What Is a Distress Warrant?

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An officer of the law serves a distress warrant issued by the court for nonpayment of a debt. If payment is not made after receiving a distress warrant, then personal goods can be seized.


A landlord can have a distress warrant issued and served to a tenant for nonpayment of rent. The landlord has the right to take possession of a tenants goods in exchange for default on the rent. The city or county treasurer can have a law officer serve a distress warrant to an individual or business for delinquent personal property taxes.


To refrain from having a distress warrant issued, voluntary payment or a payment plan can be set up to pay the debt. If debts are not paid in the allotted time, the debt may be referred to a private collection agency. A private collection agency is a privately owned company hired to collect a debt. Additional fees can be added to the debt by the collection agency.


If the debt is not paid by voluntary payment, a payment plan or to the collection agency, an officer of the law will serve a court ordered distress warrant. If the debt is still outstanding after the selected period of time, the law can seize and sell personal property to satisfy the debt.


About the Author

Billie Abbott is a freelance writer, producing articles for numerous websites, including ParentDish and Gadling. She specializes in topics about gardening, animals, parenting and travel.

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  • apartment in shade image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com