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Avoiding repossession

The number of people whose homes are repossessed is rising. However, the good news is that most mortgage possession claims do not result in the owner losing their home. If you have concerns about repossession, there are organisations who can guide you towards the right course of action for you, your home and your family.

I’m facing house repossession – what can I do?

If you fall behind on rent or mortgage repayments even by a couple of months, the landlord or mortgage company may take action to reclaim the property. This can seem like a frightening experience so it’s very important to stay calm and seek professional advice.

Notification by post

Usually, you will receive a claim form in the post from the landlord or lender. Don’t delay opening anything that looks official. The letter will have details about a hearing at your local county court. Lots of information could be included with the claim such as:

- a description of the property to be recovered, if you have a mortgage details of whether it is regulated under the Consumer Credit Act 2006
- an outline of the state of your account
- an outline of any previous attempts to repossess the property
- the details of what the landlord/lender is seeking – this could be possession of the property and payment of all monies outstanding under the mortgage

The claim form will be accompanied by a form of defence (N11M). If possible you should complete the N11M within 14 days. This form is reasonably straightforward and gives you an opportunity to explain your circumstances, why you are in arrears and what you will do to resolve the situation – you can state here how much you think you can afford to pay towards the arrears.

Do I have to attend court?

We would advise you to attend the court hearing, even if you have replied to the claim form. Some people may be intimidated by the idea of appearing before a judge – in reality it’s an opportunity for you to submit your payment proposal privately. There will only be the district judge and the solicitor for the landlord/lender present in the room with you.

If the district judge believes your offer is reasonable he or she might grant a suspended possession order.

This means that you will be able to stay in your home providing you continue to pay the ongoing rent/mortgage plus the agreed amount towards your arrears. If you don’t comply with the terms of the suspended possession order the lender can apply for an “Eviction Warrant” without further court action.

Once an eviction warrant is in force the court bailiffs will set a date to visit your property and ensure that it has been vacated.

What if I can’t pay my rent/mortgage?

If the court does not consider that you can realistically afford to clear the arrears, it is likely that they will make a possession order, usually effective in 28 days. If this happens and if you want to stay in your home, it is very important to contact your debt advisor for further assistance.

If your circumstances change and you feel in a position to retrieve the situation and halt the repossession, you have the right to apply to court at any time before the eviction. You need to be sure about this and will have to convince the judge of your ability to pay.

More information

Mortgage arrears

This section of our site is coming soon...

Mortgage support

This section of our site is coming soon...

Support when facing homelessness

This section of our site is coming soon...

If you’re concerned by mortgage arrears or house repossession, take action now and seek advice straight away.

Need to talk someone in confidence?

Call Police Care UK on 0300 012 0030

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