4. Issues relating to Bailiff
The Bailiff is a public officer empowered to execute the order or judgment of a Court or Tribunal. After the plaintiff has obtained a court order or judgment, and if the opponent does not comply, the plaintiff may, depending on the nature of the case, apply for enforcement by the Bailiff.
Particularly relevant to the landlord and tenant context, the Bailiff can take appropriate steps to try to recover judgment debts or to deliver possession of premises.
(a) Execution of a Writ of Fieri Facias or Warrant of Distress
A Writ of Fieri Facias is used to enforce a judgment or order for the payment of money by seizure of goods, chattels or other property of the judgment debtor.
A Warrant of Distress is used, where the landlord has filed distress proceedings in the District Court, for the seizure and sale of goods, chattels or other property found in a rented premises to satisfy the arrears of rent.
On the date of execution of either of these writs, a Bailiff, together with a security guard, will visit the subject premises.
If there are sufficient goods and chattels on the premises to justify a seizure, the Bailiff will seize them up to the amount endorsed on the writ, plus the estimated costs of the execution. The applicant needs to give an undertaking to pay the necessary costs involved in effecting a seizure, otherwise the seizure will be withheld and treated as unsuccessful.
(b) Execution of a Writ of Possession
A Writ of Possession can be applied for to regain possession of land or premises.
The Bailiff will first go to the premises and serve a Notice to Quit for the occupant to vacate the premises in 7 days. The Bailiff will review the situation after a lapse of 7 days before proceeding to execution.
If the premises is still occupied, the Bailiff will proceed to the Writ of Possession on a scheduled date. If the Bailiff cannot enter the premises, a locksmith may be called upon to break into the premises.
The applicant should, if possible, accompany the Bailiff to go to the subject premises to carry out execution of the writ.
The applicant will have to pay:-
(a) a filing fee for the writ of the execution;
(b) a deposit for the Bailiff’s travelling expenses; and
(c) a deposit for the services by the security guard.
Irrespective of whether the execution is successful, the Bailiff’s expenses and the security guard service fees are to be deducted from the deposits for each attempt at execution. The more attempts are made, the more costs will be incurred. The costs the applicant incur may only have recovered if the execution is successful and the payment of the defendant or the proceeds of the sale of goods and chattels are enough to cover the judgment debt plus the costs incurred.
You can visit the Judiciary website for more details about the Bailiff.