No matter how hard we try to keep our finances in good order, there may be circumstances where debt seems to spiral out of control, and before we know it we can find ourselves in arrears with out debt repayments.There are many reasons why we find ourselves unable to manage – the breakdown of a marriage or partnership, or the death of a loved one can leave us struggling to pay a mortgage on our own.
Accidents or illness can prevent us from working, or we may have been made redundant. Sometimes large rises in the interest rate can take our mortgage repayments beyond what we thought we could afford.
If you do not keep up your mortgage repayments you are at risk of having your house repossessed.
There has to be a legal reason for you property to be repossessed. The most common reason is if you fall behind in your mortgage repayments, or loans secured on your house. In rare cases, it can also be because someone has a charging order secured following a County Court Judgement (CCJ).
If you have fallen behind with any payment do contact your lender to come to an arrangement about repaying the arrears. Whilst it can be very tempting to want to bury your head in the sand, don’t ignore ant letters or phone calls you receive from your lender. They will usually be able to come to an arrangement that will avoid repossession of your property.
The repossession process is as follows
After 2 or more months of missed mortgage repayments your bank or building society is entitled to start the repossession process. However, there debt department will usually try and contact you to determine the cause of the problem and arrange for the arrears to be cleared without resorting to court action. Be sure to keep notes of any new agreement you reach.
If the arrears remain unpaid for a few months more your lender or their solicitor will write to you to warn you they are going to start the repossession process through court action. They can then apply to the court for a repossession order.
The court will write to you to tell you when the hearing is to take place. This is called a summons. If you have not already done so, you should get some advice about what to do next. Make sure you reply to the court as failure to do may harm your case.
Make sure you attend the hearing as if you do not do so, the repossession will be declared unopposed and the judge will have almost no choice but to award a repossession order (sometimes called a repossession notice) against you.
At the court hearing, the judge will hear all the evidence from you and your lender before making a decision. There are a number of possible outcomes of the court case:-
- Case Dismissed – the repossession has been stopped, because the mortgage arrears have been paid off.
- Case Adjourned – if for whatever reason the case cannot be heard that day, then a new date will be set for a subsequent hearing.
- Suspended Possession Order – if you have agreed to pay the current regular monthly payments, along with an agreed amount towards the arrears each month. The judge has to be convinced that you can afford the payments, the possession order may be suspended. If however, you default on the agreed term if payment the lender has the right to seek possession by eviction or possession warrant without a further hearing.
- Repossession Order – This will enable the lender to take repossession of property after the repossession order date, usually within 28 days.This decision is more likely of the judge finds that you have made no attempt to make contact with the lender or the court, or where the judge thinks you will be unable to afford the payments schedule you have suggested.
If you have defaulted on the payments agreed in the Suspended Repossession Order, or you have not moved out of the property after the Repossession Order date has elapsed, the lender can apply for a Warrant of Eviction Notice. You will receive a letter, informing you that you have vacate the property, usually this is 7 or 14 days. On the date specified a Bailiff will arrive to take possession.
How we can help you to stop the repossession process
In most cases we can help you to stop the repossession process. Our legal team can act quickly, with a deal that will pay off your mortgage and any secured loans, with a quick cash sale to give you a fresh start.