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Writ for the Levy of P​​​​roperty - Frequently Asked Questions 


1. Can all the​​​ judgment d​ebtor's property be taken and sold? 

The sheriff can take any items at the judgment debtor's home, including furniture and cars, except for:

  • any items that don't belong to the debtor;
  • any items being rented;
  • any items on hire purchase/monthly payments;
  • clothes;
  • kitchen or bedroom furniture;
  • tools of trade, which may include things like some vehicles, professional instruments and reference books up to the value of $2,000.


2. What happe​ns if the judgment​ debtor doesn't have anything that can be sold?


If the sheriff goes to the judgment debtor's house and doesn't find anything that can be sold, you can apply to have the writ sent back to the sheriff for another execution attempt.

You will have to pay the sheriff $82.00 (as at 1 July 2016) each time the sheriff tries to execute the writ. The sheriff takes this fee from the money raised after the sheriff sells the judgment debtor's goods.

Check the list of current court fees on the Local Courts website.

​​

3. What if some of the​ items seized by the sheriff belong to someone else?


After the sheriff has seized (identified) items at the judgment debtor's home, the sheriff will give the judgment debtor a Notice to the Custodian. This Notice has a list of all the seized items attached. There may be some disputed items on the list. These disputed items could belong to friends or family members of the judgment debtor.

It is up to the owner of the disputed items to contact the sheriff and tell the sheriff that the items don't belong to the judgment debtor. The owner will need to prove that they own the disputed items.

The sheriff will give you this evidence and you have 4 days to decide if you want the sheriff to sell the disputed items or give them back to the owner.

If you tell the sheriff to sell the disputed items the sheriff will apply to court, using an 'Interpleader Motion', and ask the court to decide whether the sheriff should give the disputed items back or sell them.

If this situation happens to you, you should get legal advice. ​


4. What happens if the judg​ment debtor won't let the sheriff in?


If the sheriff can't execute the writ, the sheriff will send you a Notice of Non-levy, explaining why the sheriff didn't seize any goods.

You then may apply to the court for a Notice of Motion with orders allowing the sheriff and police to use force to enter the judgment debtor's house.

If this situation happens to you, you should get legal advice. ​


5. What if the money ma​de from selling the seized goods doesn't cover the whole debt?


If the sale of the first lot of seized goods doesn't make enough money to cover the whole of the debt, you can send the Sheriff back to the judgment debtor's house to seize more items for sale. You can also try other types of enforcement.

For more information on other types of enforcement, see Enforcing a Judgment Debt. ​


6. What can be done if the​​ judgment debtor gives all their items of value away?


If the judgment debtor gives all their items of value away before the sheriff seizes the items, there is very little that you can do. You could pay an extra fee and ask the sheriff to execute the writ again within the 12 months that the writ is valid, to see if there is anything to seize.

If the judgment debtor gives all their items of value away after the sheriff has listed them for sale, the judgment debtor has committed an offence and may have to pay a penalty of $5,500 for 'interfering with seized goods'.

You may wish to consider other types of enforcement action. For more information, see Enforcing a Judgment Debt


7. What happens if the judgment debtor pays the money back at the last minute, before their things are s​​old?


The judgment debtor can choose to repay the debt at anytime before the sheriff auctions their goods but they will still have to pay all the costs that you have spent chasing the debt.