High Court Enforcement Officers – Who are we and what can we do?

High Court Enforcement Officers – Who are we and what can we do?

If you live in England or Wales and you have a County Court judgment (CCJ) against a debtor, you case can use a High Court enforcement officer (HCEO) to collect the debt if it is over £600.

For many people out there, ‘bailiffs’ or Certificated Enforcement Agents as they are now known, like the ones who work for #TeamCES, still represent something of the ‘unknown’.

Any mention of the industry (and the people who work in it) is treated as something to be wary of.

Whether you think that’s fair or unfair, allow us to tell you what we can do, so you can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Firstly, if you live in England or Wales and you have a CCJ against a debtor, you can use a High Court Enforcement Officer to collect the debt on their behalf if the amount is £600 or more by escalating your CCJ to High Court Writ of Control.

The cost to escalate your CCj is £61 Court Fee and £75 + VAT compliance total £161.00. This amount will be added to the High Court Writ and if we collect the balance in full you will receive the full escalation cost back.

Our Certificated Enforcement Agents will visit the debtors property to seize assets or set a reasonable arrangement you are happy with, but if no agreement to pay the debt is reached, they may remove the goods that have been seized to sell at auction.

This can happen under a number of circumstances, including:

  • the presence of a CCJ that the debtor haven’t made the scheduled payments on
  • having a debt of over £600
  • having a debt that isn’t regulated by the Consumer Credit Act e.g. utility arrears, business debts or old rent arrears

Prior to a visit taking place, we will send a a letter 'Notice of Enforcement' telling the debtor that this is going to happen, before their first visit.

This presents the debtor with an opportunity for them to either speak to debt advice agencies, as it is a clear indicator that they may need immediate help with their debts.

Yes, that really is an Enforcement Company advising a debtor to seek help with their debts!

It’s also important for people out there to understand exactly why their creditor may choose to use Court Enforcement Specialists or another company like us, and there are several reasons why a company or individual might decide to go down this route. Here’s a few of them…

  • 8% interest can be added to the debt, as soon as the debt has been passed on to companies like ours
  • High Court Enforcement Fees can put pressure on the debtor to pay, as they may be keen to avoid any further escalation of fees
  • It is hard to stop the process of High Court Enforcement, once a company like Court Enforcement Specialists has become involved
  • We’re good at our jobs, getting results quickly and effectively
  • Your assets may be seized and removed

What fees can High Court enforcement officers charge?

All enforcement agents add fees to the High Court writ, but HCEOs have a different scale of fees. These fees are set in law.

Breakdown of High Court enforcement officers’ fees (These fees may be charged to the debtor)

  • £75 added when the ‘notice of enforcement’ letter is sent
  • £190 +7.5% of the debt value over £1,000 added when the HCEO first visits
  • £495 added if you refuse to make an arrangement to pay, or if you make an arrangement to pay but break it
  • £525 +7.5% of the debt value over £1,000 if the HCEO comes back to remove your goods
  • Other storage and auction costs

How to instruct Court Enforcement Specialists to escalate your CCJ to High Court Writ of Control

We support the full escalation and enforcement action from start to finish and you will be given your own unique log in for secure access, in order to monitor your case live.

(We require the Court to explicitly state that the Order can be Escalated to the High Court).

Our Certificated Enforcement Agents can make visits between 06:00 and 21:00 hours, 7 days a week.

Click here to instruct us.

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Ross Johnson Davies

Ross Johnson Davies

Having worked as an Enforcement Agent before the pandemic, we can’t think of too many people who are better qualified to take on the role of Client Relationship Manager than Ross.

Ross worked as part of the #TeamCES Enforcement Agent set up, out in the field, for around 3 years, and so has plenty of first hand experience of what it means to play an active part in this industry.

It’s an industry that can be both mentally and emotionally challenging, but Ross thinks that the pressures on people today, are even greater than when he himself was making doorstep visits.

“Everyone is being squeezed from every direction...” he says, of course referring to the ‘Cost of Living’ crisis, and he’s right.

At CES, we’re seeing more and more people struggling with different types of debt, but our job has to be to differentiate between those who can, but won’t pay, and those who really can’t pay.

