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i England and Wales only.

What is a charging order on your home?

A charging order is a 'secured debt'. It is an order that 'secures' a debt against a property, which means if you sell or remortgage that property before clearing the debt, money from the sale will be taken to pay it off.

This can only happen after a County Court judgment (CCJ) has already been raised against you.

It does not always mean you will lose your home.

Charging orders only apply to court action in England or Wales.

The Scottish courts and Northern Irish courts have similar orders.

Get in touch with us for free and confidential debt advice.

When can the people I owe get a charging order?

The rules for the people you owe seeking a charging order changes depending on when the court made their judgment.

Judgments made before 1 October 2012

The people you owe can only apply for a charging order if:

  • The court has ordered immediate payment of the judgment debt or payment in full by a certain date, and you have not paid, or
  • You have missed a payment on an order to pay by instalments

Judgments made on or after 1 October 2012

  • The people you owe can apply for a charging order at any time after the court made their judgment
  • They can apply for an order for sale if you do not have an up-to-date instalment order

You can avoid a charging order if the court orders you to pay in full. But this can only happen if the court agrees to you paying in stages.

Worried about losing your home?

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Maybe it is a strain to keep on top of monthly spending. Or you don't know what to do when your fixed rate mortgage ends.

Together, we can look at your situation and unlock your options.

Read our homeowner guides.

What is the difference between an interim charging order and a final charging order?

There are two stages:

  • The interim charging order, and
  • The final charging order

Interim charging orders (N86)

When the people you owe decide to apply for a charging order:

1. They apply for an order through the court

This includes proof that you own, or jointly own, your house. You will not get this information.

They will get this information from the Land Registry.

2. The court allows the charging order

If they agree with the proof.

3. The court sends you the interim charging order (form N86)

You get a copy of the N86 form and the creditor's form N379. These show the reasons for the order.

The charging order is sent to:

  • People who own the house or share the mortgage with you
  • Your mortgage lender
  • Any other lenders you have secured the property against

4. A warning is added to the Land Registry

This stops you from selling your house until the final charging order hearing.

  • You will get a form B136 from the Land Registry about this
  • You do not need to reply

5. The interim charging order goes ahead without a hearing

The court issues the final charging order after 28 days if you do nothing.

Objecting to a charging order

Write to both the court and creditor within 28 days of the date of service on the interim charging order.

The court may arrange a hearing to decide.

Reasons to object might include:

  • Other creditors have not been informed about the application
  • You are insolvent and there is not enough equity in to pay all your debts
  • The property is not yours and you will not profit from the sale
  • You have not missed any payments set by the court
  • The creditor did not follow the proper process when applying

For example, they did not tell others named on the property, which they are required to do.

If a charge is placed on your property, you can ask the court to set conditions on the charging order.

For example, an affordable instalment order, suspending the charging order or applying conditions to it.

Setting an instalment order may be the easiest option as it is harder for the people you owe to take more court action if you keep up with these payments.

If no instalment order is set:

Final charging orders (N87)

If you do not write an objection, you may be subject to an order for sale. This means you may lose your home.

A court officer or District Judge will decide if a final charging order proceeds.

If you make written objections, or ask for other conditions:

The court may arrange a hearing at your local County Court hearing centre.

The hearing will be:

  • In private chambers
  • With a District Judge
  • With a representative from the creditor

The judge will then listen to both sides and decide whether:

  • To make the final order
  • Decide what conditions (if any) to apply

You will get a confirmation letter from the court (form N87) when a final charging order is made.

What is an order for sale?

You need to keep making debt payments if you have a charging order.

Otherwise, creditors can apply to the court for an order for sale.

This forces you to sell your house to pay the creditor.

Orders for sale are only for debts of £1,000 or more.

If a creditor applies for an order for sale:

  • There is another hearing
  • You have a chance to explain your situation to a judge
  • The order is only granted as a last resort

Does a charging order show on your credit file?

No. Only CCJs are recorded on your credit file but not separate charging orders.

These will remain on your credit file for six years from the date of issue.

Does a charging order expire after 12 years?

This only applies if you live in Scotland. In England and Wales the Land Registry records your charging order until the debt is paid. You will need to apply once it is paid to them to remove it.

Charging orders and houses in joint names

Anyone you own a house with will be told if the people you owe apply for a charging order.

Charging orders can have an important effect on jointly-owned properties if someone dies.

Most couples own their home as joint tenants.

  • This means if one person dies, the surviving partner gets sole ownership of the property

A charging order changes a joint tenancy into a tenancy in common.

  • This means the part owned by the person who died becomes part of their estate
  • It does not pass to the other person

Find out more about dealing with joint debts.

Other types of charging order

Creditors use charging orders to secure debts after a CCJ. They can also be used in:

Legal aid

In some cases, Legal Aid Agency can apply a charging order to your home.

  • This is called a ‘statutory charge’
  • It recovers funding when you sell or remortgage your home


You may have to sell your house if:

When you do not have much equity:

  • The official receiver may get a charging order
  • This means you pay equity to them if you sell or remortgage after your bankruptcy

Council tax

Your local council can apply for a charging order if they get a liability order for unpaid council tax.

The council will first try to get the money any other way. Like:

Find out more about dealing with council tax arrears.

Interest on charging orders

For debts regulated by the Consumer Credit Act:

Interest stops when the CCJ is issued. This includes:

  • Overdrafts
  • Personal loans
  • Payday loans
  • Store cards
  • Credit cards
  • And similar debts

In rare cases, interest can continue on a debt after a CCJ if the original contract allowed this.

For debts not regulated by the Consumer Credit Act:

Statutory interest of 8% is added to debts over £5,000.

There is no way to stop or reduce this.

Examples include:

8% interest is always added to any amount of:

  • Legal aid charging orders
  • Bankruptcy charging orders

Learn more about your rights and the Consumer Credit Act.

Worried about charging order or CCJ?

If you have a CCJ or charging order, this is a sign you might need help.

Take two minutes to answer a few simple questions, and find the best help for you.

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