A bailiff is required when there is a possession order which has ordered the defendant(s) to give possession of a property to the claimant and the deadline for doing so has passed. It is unlawful for any unauthorised person to enforce a possession order, it must be a bailiff.

In some cases, where a possession order is granted it may be sought that the court provides permission to the transfer the case to the high court which would then enable the claimant (landlord) to use a High Court Enforcement Officer.
The default tenancy is an assured short hold tenancy (“AST”), section 5 of the Housing Act 1988 which applies to AST’s provides that a tenancy does not come to an end by the possession order, but the execution of the possession order, a bailiff is the person authorized to execute a possession order under a warrant or writ.

What is the difference between a county court bailiff and high court enforcement officer?

In broad sense, a high court enforcement officer has more powers than that of a county court bailiff such as how they may gain entry to a property, the fundamental difference however which makes HCEO’s appealing to landlords is that they carry out eviction in most cases substantially quicker than a county court bailiff.

A HCEO operates under the authority of a writ where a county court bailiff operates under the authority of a warrant. In some cases, a HCEO may enforce the landlords right of forfeiture if instructed to do so in which case a writ would not be required from the court. There are different rules in relation to evictions and debt recovery for residential and commercial premises.

pre-action protocol for private landlords
Possession claim procedure for eviction

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