We always achieve the best outcome for our clients, but we do this in the right way, and if that means setting up a manageable payment agreement, that’s exactly what we do.

As Ross puts it...

...”This is a different standard of enforcement.”

The marriage between our company ethos, and the individual motivations of a largely ex military workforce leads to exemplary enforcement, where every effort is made to ensure things are done ‘by the book’, ethically, and in order to achieve positive outcomes for clients.

For someone whose role is within sales, Ross knows a lot about our industry, and that obviously comes from his genuine involvement on the ground, so to speak. He’s still involved in evictions to this day, as and when he’s called upon.

Ross says that our commitment to high standards stretches across everything we do. He says that our Agents...

...”slow things down, weigh up each situation on its own merit and make things more understandable.”

In an evolving situation where bad news seems to be coming on a daily basis, this commitment to consistent high standards will be more important than ever before.

“A modern breed of enforcement agents,” as Ross calls them, makes up our workforce, challenging reputations and maintaining high standards on every single assignment.

As for Ross’ assignments, he is looking to build and strengthen relationship with solicitors, as he knows just how well our companies will be able to work together.

They know that he’ll be able to answer any questions they may have, as he has seen our company operate from all angles.

On behalf of #TeamCES, Ross wants to let people know about our commitment to high standards, which is three-fold. It’s a commitment to high standards on behalf of each individual.

It’s a commitment to high standards on behalf of the company.

And it’s a commitment to high standards on behalf of the industry.

Professionally, Ross aligns himself with CES, and personally, he speaks highly of the camaraderie, support and occasional banter which make this a fantastic place to work.

Solicitors who would like to speak to Ross about how we can support their operations, should contact the CES office and ask to speak to Ross.

It’s not about pigeon holing our team into only knowing about their particular areas, at #TeamCES we want to work holistically, with every member of the team feeling confident and assured enough to talk about the company and its values, whenever they have the opportunity.

Having worked on the ground and now in the office, Ross is perfectly positioned to lead from the front with this.

As he rightly says, this is a different standard of enforcement.

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Jack Donnelly

Jack Donnelly

For anyone coming into the world of court enforcement from the outside, there can still be that outdated idea that it’s a world full of hard talking, mean looking bully boys, only interested in making things awkward for the people they come into contact with.

Our new social media man and marketing manager, Jack Donnelly, had heard all the stories himself, and so when he came to work for CES just over a month ago, he was understandably a little unsure as to how his day to day working life would look.

Having looked online for opportunities, after things became a little “stale” in his last role, Jack found that working within this industry was anything but the strict and ultra serious image he’d had in his head.

Jack had jumped from job to job in his early twenties, trying to work out what he was good at. In his own words…

“I wasn’t half bad at marketing and social media, so I gave that a try.”

Ultimately, that has brought him to work in an industry he knew little about, and now he is tasked with changing the wider perception of an industry that is nothing like people expect it to be.

Jack loves the laid back, no pressure atmosphere of working in the office at CES, where he even admits that one or two pranks get played.

Not pointing any fingers!

This is essential to keep spirits up, especially when the team are dealing with some really serious stuff, identifying vulnerability and trying to signpost people to the correct channels of support. As far as Jack is concerned, it’s about balancing the need for seriousness with the need to take the pressure off from time to time, something which the team at CES do better than most.

As part of his day to day role, Jack receives photographs and accounts from our Agents in the field, informing him of what’s going on. It’s then Jack’s job to get this information out on social media, in a clear and consistent message to our followers.

Part of this has to involve understanding the industry, and Jack says he’s gaining more and more understanding on a daily basis. He’s learning all the time. Posting on social media, managing the website, but most importantly, he’s building relationships on behalf of CES with other stakeholders.

His goal for the company is to get us out there as much as he can.

His personal goal is to one day set up an organisation that supports mental health, another value that he shares with CES.

And what does he think of CES then?

“We are respectful, we have empathy, we have respect…”

Those are Jack’s words, but we couldn’t agree more and we’re really looking forward to seeing how far he can develop his role, building his portfolio and crafting his marketing skills as a whole.

For Jack, it’s about challenging viewpoints, addressing reputations and bringing out the human side to our industry. He’s got plenty of ideas in the pipeline, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for things like Podcasts.

