Is a Bailiff Required?
If the tenant remains in the house after the date when the landlord is entitled to possession, the landlord will need to enforce the possession order before he can get his property back. We can advise landlords of their options at this point.
The landlord may not forcibly evict the tenant. Section 6(1) of the Criminal Law Act makes it a criminal offence for a person to use or threaten to use violence to secure entry into any premises (even if he or she has obtained the required possession order), provided that s/he knows that there is someone on the premises that opposes such an entry.
The landlord, therefore, has two main choices:
There are many good reasons why a tenant will leave peaceably once a possession order has been obtained:
Many local authorities will agree to rehouse the tenant once a possession order has been obtained;
There are very limited rights to appeal the order;
There is often a social stigma attached to the entry of bailiffs and physical eviction;
The tenant may be liable for extra costs if the landlord is required to apply to the bailiffs to enforce the order;
Although the possession order does not allow the landlord to forcibly evict his tenants at this point, a landlord may remove a trespasser from his land, but only with “reasonable force”.
Warrant of Possession
An order for possession is enforced by a warrant of possession. This authorises the county court bailiff or in certain circumstances a High Court Enforcement Officer to evict the tenant from the property.
The warrant is delivered to the county court bailiff, who will visit the premises and notify the tenant of the date and time of the eviction. This gives the tenant further time to find somewhere else to live, and usually tenants move out after this initial visit by the bailiff.
It is possible for tenants to apply to the court to set aside the original order for possession, as well as staying the warrant of possession. This tactic is frustrating for landlords, but is only possible if the order for possession was made on a discretionary ground for possession. If the tenant is still in the property at the time of the eviction, the bailiff may only use such reasonable force as is necessary to evict him.
Warrants of Restitution
It is not unknown for persons evicted by warrant of possession to return to the house after the eviction. If this happens, it is not necessary to issue fresh proceedings. Instead the landlord can apply for a warrant of restitution, which is basically another warrant of possession. The bailiff will return to the property and evict the tenant once again.
In practice, this rarely happens if the landlord has been careful and changed the locks since this would constitute re-entry by force which, again, is a criminal offence for which the ex-tenant could be arrested.
Be aware the foregoing relates to the possession of residential premises and different rules apply for commercial property. Please contact us for further details or email questions to email@example.com
Please contact us on 01843 242231 should you have any questions or queries relating to the instruction of a Bailiff. We are happy to review your circumstances FREE and with NO OBLIGATION.