What this will mean for you
You and anyone living in the land or property can be evicted by the Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO) at any time after the date the Order was served by the EJO.
All goods and possessions will be removed (even in your absence) and you will have to pay EJO expenses before you can get them back. The property will then be secured and handed over to the owner.
What you can do
The options available to you are outlined below.
Comply with the Order
You can comply with the Order and voluntarily leave the premises, taking all your possessions with you. This will avoid further costs and expenses that you will be liable to pay. Costs are around £550 on average but can sometimes be substantially more.
The EJO will have already informed the Social Services in your area about the order to evict you from your home. You may also wish to contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) or a local Housing Association immediately to seek re-housing.
If you do not resolve this situation and EJO has to forcibly evict you from the property, the NIHE (or local Housing Association) are under no obligation to re-house you. However they may carry out a homeless assessment with you if you approach them.
Pay any arrears
If the court order is in respect of mortgage or rent arrears, you could pay these arrears in full and request that the possession order is withdrawn.
Contact your finance company or landlord
If you do not have the means to pay the rent or mortgage arrears in full you may wish to contact your finance company or landlord with a proposal to clear your arrears.
If an arrangement is agreed you should inform EJO immediately, enclosing written confirmation from the finance company or landlord. In such circumstances, further eviction action will be put on hold.
You may wish to seek further advice from either a solicitor or a welfare organisation such as the Housing Rights Service or Advice NI.
If the matter is not resolved
If the matter isn't resolved, it may lead to eviction. Without further notification, officers from EJO, supported by the Police and other resources if necessary, will arrive at your property.
If you are at your property at the time of the eviction, you will be allowed a short time to gather personal belongings and then you must leave the property.
If you have any valuables in the house you should tell the enforcement officer so they can be kept safe and properly recorded. EJO officers will then remove all your belongings and take them to a place of safety.
An eviction can take place even if you are not at home when EJO officers arrive.
The vacant property will then be secured (this will include changing locks) and handed over to the owner.
You should immediately contact EJO to advise where future correspondence should be sent.
Your belongings will be taken into storage and held for one calendar month from the date you were evicted. You may collect your goods from storage only after you pay the EJO costs for the eviction.
These costs are usually around £550 but can be substantially more. You should contact EJO to get the exact figure and payment can only be made by cash or bankers draft to EJO headquarters.
After one month you will be sent one more letter giving you a final seven days to arrange payment of costs to the EJO. After this your belongings will be disposed of.
Collecting your belongings
If you pay the costs at the EJO, you will be given a receipt. You can then arrange to collect your belongings from storage. Before receiving your belongings, you will have to produce your receipt to a store worker along with identification.
If you ask someone else to collect your belongings, you will need to inform the EJO of their details and they will also be required to produce your payment receipt their ID as well as a letter of authority signed by you.
You, or the person you have asked to collect your goods, will be asked to sign for the goods that have been returned.