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Repossession Process

Repossession Process

David Warnes (Repossession Expert) gives expert video advice on: Do I need a solicitor if I have been threatened with repossession?; Am I entitled to housing benefit if my home has been repossessed?; What action should I take when I receive a property repossession order? and more...

How will repossession proceedings begin?

Repossession proceedings begin when your lender sends you a letter with a court date applying to the courts seeking initial repossession of the property.

What are the steps towards repossession?

The steps towards a repossession, firstly, is a letter and going to court on the original court dates, whereby you'll be asked to account for what's gone wrong on your account. Thereafter, generally a possession order is granted and then suspended. After that, non-payment of the suspended possession order entails that you go to a Friend of the Court's on two or three occassions and pay on those two or three occassions to keep up with your commitment, which will eventually result in a repossession.

How long does the repossession process take?

Repossession process can take from a minimum of about three months from the start all the way through to a couple of years. We've had people that have gone through a repossession process for even longer than that, but generally it's a case of resolving the problems that's causing the arrears. And the sooner we resolve the problem, the sooner the repossession can go away or be affected.

Do I need a solicitor if I have been threatened with repossession?

You don't need a solicitor, but you do need advice. An awful lot of people go to the courts with absolutely no advice at all and some people don't even attend. It's very important that people at least attend and at least pick up the phone if they can and ask for companies like us to give them some kind of information to go to the courts with. They do need some information, if nothing else.

What is an N11M form?

An N11M form is the origianl form that you'll be given on your first visit to the courts, and this gives you the chance to put forward your case in written form first of all. The N11M form will ask for the details of why you've gone into arrears, how it's going to be resolved and also a financial questionnaire as well to make sure that going forward, your mortgage will be affordable.

What is a repossession hearing?

A repossession hearing is when you first go to the courts with the lender's advocate and judge. You put forward your case as to why you shouldn't be repossessed, and how you can best go forward and come up with an alternative plan to stop the possession going ahead.

What is an outright repossession order?

An outright repossession order is usually granted at the end of the repossession hearings, and that's where the lender can then put forward the notion of an eviction notice.

What is a suspended repossession order?

A suspended repossession order is what we would normally apply for when you first go to a repossession hearing. The judge will have to award, depending on the arrears, a possession order to the lender, but he will suspend it based on you keeping up with your new commitment. That could be something as simple as you keep up your current mortgage payments plus a small payment towards the arrears.

What is a time order?

A time order is limited in its use for certain customers as, if in certain types of mortgages, the judge can award a different interest rate payment on the debt and/or lengthening the loan length so that the payments can be reduced accordingly. For example, if you have a five-year mortgage on repayment that you can't afford, he could say, we're going to rewrite the mortgage over a fifteen year period, which would reduce the mortgage payments accordingly and make it more affordable.

What is an eviction warrant?

An eviction warrant is given to the bailiff at the end of the process, which allows him access in to your property and change the locks and affect the repossession.

Who issues an eviction warrant?

The judge issues an eviction warrant and only after he's been for exhaustive processes with both the clients and with the lender.

When can my landlord or mortgage lenders apply for an eviction warrant?

They can apply at any point when an account falls into default, but generally the courts do not like lenders or landlords applying to the court for anything less than two or three months worth of arrears. Now, that could be based on the last two or three months being missed completely, or an accumulation over the last couple of years, totalling two or three months' arrears, but generally not before.

Will it cost me money to have my home repossessed?

It does cost money to have your home repossessed, as all the lenders' charges are added to your mortgage account. You don't have to pay these as you go along, but they will be added to your mortgage account.

What help is available to me if my home has been repossessed?

Okay, there are websites like my own and other like-minded companies. There are also Citizens Advice Bureau, Consumer Credit Counsel, and the National Debt Line, being three large main charities that deal in these kind of issues. However, the problem with mortgage accounts is that it's generally a regulated product that a lot of the charities aren't able to really help a great deal in changing the mortgage. They can give you help in altering your budget so that you can, therefore, afford your mortgage going forward. If you need the mortgage changed completely, that is to a new lender, you'll need to speak to someone like us.

Am I entitled to housing benefit if my home has been repossessed?

