​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

​Responding to a writ for the levy of property 

A writ for the levy of property is​ a court order that directs the sheriff to take and sell some of your personal property. The money raised from the sale pays the judgment debt plus the costs paid by the other party to have the writ issued and carried out. 

    ​What happens when the court makes a writ for the levy of property? 

    The court will send a copy of the writ to the nearest sheriff's office and soon after a sheriff will come to your house. 

    For some people, the first time they find out there is a court claim against them is when the sheriff comes to their home. If you have never received any court papers before, or you don't know why the sheriff has come to enforce a judgment debt, you should call the courts call centre on 1300 679 272 to get a copy of the statement of claim. 

    If you don't agree that you owe the judgment debt, you can apply to have the judgment set aside. For more information, see Setting aside a default judgment​. 

    If you agree that you owe the money you can pay the debt in full or you can apply to pay the judgment debt by instalments to stop the enforcement. For more information, see Paying the judgment​.

    The sheriff will make a list of items and tag them. The sheriff should give you a notice, which includes the list of items seized. The sheriff usually doesn't take these tagged items straight away so you have a chance to do something to stop the sale of your items. However, the sheriff is now the lawful owner of the tagged goods. It is a criminal offence to get rid of them or damage them. 

    If you do nothing about the judgment debt, the sheriff will return and remove the tagged property to sell it. The sheriff will hold an auction to sell the tagged property and must take steps to make sure they get a fair price for the items they are selling.

    After the auction, the amount made in the sale will be paid towards the judgment debt and the sheriff's costs. If the amount made doesn't cover both, the sheriff will come back to your home and seize more items to sell until you have paid back the full amount owed. If there is any money left after the sale of your property, this money must be returned to you. 

    Handy hintIf you want to get legal advice, you should let the sheriff know. They may delay taking immediate action if they know you intend to get legal advice​.

    What can the sheriff take? 

    If you owe less than $10,000 the sheriff can only seize your personal property, such as TVs, stereos, furniture, appliances, money and cars. 

    The sheriff cannot take: 

    • ​​your land or home
    • anything that doesn't belong to you 
    • anything being rented 
    • anything on hire purchase payments 
    • clothes 
    • kitchen or bedroom furniture 
    • tools of trade, professional instruments or reference books worth less than $2,000. 

    Property that doesn't belong to you

    When the sheriff tags property, they will give you a notice to the custodian, which is a list of all the tagged items. 

    If the sheriff tags items that don't belong to you, tell the sheriff that they are not your property. The owner of the item needs to take action as soon as possible and should get legal advice​. 

    Even if someone other than you owns the tagged items, they can't take the items from your home. Moving, taking or selling tagged items can result in a criminal conviction and a fine of up to $5,500. 

    What you can do 

    To try and stop your property being taken and sold you can: 

    • ​Apply to the court for a stay of enforcement.
    • Pay the judgment debt in full. 
    • Apply to the court to pay by instalments.
    • Apply to the court to set aside a default judgment.

    Apply to the court for a stay of enforcement 

    If you need some time to borrow money or sell property to pay the judgment debt, you can apply to the court for a temporary order stopping the sheriff taking your property. This is called applying for a stay of enforcement, or a stay of proceedings.

    For more information see Stay of enforcement

    Pay the judgment debt

    You can pay the debt by giving the sheriff or the other party the amount of the writ in full including any court costs or fees. For more information, see Paying the judgment.

    If you cannot pay this amount in full, you could try to come to an arrangement with the other party as to how it will be paid. 

    For more information see, Negotiating after the judgment

    Apply to the court to pay by instalments

    The first time you apply to the court to pay the judgment debt by instalments, all enforcement action, including selling your property under a writ for levy of property, will automatically stop. 

    If you are making a second or later application to pay by instalments, you will also need to apply for a stay of enforcement to stop the sheriff from selling your property. 

    For more information, see Paying in instalments.  

    Apply to the court to set aside default judgment 

    If you did not file a defence and the other party got a default judgment against you, you can apply to the court to set aside the default judgment. In your application, you will need to explain to the court: 

    • ​why you did not file a defence within 28 days of receiving the statement of claim and
    • what your defence is to the claim. 

    For more information, see Setting aside a default judgment

    Costs

    You will notice that the amount owed will keep increasing depending on how far the sheriff has gone to try to sell your personal property. 

    When the sheriff first seizes your property, you will usually owe:

    • ​the judgment debt amount
    • any court and enforcement costs the other party has paid from the time of the judgment to the time of enforcement 
    • the sheriff's levy of 3% of the amount owed. 

    ​If the sheriff removes the tagged items from your home and starts preparing for the auction, the amount you owe will increase to cover the sheriff's costs for doing these things.