With our series of Quick Property Sale ‘Blog Bits’ you will find useful information and guidance on the main stages of the repossession process. Please scroll through the QPS ‘Blog Bits’ section to find our other repossession articles.
Preparing for a Repossession Hearing
If your mortgage lender has started court action against you, either because your mortgage arrears have not been rectified or any negotiations with your mortgage lender have failed, you will need to do some preparation for the property repossession court hearing as soon as possible.
You will get at least three week’s notice of the court hearing date (the time/date will be written on the first page of the claim form). You must keep this day free for the hearing so you can attend, you must inform anyone else who is affected or needs to accompany you to court.
Always check the documents sent by the court and read the paperwork carefully, ensuring the details are completely accurate. These are the documents the court will send to you about your case:
a) A claim form – this tells you where and when the court hearing will be held.
b) The ‘particulars of claim’ – this itemises in detail the mortgage lender’s case (and gives the reasons why they want to repossess your property).
c) A defence form for you to fill out and return to the court when you attend.
Make a note of anything you do not agree with, for example, if you do not agree with the amount of arrears, mortgage payments you have made are missing, the lender suggested they have contacted you but they have not and so on.
A guide to filling in the defence form
Complete the defence form within two weeks of receiving it or very soon after that date. Use the defence form to tell the court about your situation by:
a) Preparing a breakdown of your household income and expenditure (use Google to find ‘free online budget planning’ to print off and use).
b) If you can afford to make regular arrears payments state this, the courts can allow you to spread the repayment of your arrears over a mutually agreed term, but the court must be convinced that you are ready to take action to keep your property.
c) You must advise the court if there are any errors in the details of the claim (the document that explains the lender’s case).
You should also include any other information to give to the judge that will help with your case, for example, why you missed any payments. Give as much information as you can (even if you think it is not directly relevant) on the defence paperwork.
Collect evidence for the hearing
You will need to present evidence to support the arguments you show to the court. Collect together any relevant papers that you think the judge may need to look at. You’ll likely be asked for proof of your finances. This can include: bank account statements, pay slips, any job offers or proof of any lump sum payments you can use to pay down your arrears.
You can also advise the court if you intend to sell your home (house quick sale) to repay back your mortgage and arrears.
Attending the court hearing
The court hearing is usually held in private and sometimes in the judge’s chambers. There you can ask questions and the judge will explain what’s happening. You’ll have the chance to argue against repossession and explain your side of the defence.
Keep in touch with your mortgage lender
If you can communicate with your lender and reach an agreement before the hearing, your lender may agree that the case does not proceed to court. The lender will then confirm to the court that they will accept a suspended possession order that sets out terms for you to repay your mortgage arrears.
‘A suspended possession order’ is a type of court order that allows you to keep your home, so long as you keep to the terms of a repayment agreement made with your mortgage lender.
It is advisable to send the reply form and documents to the court via ‘Signed For’ recorded post for your peace of mind. The judge looks at both the particulars of claim and defence form before the hearing.
If you do not attend the court hearing, it’s likely the judge will give your mortgage lender the right to evict you. You must keep to any agreement you make in court to pay off arrears. If you do not you may still risk losing your home. You may need to sell or have already decided that you wish to sell your property for quick sale.
If you feel you need to sell your house for a quick sale please get in touch with quick sales property anytime.