The eviction of a homeowner or tenant from a house is a serious matter because it could directly lead to homelessness. As such, the government has implemented a clear set of laws and guidelines to regulate the process. If you are facing the threat of eviction due to house repossession, please continue reading to ensure that you understand your rights and the process completely.
Home repossession is a mechanism which allows mortgage providers, or lenders, to take ownership of the borrowers’ home. This gives them the ability to sell the house and recover the money they have loaned borrowers to purchase the property. However, before they can legally pursue a repossession, and thereafter, an eviction order, lenders must comply with the following requirements, which will cumulatively take a minimum of three months (usually six to nine months):
1. Written notice when a borrower’s account falls into arrears
2. A written statement detailing the total amount of arrears, outstanding balance and late penalties incurred.
3. Provide an informational leaflet on debt management as well as the contact details of a debt adviser as well as the housing department of the local council.
4. A phone or in person discussion about the reason for the arrears. The lender’s representative must endeavour to find out if this issue is a temporary one or a long-term concern.
5. The lender must also provide an alternative payment plan. If the borrower has a payment proposal, the lender must review it and respond in writing within 10 days.
6. If the lender has accepted the borrower’s proposal, and the borrower subsequently defaulted on the terms of the agreement, the lender must provide an additional 15 days’ notice before they commence any legal action.
Even after the lender has successfully obtained a court order for repossession, they still do not have the authority to evict the borrower. Instead, they must apply for a warrant of ejection from the court. Once the court has issued this document, the court bailiffs can use reasonable means to physically remove you from the premises. However, bailiffs will typically give a three day notice so the borrower can leave the house on their own behalf.
Even at this stage, borrowers can still stop the eviction process if they have a credible reason, such as a fresh negotiation with the bank or a confirmed sale of the property (with a rent back option). The bailiffs take no pleasure from evicting tenants from their home, so they are always willing to listen.
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