Can an HCEO force entry into a property?

Forced entry by High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) is something that needs to be treated with considerable caution when it comes to recovering any outstanding debts. There are times when the officer needs to get inside the premises for enforcement to be successful and goods to be seized. However, there are strict regulations around what is and is not permitted, and these regulations differ between HCEOs and certificated bailiffs.

HCEOs Right of Entry to Residential Premises

The HCEOs have several advantages when compared to the powers certificated bailiffs and County Court bailiffs have. They can also achieve better results than debt collectors when they try to recover money due to a creditor.

HCEOs are permitted to climb a perimeter fence or wall to gain access to the grounds of a property. They can use a door handle when a door is unlocked in order to gain access to a property, and when a door is open, they are permitted entry, they can also open the door further to aid entry if necessary.

Once they have gained entry, HCEOs may bring down inner doors in order to seek and seize the goods of the defendant. They cannot be forcibly ejected and they can force re-entry back into the property if that happens. They can also force entry into a barn, stables, garage, or outhouse if these premises are not physically attached to a residence.

HCEOs Right of Entry to Commercial Premises

When it comes to commercial premises, HCEOs can force entry on their first visit or any other subsequent visits in order to remove goods belonging to the defendant on the condition that the property is not physically attached to a residential dwelling, or forms any part of it. However, they need to have a genuine reason to believe that the defendant stores goods inside the premises prior to forcing entry.

HCEOs can enter the premises if they have previously entered into an agreement with the defendant to pay any outstanding debts, but the defendant has not adhered to the terms of the agreement.

Types of Properties Exempt

There are some properties that are exempt from the HCEOs right to enter, these include Royal residences and diplomatic premises. HCEOs should check the property details carefully before forcing entry, because some premises may be of a sensible nature. Examples of such premises include hospitals, care homes, or funeral directors.

How Can Able Investigations Help?

At Able Investigations, we have a team of professional certificated officers who can help you recover debts from businesses and individuals if you have a judgement issued by the High Court. Whether you are a lawyer, landlord, business, local authority, or even an individual, we can help you when it comes to evictions, recovering outstanding debts, or land repossessions in Bristol. For more information or any questions you might have about enforcing judgements in England and Wales, give us a call on 0345 366 0000.

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