Welcome to the team, Jack. Let’s crack on with challenging those misconceptions. You’ve already challenged your own, now it’s time for the rest of the world.

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Steve Holland – From the Ukraine to the UK, the Midlands to the Middle East

Steve Holland – From the Ukraine to the UK, the Midlands to the Middle East

In the enforcement industry for the last six years, Steve Holland has been working as an Enforcement Agent for #TeamCES for the last three years, but there’s so much more to his story that we thought we’d shine a little light on one of our own...

As you’ll all know by now, we like to recruit heavily from ex forces personnel, and Steve is a perfect example of that, having had a proud ten years in the British Army.

Steve is incredibly proud of his military background, having been deployed to the frontline in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. The first of his family to pursue a career in the forces, Steve achieved the rank of Corporal, and admits falling in love with the way of the soldier.

We can relate.

Following his time in the army, like many others in that situation, Steve found himself ‘mourning’ the loss of the lifestyle and vocation. Just as when you lose a family member, a friend or even a pet, leaving the forces can present you with a bit of a hole in your life.

This was certainly the case for Steve, who needed to find something to throw his energy (not to mention his huge range of transferable skills) into.

After the army, Steve became a hostile bodyguard AKA a close protection officer in Iraq and then Afghanistan. He just couldn’t keep away from the most dangerous places in the world it seemed.

He knew that he was making a difference in the role, such as when he was looking after the big bosses and engineers on the oil refineries, but he admits that it was the adrenaline that kept him coming back for more.

This was always a high stakes and dangerous role, with each assignment putting him to the test, mentally, physically and emotionally. Sure, he was looked after out there, with good living conditions and pay, but there would be times when he’d find himself asking the question...

“Why have I put myself in this position AGAIN?”

The fact that Steve was protecting British diplomats at the British embassy in Afghanistan, in 2018, as part of Team 1 in Kabul, shows just how recently Steve was back doing that kind of work (and there’s an even more recent example too...) He really does seem to keep putting himself in those hostile environments.

We’re talking about daily situations where Steve, and the people he was protecting, would be under direct threat from the Taliban, heading out on their assignments heavily armed and knowing that they could come under fire at any given moment.

When he wasn’t protecting diplomats, he was ensuring the safety of Met Police officers, sent over there to investigate the murder of British citizens.

It’s all big, scary stuff to hear about.

So, is working as an Enforcement Agent something of a break for Steve?

Does that come easily when compared to working in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Absolutely not.

As far as Steve is concerned, it’s all relative, and it’s about having perspective.

In those countries, in the most troubled parts of the world, Steve has always been heavily armed, and has felt in control of his own safety, most of the time anyway.

In the world of enforcement, Steve knows, as we all do, that a seemingly simple situation can become life threatening at the drop of a hat.

The start of Steve’s career in this industry came in 2015, working for our colleagues and competitors, Jacobs, who Steve says helped him enormously, putting him through his training and supporting him as he assumed this new role.

Stints with Marston’s and DCBL followed, but it’s not a case of being taught ‘everything he needed to know’, because let’s face it, in this industry, every day is a school day, no matter how long in the tooth you are.

Having been to the most dangerous places in the world, Steve still says that he is anything but complacent when out on assignment as an Enforcement Agent. He respects the job and never for one second thinks that he’s ‘something special’.

The conflict management skills he brings with him from both the army and his later work, make him a highly skilled professional within this industry, which he knows first hand can be a dangerous one...

Take the time he was chased with a samurai sword, left isolated on a housing estate awaiting the support of a police firearms unit...

Or the time when four ‘lads’ entered a property through the back, intent on kicking his head in...

What about the time when two older ‘gentlemen’ decided that they wanted to attack Steve, spitting on him and assaulting him?

There’s the time he was confronted by someone with a bread knife, not looking to make him a slice of toast either!

Yes, he’s had his fair share of difficult situations to deal with in this industry. He’s come to expect the unexpected, but speaks with real sadness about how the attitude to ‘bailiffs’ in this country is so often one of violence.

“If people are happy to attack to police officers, what chance do bailiffs have?”

He’s got a point.

