Best debt enforcement option for LA

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    Best debt enforcement option for LA

    Hi,

    I have had an ombudsman judgment for 1,200£ which the agent failed to pay to me. They are going to be expelled in a few days. I will then seek to enforce the judgment by any of the below options, but I am uncertain as to which one would be most appropriate.

    1) Send bailifs to remove and sell items from the LA office. That might be difficult, even for high court agents, since the LA operates in a rented furnished commercial space somewhere within a 'commercial space development'. I doubt the LA has anything of value in there.
    What could be of value in a LA company?

    2) Freeze money in the bank account where I paid rent, with a third-party debt order. A bit risky because only existing money will be frozen, and I don't know if they have any.

    3) Execute 1, and if failed apply for a involuntary wind-up. Its a bit costly, but I am OK.

    Any ideas/suggestions welcome.

    #2
    I do not think an ombudsman's judgement can be enforced like a judgement of the court.

    Comment


      #3
      If the agent doesn't pay the amount awarded by the ombudsman, I don't think there's any other option than to sue the agent (small claims court) for the money.
      As that case is pretty much guaranteed to be successful, the normal enforcement routes would then be available (neither of the options above would be available without a further application to the high court if the agent still doesn't pay after the small claim is decided).
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you both for your answers.

        My understanding is, that the property ombudsman's decision, one of the three property redress schemes, is binding and final.

        An article in the law gazzette describes the procedure to enforce an ombudsman decision, so that the case itself does not have to be re-open, i.e. it will go to the court, but as a request to enforce, rather than investigate the facts of the case again.

        And an explanatory document of the financial ombudsman describes the same as well, stating explicitly a new case should not be open, only an enforcement option.
        Unless ofcourse I am missing something here.

        Comment


          #5
          Is your decision from the Financial Ombudsman?

          Those articles are about a specific Ombudsman, and there are many others.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #6
            No,

            decision is from a property redress scheme. Am I wrong to understand these schemes are ombudsmen and they have the same legal status as the financial ombudsman?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Suntory View Post
              decision is from a property redress scheme. Am I wrong to understand these schemes are ombudsmen and they have the same legal status as the financial ombudsman?
              Yes, some of the references in the linked options relate to legislation that is specific to the financial ombudsman - making it's opinion binding.

              I don't think it matters much though.
              Your only route forward (as far as I know, and I am not a solicitor, which is where you would obtain best advice) is to sue the agent for the amount awarded by the ombudsman.
              The award, at the minimum, created an obligation on the agent to pay you a sum of money, and they haven't, which is a suable debt.

              If the ombudsman isn't able to offer any other advice and is expelling the agent, there doesn't seem much else it can do.

              One thing you might usefully do is, once the agent is expelled, point out to your local trading standards office that they're now trading illegally, as all letting and estate agents have to be members of an approved scheme with a code of practice and redress process.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                The agent is expelled without any sign of my money. I will now proceed legally, but first find some cheap way to ask a solicitor if I can enforce the debt without re-opening the case.

                But I saw the director is now opening another company, possibly suggesting he wants to move the assets and declare insolvency. If so, I have to be quick.
                I will ask the redress scheme what is their policy when an expelled member re-surfaces as a new company.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Just an update,

                  I was able to get an order for enforcement of a letting agent redress scheme award, by completing form N322A and citing the relevant legislation of the Arbitration Act 1996, which allows to enforce an award.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    That's good to know - a process with which I am not familiar.

                    What happened as a result of the order?
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment

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