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10 Steps to Stop Repossession

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Around 100,000 UK families risk losing their homes due to missed mortgage repayments annually. Falling into arrears or failing to keep up with monthly mortgage repayments can trigger the house repossession process whereby your mortgage lender claims possession of your home. The good news is that there are several ways to stop repossession of your home. Find out how the house repossession process works, along with 10 steps to stop house repossession.

1. Don't panic about house repossession

It's important to keep a cool head if you want to prevent losing your home and stop eviction. Obviously, you must act quickly, but before taking action, bear in mind that your lender won't start the repossession process immediately and that court proceedings last for weeks, giving you time to find a solution and possibly stop house repossession.

Before starting court action, the lender will try to reach an agreement that works for both sides. Furthermore, your lender is legally obliged to follow a procedure before starting court action and give you at least 15 days written warning or repossession notice.

So, when being threatened with repossession do not panic; there are ways to avoid house repossession.

2. Know how house repossession in the UK works

Knowing how house repossession in the UK works and your rights and responsibilities as a borrower cannot be emphasized enough. Not only will it help you understand possible outcomes of the house repossession process, but it will also help you take proper action to stop repossession altogether.

If you fail to respond to your lender's letters concerning missed mortgage repayments, or the lender isn't happy with how you propose to cover your arrears, they may start court action.

In order to stop repossession, you will have to attend a hearing and a judgement will be issued by the court; the verdict (usually issued after 28 days) will depend on whether your mortgage lender has presented sufficient evidence that you cannot pay your arrears. If this is the case, then the court will issue a property repossession order.

3. Be informed on how to stop repossession

Missing payments and falling into arrears is the first indication that you may be on a slippery slope towards eviction. There are several ways to prevent receiving a repossession order from court, work out something with your lender and stop repossession now. Some options to consider:

  • Extending your mortgage term, thus reducing monthly repayments to a manageable sum
  • Taking a mortgage payment holiday allowing you to either stop or reduce monthly repayments for a period
  • Taking out a new mortgage with lower monthly repayments
  • Capitalise the arrears or pay something towards them - showing that you are trying to improve your situation
  • Consider changing lender to get better mortgage terms

4. Get expert advice on how to avoid repossession

Expert advice is expensive and if you have been threatened with repossession, you probably don't have money to spend on financial advisors or solicitors. However, contacting an expert or simply getting their advice can help prevent repossession. Furthermore, you could be eligible for free legal advice or help with legal costs. Check if you are eligible for legal aid here.

It is good to remember that you can get free advice on the repossession process, including how to avoid repossession, how to manage your finances and where to turn for help from your local council and organisations such as Shelter England, National Debtline and Citizens Advice.

5. Consider your finances

To stop home repossession, you will need to repay your mortgage sooner or later. Sometimes simple measures such as cutting back on non-essentials can make a big difference in your finances and even help you save enough to repay your mortgage. For that reason, it's a good idea to seriously consider your expenditures - and how they could be reduced.

6. Check if you're entitled to benefits

If you lost your job or cannot work due to health reasons, you may be entitled to certain benefits. Which benefits and the amount will depend on a multiple factors, including: income, your partner's income, savings, and whether you have children. Even though the benefits probably won't cover your living expenses plus the mortgage, every little can help your situation. Also, some benefits qualify you for the so-called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) which can help with mortgage repayments.

7. Make a plan

Now you know that your house won't be repossessed overnight and have explored your options and financial situation, you should plan on how to avoid repossession of your home. By letting your lender know how you plan to get the money to repay your mortgage, they are less likely to take legal action and may stop repossession all together.

Even if your case goes to court, having a plan can help you stop further proceedings, as long as it sounds viable. For that reason, a plan should only be made after gathering all the information and facts about house repossession UK, including house repossession laws, how long repossession takes, how many monthly arrears before repossession begins, and where to find repossession help if needed.

8. Talk to your lender

As soon as you miss a mortgage repayment, you fall into arrears. Your lender will initially contact you by telephone or letter, and if you cannot pay, or miss subsequent repayment demands, they have the right to start property repossession proceedings against you. It is therefore highly recommended to respond to calls and repossession notices in a timely manner. You will ordinarily be given an affordable 'payment arrangement' with your creditor, however, should your mortgage account be in arrears for 3-6 months without any attempt on your part to clear the outstanding debt, your lender is likely to take legal action.

9. Don't give up on stopping repossession if the case goes to court

Even if your case goes to court, it doesn't necessarily mean your house will be repossessed. Even if your lender has taken legal action against you, you can still reach an agreement and stop your house being repossessed. If no agreement can be reached at this stage, your lender still needs court permission to repossess your home. So, don't give up just yet. Instead, be sure to turn up at court and prepare to defend your claim.

10. Consider selling your house quickly

If you can't keep up with your repayments and your financial situation isn't expected to improve, selling your home quickly may be the only way to stop repossession or avoid voluntary house repossession. Although this is probably not ideal, it is better to sell your home yourself because you will probably get a higher price than your lender at an auction.

One option to sell your house is through online or high street estate agents. If you're against the clock however this could be stressful as the average time to sell can be 6 months or more. Alternatively, you can use a company like us where we buy any house quickly for cash. The sale can be completed within 7 to 28 days enabling arrears and mortgage to be paid off and repossession stopped.

All you'll need is to agree on a price to sell your house, based on the value of your property. We'll do the rest, including instructing and paying your legal fees! Providing you have equity in your home, money received from the sale of your property goes towards paying off your mortgage and mortgage arrears you have accrued. The remainder is cash in the bank for you.

Contact us to help stop repossession and clear your mortgage and debt repayments.

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