So, what does Steve rely on for protection? His body armour? His HALO body cam?

They’re all useful tools to have, but Steve claims that the ultimate tool in this industry is his tongue, the ability to talk.

The common sense approach to a situation can bring about a de-escalation far more quickly than raising your voice can, besides, if you start at the top, you haven’t got any room to move.

Talking to people and remaining calm at all times is the best way to handle a situation.

We couldn’t agree more.

It’s not all life and death situations though, and Steve has a whole host of positive stories to share about his time as an Enforcement Agent, with one of the best having happened very recently.

Often involved in the eviction of travellers from illegal encampments, Steve was involved in a recent case where a large group of travellers had taken up residence on the grounds of Lancaster University. Now, this was particularly bad timing with a graduation event looming the very same week, and the hostility shown towards Steve and his team was nothing short of intimidation, mixed with real threats of physical violence.

What did they do?

Well, Steve has an ethos and attitude of ‘always coming out on top’, and with the support of his team, he was able to help bring the situation to a swift conclusion, with 20 caravans and over 30 trespassers safely escorted off the site within a few hours. No further police involvement was necessary and the incident even ended with handshakes and nods of mutual respect.

A job well done.

Steve is understandably very proud of his involvement in this case.

We’re proud of him too, but not just because of his work as an EA.

We mentioned earlier that Steve has something of an inability to stay away from some of the most dangerous places on earth, and as the title of this piece suggests, he’s not long been home from war torn Ukraine.

So, what’s that all about?

Steve has always said that he’ll ‘dip his toe’ into those situations, but in the case of Ukraine, it was more like diving in head first (albeit in a sensible and controlled manner if that’s even possible...)

We all wanted to do something when the news broke about Ukraine, and heading out there was Steve’s contribution.

He was involved in the planning and transportation of correspondents for a huge television network, getting their presenters and journalists into some of the hardest hit parts of the country, right into the ‘danger zone’.

His job title was something along the lines of ‘Security Risk Advisor’, helping to get the ‘news guys’ into positions to be able to see first hand the mass graves and the war crimes, in order to report this back to the wider world.

What a tremendous contribution this is, as without people like Steve, planning the routes and assessing the potential problems (and there’s quite a few of them...) the wider world may never have seen some of the atrocities happening on an hourly basis.

Steve’s work was about taking people there and bringing them back, assessing collateral damage along the way and doing everything he could to keep his people safe.

A terrifying experience at times, “real dangerous s***” to use Steve’s words, but this was something he absolutely loved being a part of.

Part of that love comes from the realisation that he was contributing, but it also comes from the adrenaline, and the excitement of being in the most dangerous part of the world, right there and then.

It’s the soldier instinct within him.

So, why is he back?

His little boy.

No brainer.

Having his son was a game changer for Steve, and it’s something we can probably all relate to. He could no longer justify being killed in a place that he simply didn’t need to be.

We think he’s more than done his bit, and we’re glad to have him back working as a vital part of #TeamCES.

We know from experience, that people looking to enter this industry won’t be put off by some of Steve’s stories.

They should, however, serve as cautionary notes that this is not a career to be messed around with.

It takes people who are made of strong stuff.

It could be the perfect career for someone with transferrable skills, such as those coming out of the army or leaving the police force.

If you’re one of those people, Steve has the following advice for you...

“If you’re going to come into this industry, you need to come in with an open mind. Knowledge is power and every single day is different. Always, always have an open mind...”

Steve, yet again, we couldn’t agree more.

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The #TeamCES Guide to Evicting a Residential Tenant

The #TeamCES Guide to Evicting a Residential Tenant

Eviction is a minefield…”

It’s often said that evicting a residential tenant can be a real headache (at best) or an absolute nightmare (at worst) but at #TeamCES, we think that this is simply down to having inaccurate information and failing to do things in the right way.

Residential Possession Order

That isn’t to say that it’s ever an easy process though.

First of all, evicting someone from a residential property should never be an ‘easy’ process, as too many people would be at risk of falling into vulnerability if that were the case.

It’s also true, however, that sometimes, evicting a residential tenant is the only option left available to landlords, when it comes to getting back what they are owed, or at least taking back possession of what is theirs.

