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House repossession. How to avoid losing your home.

House repossession is a legal process where a mortgage lender or secured loan provider takes ownership of a property. You are at risk of this if you do not pay them what you owe.

Lenders will only start court action to repossess your house as a last resort. To avoid this, do not ignore your lender if they contact you about your:

The best thing you can do is talk to your lender. Let them know about your situation and the steps you are taking to get your payments up to date.

They are more likely to help you if they know you are getting help. Contact us for debt advice and we will:

  • Help you put together a tailored household budget, and
  • Advise you on the best way to deal with your mortgage payments

If your lender cannot contact you they are more likely to go to court.

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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.

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House repossession process

Before your home is repossessed, a lot of steps need to happen. This can take many months, so you do have time to get help and stop the process from going any further.

1. Your lender will contact you about your missed mortgage payments

You should contact your lender if you are finding it hard to make payments. But, if you do not contact them, they will get in touch with you.

They will try to make a plan with you to recover the payments you missed.

At this stage, there is plenty you can do to get back on track:

2. Your lender starts court action

If you cannot agree to a payment plan with your lender, they may begin court action.

They must give you:

  • A list of all your missed payments
  • The total amount of your missed payments
  • The remaining amount to pay on your mortgage

The court will send you paperwork. Make sure you keep these together in a safe place.

Get in touch with us for support and advice if this happens.

3. Possession hearings

A possession hearing takes place so that a judge can decide whether you can afford to keep your home. It does not always mean that you will lose your house.

You must attend the hearing. You are more at risk of losing your home if you do not go.

It is not too late to ask for help. Even if you have been given an eviction date.

4. The court makes a decision

There are two types of possession order.

An outright possession order

The court sets a date that you must leave your home. The date could be very soon after your court hearing.

A suspended possession order

With this type of order, you may be able to keep your home. But, you must:

  • Pay an amount set by the court on top of your regular mortgage payment
  • Follow the terms set by the court

5. Eviction

Your lender can send bailiffs to evict you from your home if:

  • You have not left your home by the date set in your outright possession order
  • You broke the terms set out in your suspended possession order

Your lender will let you know if they plan to evict you. They must also have a warrant from the court.

You can still stop the eviction taking place, but you must take action within 14 days. We recommend that you contact Shelter for advice if this is happening to you.

6. Your home will be sold

If you are evicted, your lender will sell your home.

  • Your lender and any other secured debts will use the money to clear your debt with them
  • You will get any money left over
  • If the sale does not cover your debt, you may be asked to pay this back

House repossession advice

If you have received court paperwork or you have got a court date coming up soon, contact us.

Our expert advisors can give you specialised advice on the repossession process. We may be able to suggest options for you to discuss with your lender before the case goes to court.

"Get in touch with StepChange, you'll wish you'd done it sooner" Rob, Wiltshire