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Housing Advice - Court Repossession Procedures

    Taking action to repossess your home involves a number of stages which can take a few weeks or a few months. You may be able to stop the process at any stage so it is important to get advice straight away and to always talk to your lender.

    Citizens Advice Bureau are able to offer help and advice and we can also help by discussing the housing options available to you to help you find a new home, whether this is temporary or permanent.

    Why will I be taken to Court?

    Your mortgage lender may take you to court if you have not come to, or do not keep to an agreement to pay off your mortgage arrears. Before your lender begins court action, they will send you a letter called a 'notice of default' saying you are behind with your payments.

    What will happen next?

    When your lender has started repossession proceedings against you, the court will send you paperwork including:

    • Copies of the claim for repossession forms, completed by your lender
    • A court hearing date
    • A blank defence form and guidance on how to fill it out
    • The court's contact details
    • Information about organisations offering free advice on repossessions

    Should I go to the court hearing?

    It is essential that you attend this hearing so that you can explain your situation. The hearing is your chance to explain your situation and to put forward your case as to why your lender should not be granted the right to repossess your home. If you do not attend, the judge has no choice but to grant a Possession Order.

    What happens at the court hearing?

    At the court hearing the judge will listen to the evidence and make a decision either to Order of Possession; to suspend the possession; or to change the hearing to another date. If the judge has made an Order of Possession, a date will be set so that your lender will know when you have to leave the property. If you have nowhere else to go, you do not need to leave the property at the end of that date.

    The lender will then have to ask the court for another hearing to order a Warrant of Eviction. Another hearing date will be sent to you and you should attend this hearing and make an application to suspend the warrant if it is appropriate to do so. Again the judge will listen to your reasons for suspending the warrant and set a date for the warrant to be carried out. You can apply to suspend the warrant up to the day before the bailiffs arrive.

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