That’s where the #TeamCES Guide to Evicting a Residential Tenant comes in…

There are a few different ways in which a lease can be terminated. First of all, it’s about determining whether there is a just cause to evict. As all good landlords know, this is a last resort, and as such, there has to be a legitimate reason to seek eviction.

Here are some examples of ‘just causes’ or legitimate reasons:

  • Non payment of rent
  • Severe damage to the property
  • Violation to the terms of the lease
  • The tenant engaging in illegal activities on the premises

Even with one or a combination of the above reasons, the landlord must still follow a strict procedure for eviction, if they are to avoid being accused of harassment or illegal eviction…

With the two types of assured shorthold tenancies (namely the periodic tenancy and the fixed term tenancy) a landlord can serve a Section 21 or a Section 8 notice (or both).


A Section 8 notice is served if the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy, whilst a Section 21 notice of seeking possession can be used after a fixed term tenancy comes to an end:

  • If there is a written contract, or…
  • during the tenancy with no fixed end date (a periodic tenancy)

Rules apply for the issuing of Section 21 notices.

In England, a landlord cannot use a Section 21 notice if any one of the following apply:

  • it’s less than 4 months since the tenancy started, or the fixed term has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this
  • the property is categorised as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and does not have an HMO licence from the council
  • the tenancy started after April 2007 and you have not put the tenants’ deposit in a deposit protection scheme
  • the tenancy started after October 2015 and you have not used form 6a or a letter with all the same information on it
  • the council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last 6 months
  • the council has served a notice in the last 6 months that says it will do emergency works on the property
  • you have not repaid any unlawful fees or deposits that you charged the tenant – read the guidance for landlords on the Tenant Fees Act 2019
  • You also cannot use a Section 21 notice if you have not given the tenants copies of:
  • the property’s Energy Performance Certificate
  • the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide
  • a current gas safety certificate for the property, if gas is installed
  • You must have given your tenants the gas safety certificate and the ‘How to rent’ guide before they moved in.
  • You must have given your tenants a copy of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate before they rented the property.
Residential Eviction

In Wales, a landlord cannot use a Section 21 notice if any of the following apply:

  • it’s less than 4 months since the tenancy started, or the fixed term has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this
  • the property is categorised as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and does not have an HMO licence from the council
  • the tenancy started after April 2007 and you have not put the tenants’ deposit in a deposit protection scheme
  • the tenancy started after November 2016 and you do not have a landlord licence.

Other rules apply regarding how and when the above forms and processes must be started, such as how much notice should be given depending on how frequently a tenant pays their rent, but this is a #TeamCES Guide...

...and we know that the main question you want answering is...

“Can I evict my residential tenant?”

The short answer is ‘yes’, but as you can see from our guide, it’s never as simple as that.

The best way to ensure you get the right information at the right time, and to move forward in the correct and appropriate manner, is to contact the team here at Court Enforcement Specialists.

We know what we’re doing.

We know what to do and, crucially, we also know what not to do.

Save the headaches and forget the worst nightmare, just get in touch with us on 01615070626 to find the best route forward.

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What Happens Next With CRAR?

What Happens Next With CRAR?

We posted a while ago regarding the 25th March – a significant date for our industry.

Last Friday marked the date when Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery could reconvene, after a long two years of waiting for landlords came to an end.

Commercial landlords haven’t been rubbing their hands together in anticipation of getting their money or their properties back, as they know that the protective measures were needed, but it would be fair to say that their collective patience has all but run out by now.

Whilst it may seem from the outside, that enforcing CRAR is solely about looking after the interests of the landlord, the whole process is set up to treat both parties fairly and appropriately.

As it’s been two years, it’s probably a good idea to provide a reminder about what CRAR actually is...

Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery is the legal process which must be followed by landlords, when they are looking to recover outstanding rent from their former tenants or any guarantors. The whole CRAR procedure is covered in Section 72 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Our involvement, as enforcement agents, is covered in this documentation too, with regards to our procedures, as well as the types of rent which may be recovered.

As the name suggests, only commercial landlords can look to use CRAR, and rent of at least a minimum of 7 days’ must be outstanding. It’s also vital that a lease be in writing too.

