Your Repossession Rights
Know Your Legal Rights When Facing Repossession Court
The first stage of the repossession process involves your mortgage lender writing to you asking you to pay your mortgage arrears or to arrange to pay the arrears over a certain time period.
If you do not respond to this letter, or they are not happy with your response they will write to you again warning you that they intend to take you to court. This letter is called a Notice of Intended Prosecution. They can then apply to your local court for a possession order.
It is important you do not ignore these letters. This is the stage where you are most likely to be able to come to an agreement with your lender – either to spread the cost of the arrears you owe, or if you can not afford to do this then give you some extra time to sell your house yourself giving you the best chance of getting the most money for your home.
You must think carefully about your situation and make a plan of action. If that plan involves selling your home quickly to a cash buyer in order to pay off your mortgage without going though the repossession process – then we can help. What’s more if you have any equity in your home you will have cash left over after completion of the sale, to do with as you please. We do not charge you any fees for this service.
Legal Rights and Advice for The 2nd Stage ‘Court Summons
Once your lender has made an application for possession to the court, the court will write to you with the basic details of the lenders claim and a date when the case will be heard in court. The letter will include a reply form, it is very important that you complete and return this form. If you are in the process of selling your home to repay your mortgage you should advise the courts of this – they may be able to delay the repossession court hearing.
Nearer the time of the repossession hearing you will receive an ‘affidavit’ – this is a legal document which contains all the details of the claim, the outstanding balance, payment details, interest rates and any other terms and conditions.
For more information and to download PDF copies of the court forms visit the HMCS website (Her Majesty’s Court Services) www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk
Legal Rights and Advice for The 3rd Stage ‘The Court Hearing’
At the repossession hearing normally the only people present will be the judge, the lenders solicitor and yourself. The judge will listen to the evidence from the solicitor and listen to what you have to say before making any decisions. The judge will give you the chance to pay back the arrears, to suggest an alternative way to repay your mortgage – for example selling you house yourself quickly. The court sees a repossession as a last resort so you should explore all your options. At the hearing the judge will decide either to:-
This means stop the court action on the grounds that your lender has no case against you. This will happen if by the date of your court hearing you have repaid the outstanding arrears or in some cases if you can prove you have an agreed sale for the property which can repay all the mortgage.
This means delay the case until an later date, usually 4 weeks. This is to give you chance to sell your house yourself if for instance you committed to doing so, it will help your case if you can show the judge that you have started this process – for example have a cash offer for your house.
- A Suspended Repossession Order
This is an agreement that is reached between you and the mortgage lender to repay the arrears, usually by installments. However this is still a type of repossession order, so if you do not keep to your agreed payment plan the lender can obtain a bailiffs warrant to evict you without any further court hearings. Read more about suspended repossession.
- A Possession Order
Repossess your house and set a date for eviction, this is typically a 28 day or a 56 day possession order, after which point if you have not left the property the lender can apply to the court for a bailiffs warrant.
If you are facing a repossession court hearing and you have no way to pay the arrears then it is a good idea to consider selling you house quickly yourself. If you start this process before the court hearing the judge will normally allow you to continue with the sale providing you are able to sell your house quickly.
We specialise in buying property quickly for cash to help people avoid a repossession.
Legal Rights and Advice for The 4th Stage ‘The Repossession’
If the judge decides that your home is to be repossessed and makes a possession order in favour of the mortgage lender, the court order will set a date for you to leave. If you have not left by that date, your lender will apply to the court for a bailiff’s warrant. The bailiffs will write to tell you when the eviction is to take place, and when they come, they can remove you from your home. Please note: There is no negotiating with bailiffs; they just do their job and evict the debtor.
After you have been evicted, the lender will sell the property to recover their money. They will usually put your house up for auction with no, or a little reserve. It is unlikely the house will fetch a reasonable price, as property sold at auction usually sells for much less than it is really worth. If you owe more on your mortgage than the house sells for you will still owe the lender money. For this reason is it strongly advised by most legal professionals and repossession experts that, if you are able to you should sell your house yourself to ensure you get the best price.