A Sheriff Search should be carried out in relation to a leasehold interest. Where a Judgment is obtained or monies are due to the Revenue Commissioners it may be lodged with Sheriff for execution. The Sheriff can seize the goods of a debtor excluding freehold property. Searches therefore should be carried out against leasehold property only, and, additionally the Sheriff only has power to seize goods if the property is used wholly or partly for the purposes of carrying on a business. Goods considered ‘available for seizure’ under Sheriff law must be the sole unencumbered property of the taxpayer and must be saleable.
Since the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 came into effect, there has been no need for Sheriff’s Office searches in relation to the purchase of wholly residential leasehold property.
There are two types of sheriffs: “Ordinary” Sheriffs and Revenue Sheriffs, and searches with both should be done in any instance when a Sheriff search is required. The Ordinary Sheriff is the County Registrar and is run by the Courts Services. The Revenue Sheriffs are government appointments. Currently there are 16 Revenue Sheriffs in Ireland. There are two in Dublin (city and county) and two in Cork (city and county), with a dozen more throughout the country, whose primary responsibility is to collect taxes on behalf of the collector general.
In Dublin and Cork the Revenue Sheriff is also the “Ordinary Sheriff”.