11:17 AM, 18th August 2021, About 10 months ago 2
For some of the Property118 community, you will have already seen the Shergroup Team of Enforcement Professionals on Channel 5’s new TV show about our work as High Court Enforcement Officers. To be honest, as an Officer with over 40 years of enforcement experience under my belt, I can confess that watching these shows is a bit of a busman’s holiday! So, you might also ask why we let cameras come out with us on the street to film what we do.
Well, there’s a few reasons for this – so let me share these with you.
#1 INFORMATION SPREADING | You only have to think about the severe impact that the pandemic has had on landlords in terms of unpaid rent and other breaches of agreements across the UK, to know that landlords need to have confidence in the enforcement system that supports the eventual outcome of compelling payment or repossession. TV shows do more than any other medium of information spreading to get that message out to claimants who need to sue to get back their rent and or possession. When you see Shergroup Enforcement Agents, and our Office Squad on the TV, it’s a reality that we live every day which has been made more intense by the presence of COVID.
#2 CONVERSION TO HIGH COURT | We want more claimants to transfer their money judgments and possession orders to the High Court. With the interest in the TV show – we have had 6,000,000 views of Call The Bailiffs so far; we know some people watching need our help to get their business into the High Court. Of course, we promote the High Court system, but that’s because we believe in it and we see the positive impact it can have on landlords who have been struggling with bailiff departments, and court officials to get things done.
We want to help claimant landlords reach a properly supported enforcement system that helps them to be able to enforce when the time is right for them in the way they need to. In my view, the whole way in which a District Judge gives his or her discretion to allow transfer up to the High Court is a lottery and should be thoroughly reviewed. In Guildford County Court in April a judge refused permission to allow a landlord to transfer a possession order to the High Court for enforcement because there was “no need”. The Judge said the County Court enforcement could deal with it. Five months on we are no nearer to getting a date for our landlord client and so we are going back to Guildford to apply again for permission and this time we will make the point in our application that despite there being no “apparent need”, the claimant has been denied access to their property and rent. For 5 months. The reality is the enforcement team at Guildford County Court cannot give an eviction appointment.
#3 PRODUCING MORE DATA BASED ON CASESTUDIES | The current way a claimant has to apply for an order to transfer a possession order to the High Court is out of date and unnecessary. The entire process puts an artificial barrier in the way of claimants who need to reclaim their property and rent as to where the enforcement can take place. As I have said before Shergroup has no backlog in the enforcement of possession orders. Notice of Evictions giving 14 days’ notice are served, and the eviction goes ahead where permission to transfer is granted. That’s not to say that policies surrounding the enforcement of possession orders during the period of COVID are unnecessary. If Parliament states the law, then so be it. But how that law and supporting regulation and rules end up in the legal process should be challenged until it is as efficient as possible. That’s what Shergroup has always done. We challenge the inefficiency in the enforcement process.
So, on a more positive note, our most impressive transfer time in recent weeks has been out of Manchester County Court where District Judge Clarke gave permission for a transfer of a possession order dated 15th June 2021. Shergroup received the instruction to transfer on 29th June 2021. After organising paperwork and payment of the fee, the application for the Writ was sent to Manchester District Registry on 8th July 2021 and received back in Shergroup’s offices on 15th July 2021. Notice of Eviction was served on 16th July 2021 and eviction was carried out on 30th July 2021. The entire transfer process took just 45 days. If Manchester District Registry could have returned the paperwork with the Writ of Possession on the next working day, we could have shaved another 5-7 days off this transfer time.
#4 CIVIL COURT STATISTICS | I honestly don’t know who looks at the statistics for the enforcement of Warrants of Possession in the County Court and says, “they look good”, because they don’t. But then when you read the quarterly statistics report you realise that the impact on landlords for some of the timelines thrown up in the data are dreadful. Where is the appetite to get things done more efficiently? The data below taken from The Government’s Mortgage and Landlord Possession Statistics – August 2021 (see https://bit.ly/37PhYyB ) shows that whilst issuing a claim and getting a possession order take 21.7 weeks, the cumulative timeline extends to 31.9 weeks when apply for a Warrant of Possession, with a whopping 59.7 cumulative timeline to go from claim through to repossession. So, on the Government’s own figures a landlord is looking at over a year to get back possession of a property.
#5 ADVOCATING TRANSFER | So why am I so passionate about highlighting this delay and inefficiency to you? Because Shergroup can chop weeks of the cumulative timeline to get repossession carried out. In fact, using the above figures we can chop weeks off a timeline to get a Possession Order converted into a Writ of Possession (combined with a Writ of Control for rent owed). We want more of you in the Property118 to take this route and to stop using Warrants of Possession as if they are the only solution to getting back your property and arrears. We charge a fixed fee to Landlords to use our repossession service where you have permission to use the High Court. You can buy this on our website at https://shergroup.com/product-page/property-residential-repossession-of-property-service/ . The upfront cost is higher – at £799 plus VAT. But that’s a ONE TIME FEE. If you don’t have permission to transfer we offer a legal service through our sister company, Shergroup Legal, at £499 plus VAT to make the application for permission.
I hope these reasons help you understand why we need to put our service on the telly. Honestly, it can be uncomfortable, and it creates a lot of feedback – not always positive. Despite that, no politician, very few judges, and no advice workers are going to advocate landlords getting their property back more efficiently.
Please continue to add to all your possession claims the magic words of “The Claimant seeks permission to transfer an order for possession to the High Court for the purpose of enforcing the same under Section 42(2) of the County Courts Act 1984” so you have the option to transfer to the High Court. You don’t have to transfer, and I don’t advocate that if the county court enforcement team can give you a sensible timeframe for enforcement. But in our experience, it’s easier to get the permission to transfer before the possession order is made, rather than applying afterwards.
And as we continue to chisel out a route to getting possession orders transferred what would really help is if some “bigwig” in Court Service said – “Let’s allow High Court Enforcement Officers to manage our backlogs and get possession claim to repossession times down to a sensible level at no cost to the public purse”. Wouldn’t that be great?
In the meantime, please don’t suffer in silence. Use our website to transfer judgments and orders to us for review using our FREE service at firstname.lastname@example.org – and we have plenty of other ways to get in touch. The bottom line is we are on TV to help you to find the support you need in getting your judgment or order enforced so please reach out!
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