Below is a general outline as to the process to go through in order to stop repossession of your property.
In fact there is no such thing as “Re” Possession this is a term that has developed from the term Possession Order. This is because the lender never had possession of the property, you always have. You purchased a property and in order to get the money to buy it, you granted the lender a Mortgage which gives them the security that if you do not pay the loan back, they can in turn take possession of the property to recover the loan that they gave you.
Your lender can legally take action against you when you are in two or more months in arrears with your mortgage or secured loan. Most lenders will not commence proceedings until you are in 6+ months of arrears and the first stage of the process is to receive a polite letter from the lender saying you seem to have missed a Mortgage payment. The lender will normally be quite laid back and you might conclude that there is little pressure to respond. This is because the lender knows in most cases their “debt” is safe because they have the security of the Mortgage.
Once proceedings are commenced the lender will normally instruct a Solicitor to act for them and they will write to you as well as explaining that you are in arrears and they have been instructed to commence “Possession Proceedings”. At this stage, to stop repossession, you can of course contact the Solicitor and try and make a proposal to clear the arrears but we are finding more and more that Lenders and their Solicitors are asking for a lump sum towards the arrears. At this point we have to be very aware that the Lenders Solicitor is acting for the Lender and not for you. They are not there to advise you, they will not give you legal advice, and they are effectively debt collectors. They have no interest in your personal circumstances only that you can ideally pay either the full arrears or a large lump sum towards them to stop repossession of your property.
If agreement cannot be reached with either the lender or their Solicitor then you will receive a “Claim for Possession of Property” from the court. This will give you a date and time of a “First Court Hearing” at which the lender will seek to secure an “Outright Possession Order” This would mean you would get a date and time to leave the property from the court and give “Possession” to the lender. Most people do not leave on this day and this day and this when the lender can apply to the court for an “Eviction Date” – This is the appointment when the Court Bailiff will attend the property and change the locks, effectively removing you from the property. When this happens you will have 14 days from the date of the Eviction to remove your belongings or they may be cleared at your cost.
The most important thing to do when trying to stop repossession is always attend the “First Court Hearing” and explain why payments are in arrears and why you should be given a chance to stay in the property and indeed if you can demonstrate affordability and plan to clear the arrears in a “reasonable time” then it is likely that the court will grant a “Suspended Possession Order” (SPO) this means that as long as you pay your Normal Monthly Mortgage, which is known as the “Contractual Monthly Instalment” (CMI) along with an amount towards the arrears then the Lender or their Solicitor will not be able to ask the court to issue a “Warrant of Eviction”
As far as the time frame to clear your arrears is concerned legally you have up to the remaining term on your mortgage but this is dependent on your disposable income, your employment details and your general circumstances, also if you have equity in the property this can assist you in successfully securing a “Suspended Possession Order” to stop repossession.
Once you have a “Suspended Possession Order” in place it is vital that you keep up the payments promised in court as otherwise the Lender or their Solicitor can “Apply to the Court for a Warrant of Eviction” and this is where the Lenders Solicitor will write to the court and explain that you have “Defaulted on the Suspended Possession Order” and ask the court to “Issue an Eviction Notice”.
If you are at this stage then hope is not lost as this can happen for a number of reasons that are not always your fault, such as paying a few days late, or the Lenders systems being slow to process your payment. You may have fallen ill and not been able to work. Maybe your income has dropped due to a reduction in hours. Maybe you have split up with your partner and this has complicated the issue. Or maybe and what is very common is that you have simply offered too high an amount towards the arrears which you now realise is not affordable.
In this situation, to stop repossession, you would need to complete an N244 Application Notice and submit it to the court with £40, this is the fee that the court charge. The court will re-list the case and you will have the chance to present your case again to the court and to the Judge.
There can be many complexities involved with this and it is always prudent to take advice. The court can be a daunting place and whilst in some courts there is support available in most now due to the cuts in “Legal Aid Funding” there are not. So it is well worth checking with the court if they have any “Duty Solicitors” or if the “Citizens Advice Bureau” have someone based at the court.
If you need professional help to stop repossession Lender & Court Services Ltd can help we are all experienced lawyers in stopping repossession and ensuring that you avoid eviction. We can also provide qualified Court Representation top ensure that your case is properly prepared and presented to the Court and the Judge.
Indeed we can offer the service at any stage of the process we are happy to give “Free Advice” and explain what you need to go by yourself for Free but if you want us to do the work for you we charge a modest fee depending on the complexity of your case.