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Enforcing a county court judgment - Charge against property

Hi, I took my ex-landlord to court for non-protection of deposit and not issuing the prescribed information. I was a litigant in person. The landlord did not bother to turn up. I was awarded 3 times my deposit plus costs. The judgment order was sent out after the 14 days the judge allowed for payment so I emailed the landlord with a copy of the JO and asked them to pay it, giving them 14 days to do so in the interests of being fair and equitable,. The landlord wrote back immediately stating they were going to apply to have the judgment set aside because a) the case was not heard at the court they wanted b) they claimed to have heard nothing from the court since they filed the acknowledgement of service and c) they claimed they did not get the opportunity to defend the action in court.

It is a nonsense of course as the court decides where the case is heard, they had 28 days after the acknowledgement of service to submit a defence and having spoken to the HMCTS helpline, they sent out all documents to the landlord's home address at the same time they issued them to me.  the landlord is a crook with all sorts of dodgy practices going on and they are just trying to wriggle out of paying.  No application for a set aside has been made to the court 45 days after the date of the JO.

I thought about a TPDO but this has to be very precise on dates and the landlord has many accounts so it could be rather fruitless.  The landlord does however own several properties and I think that the best way to go forward is to put a charge on the property that I lived in (the landlord claims they wish to sell it) as it is not the landlord's principal home and is an asset with no mortgage.

Does anyone have any experience of applying for a property charge or advice they could share please?  Do I have to write another letter before action before filing the form?  I have evidence from the gov.uk Title Register website that he owns it but do I need to do a proper Land registry request? Is there any legislation that I need to quote on the form as to why I am applying for a property charge? If anyone could offer any help, that would be great! TIA

Comments

  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,240
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    You don't need further letters before action. You have a judgement in default and are allowed to secure it.

    You do understand that if the landlord does not sell then the charge just sits there.

    Also there could be a problem is the house is owned jointly
  • Hi,
    fatbelly said:
    You don't need further letters before action. You have a judgement in default and are allowed to secure it.

    You do understand that if the landlord does not sell then the charge just sits there.

    Also there could be a problem is the house is owned jointly
    Once the charge has been secured then I don't see why the OP couldn't then go on to force a sale.

    It isn't the landlord's residence so I doubt that a court would oppose a sale (other than maybe to protect the tenant - does anyone know what view a court is likely to take?).
  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,240
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    A judge would look at proportionality. Courts are very reluctant to agree to an order for sale in any circumstances. If you look at the stats there are very few ever awarded.  If the op was owed 100k then maybe. On £1500- 2k I doubt it.

    Commercial organisations will often use a charging order and then another method, like HCEOs. That is allowed.
  • Thank you. I should also say there are 2 other tenants who are currently living there taking the landlord to court for harassment and I believe that if successful, their compensation could run up to 20K each. I would imagine their lawyer will enforce with a property charge for such large sums. If that happens, I am happy to wait for the money if it means the property could be forced to be sold as there will be no tenants there by then and it is not the main home of the landlord. I thought about bailiffs but I believe that they are quite easy to 'stymie' if one knows what one is doing and the TPDO is risky because of the precision of the date of service and I don't know if the landlord has money still going through the accounts that I know of ( he has several accounts and email accounts). I think the property charge is perhaps the safest way to do it and if the risk of the property being forcibly sold is real or will act as a deterrent for buyers, then it may encourage the landlord to settle up, especially as the landlord has said they wish to sell it.

    Do I need to just do a title register search for £3 on the government website of do I need to get the £34 Land Registry search for the application form?  Do I need to quote any case law?
  • fatbelly said:
    You don't need further letters before action. You have a judgement in default and are allowed to secure it.

    You do understand that if the landlord does not sell then the charge just sits there.

    Also there could be a problem is the house is owned jointly
    Thank you @fatbelly. That is really helpful to know. I was worried in case I did have to send an LBA. The property is in his name only. There is no mortgage on the property. You said that after a property charge I could also apply for High Court Enforcement officers to act. Is that more effective than run of the mill bailiffs? Do they have more powers?
  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,240
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    No they don't have more powers, though they may claim they have. They are generally more motivated to pursue the debtor than the court bailiff.
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