20 April, 2020
When it comes to recovering debts sometimes getting a county court judgment is the easy part, but the difficulties arise getting the judgment money into your bank!
Knowledge is key. Building a profile of your debtor allows you to consider the best way to enforce. What job do they do? Where do they live? Do they own the property: these are all questions that need to be considered. Social media also allows insight into a debtor's life. Debtors may post pictures of new cars which can be uplifted or we can find out if they have moved abroad and therefore not worth pursuing.
Once a profile is established then we can consider the best way to proceed always looking at the proportionate cost to the debt.
In these difficult times, it may be that you seek an agreement with a debtor and money is paid in instalments. You can always seek a variation order from the Court so that if the debtor defaults on a payment then you can immediately proceed with the below options.
You could also choose to agree to instalments on the basis that you have security over a property by way of a restriction or ask debtors if they have a guarantor by way of security that you can look to in the event a debtor defaults. Having security makes it less likely that a debtor defaults on their payments.
Many of us have seen the TV programmes which show the dramatic goings on of bailiffs. In the main though the reality is different. Bailiffs have limited powers when it comes to residential properties and aren't allowed to enter unless a debtor gives access. What does produce results is the number of visits the bailiffs make and the increased debt with each visit which panics debtors and prompts them into often at least making an offer of a payment plan.
If a debtor owns their property, either alone or with someone, you can apply to the court for a charging order. This allows a restriction to be placed on the property so if it is sold you would be notified and ultimately would agree to lift the restriction upon payment.
Bankruptcy and winding up petitions can be useful tools against debtors. Whilst relatively expensive to pursue they produce a significant impact on the debtor. For professional individuals it may prevent them from working and sometimes the embarrassment of being personally served with papers leads to payments of debts.
Whilst not commonly used if you are aware that your debtor is due to receive a significant payment, then this method could be utilised to ensure that the debtor pays you.
In the event that your debtor is evasive, but you are aware that he has assets, but you are failing to locate them then you can summons a debtor to court to answer questions. In the event that the debtor fails to respond the debtor can be held in contempt of court.
For more information contact Rebecca Cowdy in our Dispute Resolution department via email or phone on 0333 207 4468. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.