In these days of running a business from home, here is a cautionary tale for business owners, credit teams, and sales teams, and our community of MCOL users.  We all want more business, but increasingly we are trading with customers we have never met, and who look more substantial than they really are.  This also means we are also entering county court judgments (CCJs) against customers who we don’t know perhaps as well as we should.

Take the example of this Ventilation company – the name sounded impressive and suggested a company far bigger than its premises suggested.  Here is the front of the registered office ….

Whilst running a business from a home is perfectly OK, it does create some problems when you have to enforce a CCJ against your debtor.  If using a Writ of Control to compel payment, unless the debtor lets the agent in or leaves the door open, we won’t be able to take legal control of any goods in this type of registered office, which is actually a residential property.  This immediately reduces the power of the High Court Enforcement Officer who cannot force entry to a private address.  We may be able to take legal control of a company van or car on the drive or parked outside on the road but it’s not the same as entering a commercial property and not as straightforward.

So, a few things you can do to put yourself in a better position:

  • When a new customer comes on the books take steps to check the name of the customer, and the address – we can help on this if you need to dig deeper!
  • Check out the address on Google – you’d be surprised what you can find out about the address before you even start to do business – do you like what you see? Are you dealing with the substantial business you expected or something more like a home office?
  • Make it a term of your contract that the director or directors sign a personal guarantee as part of your contract. In this way if you can’t get to company assets then the director’s own assets are available for enforcement
  • Again, if you do rely on a personal guarantee – check out where the guarantor lives – and find out if they own their own house (so you can secure a CCJ on the property if it all gets messy)

Do you wake up every morning hoping your children stay safe at school?

‘HOPE’ is NOT a viable strategy for keeping your children safe at school!


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