Area of Law: Small Claims Court
Answer # 569
Seizure and sale of debtor's personal propertyRegion: Ontario Answer # 569
If there is a court judgment that says you are owed money, and the debtor refuses to pay, you may be able to recover the debt by selling the debtor’s personal property. To do so, you will need to obtain a Writ of Seizure and Sale of Personal Property, which is a form stamped and signed by the clerk of the court and sent to a bailiff. There is a small fee for this.
Examples of property that can be sold are cars, government bonds, some equipment, furniture, or jewelry. However, not all property can be sold to collect a debt. Up-to a certain amount, property exempt from sale may include:
- household furniture, utensils, equipment, food and fuel;
- tools and instruments used in the debtor’s business; and
- one motor vehicle worth less than the specified amount.
Obtaining a Writ of Seizure and Sale of Personal Property
Collecting a debt through seizure and sale of the debtor’s property is an eight step process:
1. Complete an Affidavit for Enforcement Request. You will need to describe the details of the court order you are enforcing and how much money is still owed.
2. Complete the Writ of Seizure and Sale of Personal Property form.
3. Complete a list of the property you want to seize and sell by using the Direction to Enforce Writ of Seizure and Sale of Personal Property form.
4. File only the Affidavit and the Writ in the court where you obtained your judgment. Court staff will issue the Writ (by signing it) and return the original to you to file in the enforcement office.
5. File the issued Writ and the Direction to Enforce Writ at the enforcement office. The detailed information on the Direction to Enforce Writ form will allow the enforcement staff to locate and seize the specific property.
6. Pay an enforcement fee and a deposit to the enforcement office to cover the anticipated expenses to enforce the Writ. These may include costs for such things as freight, insurance, locksmith, storage, mileage and advertising of the sale of the goods seized.
7. Enforcement staff will seize and store the items until a public auction is held, at which time the goods will be sold.
8. The enforcement office will calculate the net amount of proceeds from the sale and the funds will be deposited with the court. After which, the net proceeds will be distributed to the creditors who initiated the enforcement process.
All forms may be obtained at the Small Claims Court office or online from the Ministry of the Attorney General, Rules of the Small Claims Court Forms.
Once a Writ of Seizure and Sale of Personal Property is issued, it is valid for six years. If property has not been seized and sold within that time, you will need to request that it be renewed before the first one expires. The renewal will also be valid for six years.
If you are unsure about how to have a debtor’s property sold, the staff at the court office may provide you with additional information.
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For legal advice and assistance with any Small Claims Court matter, contact our preferred experts, George Brown Professional Corporation .
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