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Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law | The Extra 10th is and Its Too Slow

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From our heritage as Sheriffs we have developed our property services for the benefit of our community so they have a one-stop shop of protection.

This week one of our favorite law firm clients contacted us to ask us to help enforce a county court possession order which had been made as long ago as 19th January 2019. You know the above saying – possession is only 9/10th’s of the law and the extra 1/10th is what is needed to complete the process, law assignment. But we say that getting that last 1/10th is tedious and inefficient. Justice is not served with this level of delay in the court system.


Take a look at the Order below – on the basis it gives no information as to the parties and you will see that the application for permission to transfer to the High Court was made on 22nd May 2019 in the Willesden County Court.


It has taken Willesden County Court until 17th July 2019 to grant permission for the Claimant to enforce its Order.


What is the impact of Possession?

For the settlement agreements, claimant it is a delay of 22nd May to 17th July 2019 for a judge to give permission for the transfer. That is 57 days of delay. With average rents in London averaging £371 per week based on the Homelet Index – that’s a loss of rent of £52.96 per day in mesne profits (or rent), which in turn tots up to £3018 as a loss in rent waiting for the Court to exercise its discretion to transfer up to the High Court.


We ask where is the justice in this? That loss may well have been compounded by the delay in achieving an Order for Possession from 19th January until 22nd May. That’s another 124 days of unpaid rent which adds up to another £6567.04 of delayed rent. So, the total loss to the Claimant is £9532.04 in unpaid rent that we can speculate is a real economic loss.


For the Defendant, we are assuming that no rent has been paid since 19th January 2019 if not before. The Defendant exits the property at eviction and we expect if they have no where to go the State will house them. Whilst this is upsetting and difficult the economic loss to the Defendant is zero.


Contrast this with a situation in which the Court makes its Order to transfer to the High Court within 5 working days from 22nd May and the Claimant uses our managed Transfer Up service for possession orders. Believe it or not there are county courts that achieve this sort of timeline for transfer! With only 5 days of delay the Claimant would incur a loss of £370, plus our fixed fees to manage the transfer of the Order to the High Court and carry out the eviction. The total cost would have come in at just over £1000.00 – with no hidden surprises. To enforce an unsecured promissory note is to file a petition with the courts and get a judgment.


When the position of the two systems is contrasted you can see why we want Claimants to swap to using our system. We not only process the transfer, but we DRIVE the transfer of the adverse possession, adverse possession laws, adverse possession rights to achieve the best possible turnaround time. The outcome to the Defendant is the same either way. They will be moving at some point – and whilst the impact of eviction cannot be underestimated – we don’t think Claimants should suffer the delay and loss that the current system seems to treat as OK. It just isn’t a situation we can support.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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