What is an enforcement order?

You have received an enforcement order – and now you are worried and have many questions: What does this mean for me? Here, we explain what an enforcement order is, how this could come about, and what you have to do now.

Contents: In a nutshell:
What is an enforcement order?
  • An enforcement order is a court document on the basis of which your possessions can be impounded.
Why am i receiving an enforcement order?
  • You have failed to settle an account and ignored the default summons issued by a court of law.
I have received an enforcement order. What do i do now?
  • Check and settle the account – or you can lodge an objection in the case of an error.
What happens if i do not pay an enforcement order?
  • You run the risk of your bank account(s) being frozen/having monies removed and assets being impounded. 

1. The enforcement order: What is it?

An enforcement order is a so-called enforcement instrument – this is the starting point for foreclosure.

2. Why am I receiving an enforcement order?

Many things must already have happened before an enforcement order is issued: If a consumer fails to settle an account, the creditor can apply for a so-called default summons to a court of law. This default summons is served on the consumer. If the consumer does not lodge an objection against this default summons within a period of two weeks, the creditor can request an enforcement order. The creditor has a period of six months – counting from the date of the service of the default summons - to do that. Just like the default summons, the enforcement order is also served on the consumer.



3. Who serves an enforcement order?

The enforcement order is served by the local court. The letter is always served either via mail or by a bailiff.

4. What do I do after I have received an enforcement order?

First, you should check whether you really owe the amount in the enforcement order. If that is the case, you should pay the account – or contact the creditor to conclude a payment agreement.

Even if you cannot pay the full amount immediately: It is still important to contact the creditor and sort out the matter. Ignoring it or burying your head in the sand does not help here. Otherwise, you are at risk of foreclosure – and your possessions might be foreclosed.

If you think that you do not have to pay this account, you can lodge an objection within a period of 14 days as of the date of service of the enforcement order. In this case, a court hearing is held, and the court decides whether or not the claim is justified. Before you actually take this step: Check your documents in detail to determine whether the outstanding claim is really justified. Moreover, court proceedings also lead to costs which you also have to assume in addition, should you be made liable to pay the amount due.


If you do not lodge an objection within a period of 14 days, the enforcement order becomes legally effective. As a result, it is no longer possible to contest the account.

5. For how long is an enforcement order valid? And how long does it take until enforcement?

An enforcement order is valid for, at least, 30 years. This means that creditors can use this order to ensure foreclosure and demand money from you for a period of 30 years.

6. What happens if I do not pay after receiving an enforcement order?

Then, a bailiff might visit you – and impound your assets. The creditor can also have accounts or even income from work and pensions attached. If you own real estate property, it can be foreclosed. This is because the enforcement order gives creditors comprehensive rights to obtain the outstanding money owed.

7. Which court has competence for an enforcement order?

The local courts have exclusive competence for the judicial dunning procedure – regardless of the amount in dispute. A central dunning court has been established for every German state.

8. When does an enforcement order become legally effective?

If you do not lodge an objection within a period of 14 days after the enforcement order is served on you, it becomes legally effective. This has the following consequences: 

  • The claim has been legally determined.
  • You cannot lodge an objection and, as a result, object to the claim anymore.

In a nutshell: There is no getting around it – you will have to pay the account.

The enforcement order was not served correctly, or you have missed the 14-day deadline through no fault of your own? In this case, it is advisable to consult a lawyer.

9. Conclusion

The enforcement order gives creditors the possibility to obtain the outstanding money – they can have your assets or, e.g., your accounts, garnished. And they have that possibility for, at least, 30 years.

However, you have several options to respond before an enforcement order is issued. Do not let that happen! If you have already received an enforcement order, you have 14 days to object as of the date of its service. In this case, a court hearing is scheduled.

If you have missed the objection period through no fault of your own, you should contact a lawyer.

10. What does Paigo do in the event of an enforcement order?

At Paigo, we are always interested in finding a solution which helps all parties involved. An enforcement order is the final option for us to secure the claim if we cannot reach an agreement. We would like to prevent this unpleasant situation for you and hope that we can find a good solution for both sides before this happens – for the creditor(s), as well as for you, as the consumer/debtor.