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Writs of Possession

When a landlord wants to bring a tenancy to an end and evict his land to repossess his property he can use the Writ of Possession. A High Court’s Writ of Possession gives the landlord power to instruct the High Court Enforcement Officer to recover the property or land on behalf of the owner from tenants or trespassers. This Writ of Possession is in favour of landlords, and landowners as the tenant might have violated the agreements like lease agreement, landlord-tenant agreement, breach the lease agreement, landlord-tenant agreement, tenant agreement etc.

What Is a Writ of Possession?

Writ of possession is a court order a landlord must possess, in order to seek the termination of the tenant’s right to possession of a property. This writ of possession form or high court enforcement possession order will give the landlord power to force the tenant to vacate the property voluntarily.

As an alternative to enforcing a high court possession order by applying for a warrant of possession in the County Court, the landlord may apply to transfer the order to the High Court for enforcement by a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO).

HCEOs are also referred to as enforcement agents or bailiffs. They are private agents regulated by the High Court Enforcement Officers Association who operate under instructions received from the claimant landlord. A High Court writ of possession instructs a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to recover the property or land on behalf of the owner from tenants or trespassers.

High Court or County Court

The vast majority of cases will be started in the County Court. The circumstances under which it may be started in the High Court include |

  • Complicated disputes of fact
  • Points of the law of general importance
  • A claim against trespassers where there is a substantial risk of public disturbance or serious harm to persons or property

Many large-scale and high-profile activist and protester evictions will be initiated in the High Court as a result of this.

When a Possession Order Can be Enforced in the High Court?

A high court enforcement possession order can be enforced in the High Court in two situations.

The first time was at the High Court when the possession hearing was held. This is rare because, unless there are special circumstances, such as intricate factual disputes or key points of law, a landlord’s application for a high court enforcement possession order in the High Court is transferred to the County Court.

The most common basis for High Court enforcement is that the landlord has requested that the enforcement possession order be transferred from the County Court to the High Court for enforcement by an HCEO.

Eviction of Persons Unknown Under a Writ of Possession

It is considered an eviction of “persons unknown” when trespassers or squatters are removed from land or commercial property (squatting in residential premises became a criminal offence in 2012).

If a high court enforcement order for possession has been issued against unknown parties, the claimant can use form N293A to transfer it to the High Court for enforcement by an HCEO. It is not necessary to take time off to transfer up.

The trespassers do not need to be given notice; the HCEO will assess whether it is necessary based on the circumstances. In an eviction where resistance is expected, the element of surprise is often vital.

Residential Tenant Eviction

When a claimant is granted possession of the residential property, he or she must seek the court for permission to move up.

This procedure has just been changed, and new forms have been released, making it easier for judges to approve the application. This could help residential landlords who need a quicker solution than county court bailiffs.

Commercial Tenant Eviction

If a business landlord wants to evict a tenant using a High Court writ, they’ll need permission to transfer up.

In reality, however, the commercial landlord will usually evict the tenant using the Common Law remedy of forfeiture of the lease, which can be done very immediately after the renter violates the lease terms (normally non-payment of rent).


If you need to move more quickly with your current possession order or with future possession orders, please contact our expert team who can advise you on timelines, costs, and any procedural points you need to complete before paying our fee.

We offer a complete end to end service to issue a Claim for Possession, obtain a high court enforcement order, High court writ of eviction and enforce the same, including serving of Notices for a fixed fee. Our friendly business advisors will help you in taking a suitable approach in claiming your property back.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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