Has anyone had any experience of using the High Court Sheriffs for evicting tenants under County Court possession orders?
I get asked this from time to time, as the sheriffs all advertise that they provide a superior and much quicker service, to that of the County Court bailiffs. However the only times I have ever tried to use them have been a nightmare.
Not, I hasten to add, because of anything to do with the Sheriffs themselves. They generally provide a good service. But because before you can instruct them in the first place (and before they can give you that short notice appointment) you have to transfer the case up to the High Court.
I tried to do this a year or so ago when I had a particularly urgent eviction in one of those London courts with an eight week or longer waiting list for a bailiffs appointment. I did everything I was told to do, and got London agents to deal with the transfer. It seemed to take forever. I believe we did get a quicker appointment in the end, but only just, and only because it was in one of those London courts with the long bailiff waiting lists.
Another time we tried to get leave to enforce at the High Court at the possession hearing, and the Judge refused, saying that he did not consider it necessary.
Since then I have to say I have not bothered. It is considerably more expensive and I don’t really see the need. Most tenants move out before the bailiffs come round anyway. I have only had a handful of cases where they were still there (although this did include the memorable occasion when an exceptionally dozy couple sent their children off to school in the morning not telling them that the bailiffs were coming round at 2.00 pm that afternoon).
Generally the reason people stay in situ is that they are waiting for the Local Authority to re-house them. To do them justice, they normally do re-house tenants before bailiffs appointments, although sometimes they tell the tenant to apply for a stay first to give them more time. I haven’t had a case in years where the tenant was still there when the bailiffs arrived.
If you have used one of the Sheriffs for this work please leave a comment and say how you got on.