What types of enforcement action can a creditor use?

If the court issues a decree, a creditor can take a number of actions against a customer.

Types of enforcement open to creditors, include:

  • Arrestment of earnings – your employer will receive an arrestment schedule from your creditor instructing them to deduct money from your wages until the debt has been repaid.
  • Bank arrestment – the creditor can arrest your bank, building society or credit union account. Your money will be frozen and removed at this point and you will not be able to make withdrawals or make other payments.
  • Other arrestments – creditors can arrest goods which are in the hands of a third party and they can also arrest other assets e.g. your rights under life assurance policies.
  • Summary warrant – if you owe money to a local authority or HM Revenue & Customs they will issue you with a final notice. If you do nothing, they can apply to the court for a summary warrant. A 10% charge may be automatically added to your debt when a summary warrant is granted. Local authorities may allow you to negotiate a debt repayment plan and you can apply to the court for a time to pay order, the latter option is not available if you owe money to HMRC.
  • Eviction from your home – if you have stopped paying your rent, mortgage or a loan which is secured against property, a creditor can ask the court for you to be evicted or for your home to be repossessed.
  • Attachment – a creditor may instruct a Sheriff Officer to attach items you own which are kept outside your home. Once attached you cannot do anything with these items and these items can be sold to help pay off your debts.
  • Inhibition against your home – this will stop you from selling or transferring ownership or taking out other loans secured against your home.
  • Bankruptcy – a creditor can petition the Sheriff Court to make you bankrupt, if you owe then at least £3,000 (including interest and charges) and they have sent you a Debt Advice and Information Pack.