What are your house repossession rights?
Being aware of what you can and can’t do puts you in a position of power. As the homeowner, you have choices to make at every stage of the repossession process. If you don’t ask for help, you won’t get it, and every stage represents a good opportunity to put things right.
First off, your mortgage lender will write to you asking you to pay your arrears. Here’s your first opportunity; take advantage of your house repossession rights and respond honestly, setting the rescue process in place.
If you ignore the lender’s letter or they’re unhappy about your response, they’ll write to warn you of impending legal action. This letter is called a Notice of Intended Prosecution and it’s your second opportunity to work things out reasonably between you. If your lender is still not satisfied, they can apply to court for a possession order at this stage, so this is a valuable opportunity.
If your lender has applied to the court for possession to the court, the court will send you written details of the lender’s claim, and your court hearing date. These letters always include a form, your third opportunity; fill in and send back the form. If you’re close to selling your home the court needs to know – they might be able to delay the hearing and buy you more time.
Just before your hearing, you’ll get an Affidavit, a legal document containing the lender’s claim details in full, terms and conditions, the money you owe, payment details and the interest rate.
There will normally be three people at your hearing; you, the judge and the lender’s solicitor. The judge will hear full details from both sides before deciding what to do. Use your house repossession rights! Here’s your fourth opportunity to rescue your home. Now’s the time when the judge gives you the chance to pay what you owe, or suggest new ways to repay it.
If the court adjourns (delays) your hearing, they usually delay for four weeks. Another important aspect of your repossession rights, this gives you a golden chance to sell your home yourself and make the most money possible. If you’ve already begun the sales process it’ll help your case, for example if you’ve had a cash offer for your house.
Opportunity 6… your last chance
Suspended repossession, where you agree to repay your arrears to a specific schedule, is your sixth opportunity. If you can make the repayments on time and in full, you stand a chance of hanging onto your home using your house repossession rights.
If the judge eventually decides to agree repossession, the court will set a date for you to leave your home. If you miss this or refuse to go, the lender will apply for a bailiff’s warrant. Then the bailiffs will write to tell you the eviction date… and there’s no negotiating with bailiffs.
You have house repossession rights. Used wisely, they can save your home. Visit HMCS website (Her Majesty’s Court Services) at hmcourts-service.co.uk for more information and full details of your repossession legal rights.
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