Our part in the process is quite simple, as we follow the instructions on an instruction form, by giving the tenant seven days’ notice, after which we may look to enter the property to take control of goods towards the value of the outstanding debt.

There are three stages which all CRAR cases must follow: the compliance stage, the enforcement stage and the sales stage.

It’s good for landlords to know that fixed fees are set for each stage of the process, and that in some cases, these fees are recoverable from the tenant themselves as part of the enforcement arrangements.

Up until the 25th March, and owing to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a minimum of 554 days’ worth of outstanding rent needed to be involved, before any CRAR proceedings could begin. This has now come to an end, and ‘normal service’ has been resumed.

It’s crucial to remember though, that it’s been anything but ‘normal service’ for every kind of commercial tenant for the last two years, and so it’s not going to be as easy as one, two, three to successfully enforce every single case.

Whilst landlords know that the extra safeguarding during and after the pandemic was necessary to protect vulnerable tenants (and to give them the breathing space to get back on their feet) they also know that they can’t wait too much longer to get back what they are owed.

It’s therefore vital that the procedures involving CRAR are fully understood, if they are to be used appropriately and fairly.

Also from the 25th March, the Government have introduced the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022, which defines a new arbitration procedure for what it calls ‘protected rent debt’.

This ring fenced debt refers to any arrears that came about between March 2020 and the 18th July 2021, the worst period of the pandemic economically, with any arrears from this period being assessed through an arbitration period.

The arbitration will assess the tenant or debtor’s ability to pay back this money, based on the impact of the pandemic on their business’s finances.

Whatever the decision of the arbitration, The Act will prohibit enforcement on any protected rent debt for a period of 6 months (up to the 25th September 2022).

Critics will call it yet more breathing space for businesses who should have already closed.

That’s a harsh view of this in reality though, as all other arrears from outside this period can be enforced against as of the 25th, as can any businesses and premises which were not forced to close as a result of the pandemic and the various lockdown restrictions.

So, to conclude, CRAR is active again and Court Enforcement Specialists can help landlords follow the rules to the letter.

All you have to do is get in touch with the team here at #TeamCES, and we’ll talk you through everything we can and cannot do.

The bottom line though, simply has to be, that it’s time to get back what is owed.

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Free Networking Event – Rochdale – Greater Manchester

Free Networking Event – Rochdale – Greater Manchester

Court Enforcement Specialists will be hosting the North West Professional Networking event, Meet Entrepreneurs, Business Owners, Investors at this Evening Networking Event. Free Drinks & Snacks.

About this event

Make connections, build new relationships and develop new business opportunities! Every business is welcome. Join us for a Fun, Inspirational, and relaxed evening of Business Networking.

AGENDA

06:30pm-7:00pm (30min) - Meet and greet.

19:00 - 19:30 Refreshments, Free soft drinks, Tea, Coffee and snacks. Informal networking.

19:40 - 20:10 Guest Speaker (Joel Oxberry from Walking With The Wounded)

20:15 Onwards Q & A's

20:30 Soft Networking

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENT

Come and meet the brilliant entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, tech savvies, local and national business owners!!

Create valuable connections.

Get to know the latest trends and fresh ideas in business, tech and entrepreneurship which may take your business to the next level.

GUEST CHARITY SPEAKER

This months guest speaker is the wonderful Joel Oxberry, from Walking With The Wounded their mission is to support all ex servicemen and women with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long-term security for themselves and their families

CLICK BELOW TO GET YOUR FREE TICKET:

https://www.eventbrite.com.ar/e/free-networking-event-rochdale-greater-manchester-tickets-291161460767?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=escb

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Commercial Enforcement on the Horizon – Use our Experience, Expertise and Efficiency

Commercial Enforcement on the Horizon – Use our Experience, Expertise and Efficiency

You’ll have no doubt seen in the news recently, that all current covid restrictions are set to be going out of the window in England. Even the requirement to isolate after a positive test is being scrapped.

It seems as though we’re going to have to learn to live with this virus, much like we do with the flu.

This doesn’t mean that #TeamCES are planning to scrap our dedication to safe and sensible enforcement, but it does mean that changes are afoot in terms of what we can and can’t do, especially with regards to commercial enforcement.

