transferring possession orders to the High Court.

Reminder on the Law Relating to Transfer

Landlord and Tenant | Orders for Possession: These can be transferred from the County Court using the discretion of the District Judge at the final hearing.  This discretion is given to the Judge under Section 42(2) of the County Courts Act 1984.

Today under the latest version of the Queen’s Bench for 2021 the procedure is set out on page 135 at para 22.82. In this weighty tome of civil procedural detail, if an order for possession is transferred from the county court to the High Court for enforcement, then, unless otherwise ordered and as long as

  • the transfer was made after 21 September 2020,

and

  • the transfer (and any applications e.g. for a writ of possession or for stays) will be to the District Registry in whose area the land subject to the Order is situated

This change means that claimants can no longer take advantage of using the hugely efficient Central Office at the Royal Courts of Justice for ALL possession orders which they want to transfer across England and Wales.

Instead, the application to transfer the possession order must be made to the District Registry which covers the address of “the land”.

In London, which is as you might expect is the main hotspot for eviction business, London landlords can use the High Court as the Court to process the transfer.   It should be noted that land which comes with an RM or CR postcode, must be processed at the Romford or Croydon District Registry.  We have found these District Registries to be old-fashioned in their approach to processing possession orders.  We say this as they insist, they are sent in hard copy, rather than by email, and come back as hard copy Writs.  This just adds unnecessary processing time and is in complete contrast to the High Court in London which does everything online, and usually same day!

For those of you reading this article, the infographic below shows a map of the Romford and Croydon postcodes as your starting point on how to manage this situation.

Transfer for Landlord & Tenant Possession Orders

Transferring a county court possession order to the High Court for enforcement has been a godsend for many landlords over the last 15 years.  Driven forward by Shergroup we have worked to ensure that this application is recognised by Masters and District Judges as a way of bringing balance back to the administration of justice in this tricky area where the impact of enforcement is at its most acute in that someone is losing their home.

That said, we have always understood that landlords are out of pocket in losing rent, and suffering dilapidations by delays created in the enforcement process by the administration of justice.  This has been brought into sharp focus as a result of the pandemic.  So, it is time to really measure the impact of this delay on landlords as the civil courts struggle to clear backlogs and keep their business moving forward.

In the tables below we are showing the best and the worst of transfer times.  There are some factors in the transfer process that landlords and their advisors could work on including asking for the Certificate of Judgment on N293A at the time of the hearing.  This saves time.  Then there is the time taken to get the paperwork to Shergroup.  One landlord lost 116 days in time by sitting on the paperwork we need to start the transfer process.

Time shaved off in these areas can alleviate the time we cannot control and that is the time that the paperwork is held by a District Registry.  Despite numerous calls and close management of the instruction, there is only such much that can be done to get the court staff to deal with the transfer with any alacrity!  We do our best.

We will prepare the application for a writ of possession to be enforced using the original order for possession made in the county court.  To save time we only ask for the county court paperwork to be uploaded on our website so we can then process the entire process, cutting out as much to-ing and fro-ing with any Court.

This in turn leads to an efficient process, where backlogs are cut out – because we have none – and the paperwork is under our control.

BEST PERFORMING TRANSFER OF POSSESSION ORDER | Q1 2021

KEY MILESTONES DATES SHERGROUP COMMENT
POSSESSION ORDER DATED 17th February 2021 Landlord took 13 days to instruct Shergroup
EVICTION COMPLETED 22nd March 2021
TOTAL TIME FROM POSSESSION ORDER TO EVICTION 33 Days Once received High Court processed Request for Writ of Possession same day
COURT Edmonton
JUDGE District Judge Cohen

 WORST PERFORMING TRANSFER OF POSSESSION ORDER | Q1 2021

KEY MILESTONES DATES SHERGROUP COMMENT
POSSESSION ORDER DATED 8th October 2020 Landlord took 116 days to send the paperwork to Shergroup to transfer the possession order
EVICTION COMPLETED 7th May 2021
TOTAL TIME FROM POSSESSION ORDER TO EVICTION 196 Days
COURT Dudley District Registry DR took 19 days to process Request for a Writ of Possession
JUDGE District Judge Riley

Trespassers including Protestors, Squatters, Travellers and Other Persons Unknown | Order for Possession

A County Court order for possession against trespassers can be transferred automatically from the county court by lodging a request for a certificate under CPR40.14A (and see CPR83.19(2)).  So, if you are cynical about the efficiency of the court system in England and Wales let us show you some very impressive data on transfer for these types of possession orders |

BEST PERFORMING TRANSFER OF POSSESSION ORDER | Q1 2021

KEY MILESTONES DATES SHERGROUP COMMENT
POSSESSION ORDER DATED 29th January 2021 Business & Property Court of Chancery Division issued the Writ of Possession on 1st February 2021 – just 4 days
EVICTION COMPLETED 9th February 2021
TOTAL TIME FROM POSSESSION ORDER TO EVICTION 11 Days Once received High Court processed Request for Writ of Possession same day
COURT Chancery Division | Business & Property Court
JUDGE David Rees QC

 Once again, we find that District Registry performance on the efficiency of transfer lags behind Central Office – so here is the worst-performing example of a transfer in Q1 of this year |

WORST PERFORMING TRANSFER OF POSSESSION ORDER | Q1 2021

KEY MILESTONES DATES SHERGROUP COMMENT
POSSESSION ORDER DATED 8th February 2021 Brighton DR took from 8th February 2021 to 23rd March 2021 to issue the Writ of Possession
EVICTION COMPLETED 13th April 2021
TOTAL TIME FROM POSSESSION ORDER TO EVICTION 64 Days Once received High Court processed Request for Writ of Possession same day
COURT Brighton District Registry
JUDGE District Judge Campbell

We say that 64 days to transfer a possession order against PERSONS UNKNOWN is unacceptable.  In that time the trespassers can become further entrenched leading to heightened health and safety risks for everyone involved in the eviction process.

We just don’t think that enough is done by judges and court administrators to understand the very real risks of trespassers being heightened or barricaded into a property when it comes to this type of eviction setting.

Summing Up

For Landlords, in London and not using Romford and Croydon District Registry they are going to get fast and efficient service to transfer their Possession Order with permission to transfer to the High Court.

For Landlords with tenancies in Romford and Croydon, and outside of London the picture of transfer is still emerging so more on that to follow.

For Landowners with trespassers to evict, the position is London is fast, efficient, and online. There are no backlogs in our process, and we have created a superb working environment with staff in both the Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions.  We thank them for their hard work during the pandemic and for keeping the administration of Writs going.

Again, for landowners with possession actions outside of London, the picture is still emerging, but it is the District Registries that need to pick up the pace in terms of turning paperwork around, and issuing the Writ of Possession.  Once that is done there is no backlog in getting enforcement agents to attend.

We hope that highlighting transfer times based on real data gives landlords more confidence to tackle possession proceedings at this difficult time.  More to follow in the weeks ahead.

Contact Shergroup



Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER