Information for debtors

Enforcement means the judicial collection of debts. Initiating enforcement proceedings requires the creditor to apply to the district court for a judgment concerning the debt, after which the creditor can apply for enforcement.

Some debts, such as taxes, fines or insurance premiums are directly enforceable, so their enforcement can be requested directly from the enforcement authority.

When a debt enters enforcement proceedings, the enforcement authority usually sends a notification to the debtor, indicating the debt that is to be collected and informing the debtor of the contact details of the enforcement officer in charge of the matter. The notification also contains an exhortation to contact the enforcement officer and, where necessary, an advance notice of forthcoming garnishment or distraint measures.

A demand for payment is sent to the debtor in addition to the enforcement notification. If the debtor pays their debt by the due date of the demand for payment, no entry will be made in the enforcement register. Neither will the enforcement authority take measures to search for the debtor’s assets.

What happens if the debt is not paid

If the debtor does not repay the debt, they should contact the enforcement officer in charge of the matter. The task of the enforcement officer is to find assets belonging to the debtor in order to secure payment to the creditor. The enforcement authorities have broad access rights to information for the performance of their duties. Enforcement officers can search for assets by means such as making information requests to various registers. The enforcement officer can also conduct an enforcement inquiry of the debtor, in which the debtor must give truthful information about their financial situation. (see the link “Debtors are obliged to provide information”). If garnishable income or distrainable assets are found, they will be garnished or distrained.

Debtors can view their enforcement matters in the electronic enforcement service. In the service, debtors can make payments on their debts, print certain enforcement documents, apply for payment-free months and other relief from the garnishment of income, and update their information.

Debtors are obliged to provide information

The debtor can also be subjected to an enforcement inquiry, in which the debtor must provide comprehensive information on both current and previously owned assets. The debtor can be obliged to provide the information under threat of a fine. Giving false information or hiding information in an enforcement inquiry is a crime. The debtor can be summoned to attend the enforcement inquiry. If the debtor does not comply with the summons, the enforcement officer can compel them to attend under threat of a fine or ask the police to fetch the debtor.

Persons who have the debtor’s assets in their possession or who have made agreements with the debtor concerning their assets are also obliged to provide the required information on the debtor’s income, assets and contact details. The enforcement officer can oblige such persons to provide the information under threat of a fine. The enforcement authorities are also entitled to obtain such information from authorities and entities that perform public tasks.

The enforcement officer has the right to seize evidence necessary for establishing the debtor’s distrainable assets, such as agreements, bills of sale and the accounting materials of debtors obliged to keep accounts.

When searching for distrainable assets, the enforcement officer has the right to have doors and locks opened, as well as to enter residential properties, storage rooms and other comparable places. The enforcement officer can request executive assistance from the police to carry out the enforcement.

Published 12.12.2020