From the 25th March 2022, all covid restrictions for commercial rent arrears and forfeitures will come to an end. Whilst this doesn’t mean we can start enforcing on any arrears that occurred during the covid period, it does mean we can enforce on any arrears built up before the arrival of covid, and on any future arrears too.

Any debt accrued during the covid period has been (or will be) ring fenced by the Government, with the expectation that landlords and creditors should enter into negotiations with their tenants. When these negotiations lead to a legally binding arbitration rule (in an ideal world, of course) the tenant will then have to pay off some of their arrears as an ‘add on’ to their normal monthly obligations.

This is just how it has to work, paying it off bit by bit.

For this process, #TeamCES don’t need to get involved, but where no agreement can be made, it could be time to give us a call.

If tenants are unable to make the extra payments necessary, it shouldn’t take long to identify whether your tenants’ businesses are profitable or not. In many cases, this process will highlight certain businesses that should probably have closed their doors already.

You can’t help but admire the stoicism of carrying on, in many ways, but the reality of the situation is that many of these businesses have been doing little more than flogging dead horses and hanging on in there, right up until the last.

And that’s where we come in.

From the 25th March, our certificated enforcement agents will be allowed to collect outstanding rent and follow through with forfeiture on commercial leases. Again, this is only for issues that have arisen outside of the covid period, and that’s such an important distinction to make.

If your tenant is due to pay their rent in advance however, as long as that rent is due after the 25th March, #TeamCES will be able to go in and enforce on the debt in an attempt to collect the rent.

We’re ready and waiting should you need us.

No one wants an empty commercial property, but no one wants a tenant with a non profitable business either.

How long can you afford to wait and how many more ‘chances’ can you afford to give your tenant?

Enter negotiations, reach agreements, decide on payment plans, but remember, #TeamCES are here to serve our clients with experience, expertise and efficiency.

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The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to: Enforcement Powers on Unauthorised Encampments

The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to: Enforcement Powers on Unauthorised Encampments

‘Important Considerations’

When looking at the powers available for enforcement on unauthorised encampments and how to use these powers, there are several important considerations to keep in mind.

Choosing the Most Appropriate Power

This isn’t an easy thing to do, but speaking to a company like ours in the earliest stages will certainly hep you move in the right direction more quickly. In a nutshell though...

...if speed is the most important thing, because the presence of the encampment is seriously disrupting the ability of the settled community to make use of facilities or to conduct their business, a welfare issue is suspected, or antisocial behaviour is a concern, then Section 61 of the CJPOA is likely to be the most appropriate power.

Speeding up the Process

This is a hard goal to achieve, because it relies largely on the provision and availability of alternative sites for the trespassers to move on to. That said, by being fully prepared with all documentation and keeping abreast of the processes, time can be saved by avoiding legal challenges and working with the courts.

Keeping Costs Down

Costs can be kept down by avoiding unnecessary expenditure such as large clean up costs and large legal costs. If managed efficiently, these two costs can be kept to a minimum, firstly by acting quickly to clean up after eviction, so as to avoid any further fly tipping, and secondly by seeking the advice available from the district or county council. Landowners are advised to ensure that they have consulted with these bodies before taking action.

Preventing Further Unauthorised Camping

To prevent further unauthorised camping, landowners and local authorities should follow the legal processes concerned with preventing re entry within three months of eviction. The police can assist with the enforcement of this. Site protection measures should also be considered, such as earth bunds, or embankments, around the site, or by introducing height restrictions to entrances.

Full Information on Enforcement Powers on Unauthorised Encampments – ‘Important Considerations’ is available at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/7837/143582.pdf

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The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to: ‘Dealing with Illegal and Unauthorised Encampments’

The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to: ‘Dealing with Illegal and Unauthorised Encampments’

What powers do people have?

Councils, the police and landowners have robust powers to clamp down on illegal and unauthorised encampments quickly. This comes as part of the government’s commitment to protecting the nation’s green spaces. Communities and individuals can face huge problems through illegal occupation of land, but there are now extensive powers which can help address the issue.

Some of the powers available to local authorities are listed here.

