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Facing Repossession?

Are you facing the prospect of being homeless? You and 144,999 other households by the end of the recession if figures from the Centre for Policy Studies turn out to be accurate.14-05-2009
It also calculates that another 245,000 households could have repossession orders against them by then even if they’re still living in their homes.

If your lender insists on repossessing your home it will have get a court order. It can’t just walk in, turn you out and change the locks.

So how does it all work? A mortgage is a loan secured against the home it’s used to buy. When you took out your mortgage you agreed to repay your loan, and interest on it, or interest only, in monthly instalments over a certain number of years. If you can’t make those payments - because someone loses a job, gets ill or pregnant, or there’s a divorce or separation - the lender has the right to ask a court to allow it to take possession of the property and sell it to recoup its money.

The government wants lenders to repossess properties only as a last resort. It has also come up with the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme where lenders and borrowers come to an agreement that allows the borrower to defer interest payments on their mortgages for up to two years. So if you’re in arrears and facing the threat of repossession you must talk to the lender and try to come to an agreement.

Don’t wait.

Work out exactly what you have coming into the household and look for ways to increase that income while you’re out of work.

Check whether you’re entitled to any job seeker’s allowance or income support and help with the mortgage and council tax.  

Check whether you have a Mortgage Payment Protection Policy that may cover your mortgage ‘til you find another job.

Look at all your spending and find to reduce it.

To avoid repossession you need to persuade the lender to restructure your mortgage so that you have lower monthly repayments which you can afford. You may also need to pay a little off the arrears each month to clear the back log in reasonable time.  

If you aren’t successful in your negotiations with a lender ask the local Citizens Advice Bureau or the National Debt line (0808 808 400) for help.

If the lender does start court action will be up to the judge to decide what happens.  

If you have a date for a court hearing don’t miss it. Someone from the local CAB may be able to help you prepare.

Take all the details of your income, bills and spending with you. Work out how much you can afford to pay.  

The judge can decide in favour of the lender and grant the repossession order; can grant the repossession order but suspend it while you make agreed payments; can postpone a decision or adjourn the case while you and the lender go back to the negotiating table or grant you a ‘stay’ of execution - that is stop the repossession temporarily to allow you more time.

Don’t panic and hide letters from the lender behind the clock. Get help now and you may still be in your home come the end of the recession.

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