You could be entitled to housing benefit if your home has been repossessed. That completely depends on your own personal circumstances as would be applicable in the other situation regarding work and other aspects of your life like savings. So, it's a general thing. You could be entitled to it but you would have to seek advice from the appropriate benefit agency.

What will happen to my home once it has been repossessed?

Your home is then passed to a third-party company, usually administered by the lender, whose sole mandate is to prepare the property and to select an estate agent, or various estate agents, to sell the property on behalf of the lender.

What action should I take when I receive a property repossession order?

The action you should take is literally to pick up the phone and seek appropriate advice from people like ourselves, Repossession Advice Center, and the various charities that are available: Consumer Credit Council, National Debtline, and CABs. At least seek some advice on how to speak to the judge to get the possession order suspended.

I have been given a suspended repossession order, what does this mean?

A suspended repossession order basically means that you've been to court, you've agreed a payment process with both the judge and the lender and that possession order has been suspended subject to you keeping up the arrangements that you've now made with the lender and the judge. If you fail to keep up those payments, the suspended possession order will turn into a possession order and the lender can then apply for eviction.

Do mortgage companies make money out of repossession?

No, mortgage companies don't make money out of repossession. In fact, the reverse is true. It can quite often cost them money. All of their costs and fees are added to mortgage accounts, so it doesn't actually necessarily cost them if the house is sold with all of those costs and debts being paid off. However, if a house is sold either below market value because of the state of the property or because of market conditions at the time, then you could find that there's a shortfall on the mortgage debts as to what the house has been sold for, which you could be held responsible for. But typically the answer to that is no.

How long after repossession will my home be sold on?

Your home will generally be sold on in a period between two and eight or nine months, depending on the condition of the property and again, market forces. Some properties will sell very quickly, and some will sell very slowly, depending on how much the agent is asking for it and how much want or need there is for that particular property.

Am I given any leeway after repossession to get myself back on my feet?

You are given some leeway to actually pay the arrears off, but it is only about seven days. Thereafter you do have the time it takes for the third party agency to sell the property, if you're actually looking to buy the property back. You would have to pay at least the full amount of the mortgage debt outstanding in full to get the property back.

Where can I seek advice if I have been threatened with repossession?

You can seek advice from us at Asset Design Ltd. or the Repossession Advice Center. You can also seek advice from Citizens' Advice Bureau, the National Debt Line, and Consumer Credit Council. If they don't have someone appropriate, they will be able to give you the names and numbers of various companies like ourselves that will be able to help you further, depending on the type of problem that you have.

Will I have to pay for advice on repossession?

Some companies will charge at the outset for advice. Solicitors definitely will charge. Other companies are charitable and don't charge anything whatsoever, as they're paid for by other sources. Other companies will make a charge, but within their services will recoup those monies at a much later stage.

Can my home be repossessed because I was sick and couldn t work so couldn't make repayments?

Your home can be repossessed because you couldn't make payment, because you were sick, because the point is that you haven't made payments. It does give you a factor to deal with the judge, and that's the reason you fell into arrears, because you were sick or unable to work. However, this only gives him some leeway and can't continue ongoing forever. This is a very personal situation, and some people will have a long time because they've got lots of equity built up in their property, and some people will have a short time because they've got very little equity in their property. So the answer to that is, yes, you can be repossessed for whatever reason.

Can a creditor keep hold of the personal belongings in my house?

No, a creditor can't keep hold of the personal belongings in the house, and the third party agency that's been asked to dispose of the assets, (the house or the estate agent, they can be one and the same) they will hold keys and you can make arrangements with those parties to retrieve your own personal possessions at a mutually convenient time.

What procedures should my landlord or lender follow when repossessing my property?

The lender follows a strict procedure of seeking possession of an asset, and then generally the judge will order a suspended possession order and then seek possession of the order again. It is often that the client could repeatedly go back to court and win more time based on the information they give at the court on that time. However, the process does eventually wear itself out when the promises you've been making turn out to be false, and the lender will eventually begin repossession of the property.

I live in a council house, can it be repossessed?

A council house can't be repossessed unless it's been mortgaged and bought under the right-to-buy system. However, a council you can be evicted from a council house for non-payment of the rent. This is exactly the same as a mortgage lender. They have to go through exactly the same process of going, taking you to court for non-payment of your committment which in this case would be rent rather than a mortgage payment.