· Temporary Stop Notice

A TSO stops any activity that breaches planning control for a period of 28 days, allowing the local planning authority time to decide whether further enforcement action is needed.

· Injunctions to protect land from unauthorised encampments

Local authorities can apply to the courts for a pre-emptive injunction preventing unauthorised camping (and/or protests) in a defined geographical area. This is useful when it is suspected that an area may be vulnerable to such activity.

· Licensing of caravan sites

The Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960 prohibits the use of land as a caravan site unless the occupier holds a site licence issued by the local authority.

· Tent site licence

Section 269 of the Public Health Act 1936 gives the local authority powers to control the use of movable dwellings and to license the use of land as a site for such as a dwelling.

· Possession Orders

See The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to: Possession Orders

Other powers include local byelaws, local authority powers to direct any unauthorised campers to leave land, powers to remove any encampments which obstruct the Public Highway or which may be in contravention to Planning Laws, Stop Notices, Breach of Condition Notices and Powers of Entry onto Land.

The police have other powers, including the power to direct unauthorised campers to leave land, to direct trespassers to an alternative site and to deal with the offence of squatting in a residential building.

Full Information on ‘Dealing with Illegal and Unauthorised Encampments’ is available at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/418139/150326_Dealing_with_illegal_and_unauthorised_encampments_-_final.pdf

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The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to:Enforcement Powers on Unauthorised Encampments – ‘Common Law’

The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to:Enforcement Powers on Unauthorised Encampments – ‘Common Law’

Due to the impact it can have on local communities and landowners, unauthorised encampment must be dealt with swiftly and effectively. This begins with knowing exactly who has which specific powers to act.

Common Law Powers

All landowners can use their common law rights to recover land by evicting an individual, to seek damages for their trespass on their land, and to seek an injunction to prevent the trespass from occurring again. Trespassers may request to leave peaceably before being forcibly removed, although a trespasser who has entered land with force and violence may be removed without this request.

What if they don’t leave?

The possessor of the land may use ‘no more force than is reasonably necessary’ to evict him or her, and private bailiffs may be used to carry out the eviction.

What is reasonable force?

This is a question of fact to be decided in each individual case, however it must be an honestly held belief that in the particular circumstances the force that is used is reasonable, rather than excessive, as use of excessive force could give rise to a claim against the landowner by the trespassers.

Who should you tell?

The police should be notified of the intentions to enforce eviction, so that police officers can be present to prevent any breach of the peace.

Full Information on Enforcement Powers on Unauthorised Encampments – ‘Common Law’ is available at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/7837/143582.pdf

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The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to:‘Possession Claims’

The #TeamCES Two Minute Guide to:‘Possession Claims’

What is a Possession Claim?

A ‘Possession Claim’ means a claim for the recovery of possession of land. This includes buildings or parts of buildings. ‘A Possession Claim Against Trespassers’ is a claim for the recovery of land, which the claimant alleges to be occupied by trespassers. This doesn’t include claims against tenants or sub tenants, irrespective of whether a tenancy has been terminated or not.

Who can bring a Possession Claim?

A landlord, mortgagee or licensor (current or former) can bring a possession claim, as can a land owner against trespassers, or in some cases, a tenant seeking relief from forfeiture.

How do you start the Possession Claim?

The claimant can make the claim at any County Court hearing centre, where it will be sent to the relevant hearing centre for the address of the claim. If the claimant does not know who is in occupation or the possession of the land (as is often the case with trespassers) the claim can be brought against ‘persons unknown’.

What happens next?

The court will set a date for the hearing. Any trespassers must be served with the claim form, along with any witness statements. For residential property, this should be no less than 5 days before the hearing date, and for any other land, this should be no less than 2 days before the hearing date. The hearing date will be not less than 28 days, and not more than 8 weeks from the date of the issue form.

How are the forms served against trespassers?

By attaching copies of the claim form to the main door or some other clearly visible part of the land, and by inserting copies of the documents in a sealed transparent envelope through the letterbox.

Does the defendant need to respond?

The short answer is ‘no’…

What happens at the hearing?

The court may decide the claim or give case management directions. If the defendant has agreed to attend, they may wish to put forward their case or seek an adjournment.

Full Information on ‘Possession Claims’ is available at:

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part55

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