Are CCJ’s Against Tenants Registered?
The Registry Trust Ltd is contracted to the Ministry of Justice to maintain the public register of County Court Judgements (and other orders and fines) for England and Wales, this enables other credit reference agencies, such as Experian, to update their data and provide credit checks.
Although many County Court Judgements (CCJ’S) are registered with the Registry Trust Ltd, certain judgements are not, which means there are many debtors who can pass credit checks, without a previous CCJ made against them showing.
Under The Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines Regulations 2005, a CCJ‘s obtained through possession proceedings will not be registered with The Registry Trust Ltd. The consequence is that when carrying out credit checks on prospective tenants, there can be no certainty as to whether the report is accurate where previous CCJ‘s are concerned.
The Register of Judgements Orders and Fines Regulations 2005 (“the Regulations”) consolidate the Register of County Court Judgements Regulations 1985 (SI 1985 No. 1807 as amended by 1990/491, 1990/768, 1991/1815, 1993/710 and 1993/2173) and the Register of Fines Regulations 2003 (SI 2003 No.3184). The new Regulations also add some new provisions. The new Regulations were amended by the The Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines (Amendment) Regulations 2009.
To assist with the better identification of individual registered debtors, in June 2005, the Civil Procedure Rule Committee agreed new civil procedure rules for the collection of a defendant’s date of birth by the courts in anticipation of the new Regulations. The new rules were published in October 2005.
Regulation 8 of the Regulations provides that every money judgement made in the County Court or High Court must be registered, subject to Regulation 9. The list of money judgements that shall be registered are set out in Regulation 9, and are referred to as “exempt judgements”. One the many judgements that shall not be registered is:
“an order for the payment of money arising from an action for the recovery of land (whether for costs, payments due under a mortgage, arrears of rent, or otherwise), until the creditor takes any step to enforce the order under Part 70 of the 1998 Rules”
So, are CCJ’s against tenants registered? – If the judgement is made within possession proceedings, such as where a possession order is sought at the same time as a judgement for unpaid rent, the CCJ is not registered.
The only judgements that are registered are judgements that
We believe reform is need in relation to the registration of county court judgements obtained in possession proceedings.
The threat to register county court judgements obtained in possession proceedings is potentially a powerful sanction because of the impact it would have on the tenants ability to obtain credit as well as landlords and agents being able to obtain accurate information regarding previous CCJ‘s when considering letting to prospective tenants.
The existing scheme for registration of county court judgements provides a model for the registration of fines. That scheme is self-financing: the cost of registration is covered by the fees charged to credit rating companies and the public to search the register. Although there might be an initial cost in training court staff to use the new system, this would be recovered from the fees charged. the development of courts IT support may also be required which was required when the last registration of judgements scheme was created though eventually self-financing.
The cost of setting up and running the fine registration scheme in 2005 was estimated as follows:
Development of courts IT support – £100,250
Annual running costs (including Registrar’s staff) – £237,750 per annum
The above may come as a surprise to landlord and agents, most of whom will have expected county court judgements obtained in possession proceedings proceedings against tenants to be registered with credit reference agencies.