Once judgment has been obtained against a debtor, one enforcement option available to creditors is to issue a Writ for the Levy of Property.
This is an order for a Sheriff to seize and sell, at auction, property belonging to the debtor.
The money from the sale of the goods is then used to satisfy the judgment debt owed to the creditor. A Writ for the Levy of Property is valid for 12 months.
Some potential pitfalls to consider before issuing a Writ for the Levy of Property are:
- Whether the debtor has sufficient property to pay the judgment debt.
- The Sheriff cannot take property that is rented, mortgaged, financed, protected property or belongs to someone other than the judgment debtor.
- The Sheriff can seize jointly owned real property and sell it (if the debt is over $10,000), however the money paid to the creditor will be proportional to the debtor’s share of the property.
- The debtor may file an application with the Court to pay the debt by instalments, and if such an application is granted, the Writ will be stayed.
- The Sheriff will charge a fee for each attendance at the debtor’s property, even if no contact is made with the debtor.
If the Sheriff is unable to seize any goods to sell at auction, or if the goods seized and sold are unable to satisfy the judgment debt, other enforcement options may need to be considered for the balance