The sanctity of one’s own home.

It doesn’t matter if you own your own property, or are a tenant, your home is a sanctuary, a place to not just call your own, but to feel safe, do what you want, the freedoms that come with being inside your own four walls.

So losing your home, be it your own property, or as a tenant or leaseholder in some situations, is probably one of the hardest things you will face.

Due to the pandemic, many repossessions and evictions were put on hold, a moratorium was issued by the government to not evict tenants; in part due to the fact many people were placed on furlough, or lost their jobs.

The fact is that when you buy a property and get approved for a mortgage, your life and credit are probably at their peak! Your credit and credit score is good, you have saved for the deposit, and can show that you can afford the monthly mortgage payments.

All is good.

When you let a place to live, be it with a private landlord or through a housing association, again, things are good. You can provide references, you can afford the rent, and with some private landlords that do credit checks, your credit is good as well.

Once again, all is well.

However, in the course of time passing, our lives and situations change. There may come a time when we can no longer afford to pay the mortgage payments, or the rent each month. Trying to take details and information from a borrower for a mortgage, or a tenant to lease a place to live, and project it ahead 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, is very, very difficult to do.

So unfortunately, repossessions and evictions do occur.

Repossession of a Property

Both repossessing a property, and evicting a tenant are processes, a process that at any point can be stopped.

Repossession of a property is a legal process, and one that must be adhered to. Lenders cannot just for any reason take back a property.

In most instances a property is repossessed for mortgage arrears, lack of payments. And there can be good reasons why someone is not paying their mortgage, however as a priority bill, the mortgage should be paid first.

The repossession process can be broken down into a few steps:

* You are in arrears with your mortgage payments, and your lender writes to you about this. At this stage it may be possibly to enter into an agreement to cure the arrears.

* If you cannot come to an agreement with your mortgage lender, the ender can apply to the courts, asking to repossess the property.

* A hearing date in the courts is set, this will be your opportunity to explain what is happening.

* A Judge then on the hearing date will hear the case, and make a decision as to if the property should be repossessed, or if there are other alternatives.

* The Judge could on the date of the hearing issue a repossession order against you, allowing the lender to repossess the property, this order can be suspended if an agreement is in place, and as long as you meet that obligation.

* Should a repossession order be in place and you fail to vacate the property, Bailiffs can be sent out to evict you.

* The property once empty is sold, usually at auction, and if the sale does not fully pay off the mortgage balance, a deficiency balance, which is now unsecured, can still be owed by the borrower.

Repossessing a property is a harsh experience, and one that does no one, the property owner, or the lender any good.

And the courts do not want to see people made homeless.

There can be times when the repossessing of a property, while always a last resort, must occur.

If the borrower fails to pay the mortgage payments, cannot come to any agreeable terms with the mortgage company or lender, and simple refuses to pay, or cannot pay, the property will be repossessed.

If a borrower cannot afford to pay the mortgage, due to some change in their finances, they may be eligible for some benefits or assistance.

In addition, if there is a medical issue, or there si someone who is ill or disabled living in the property, there may be some alternatives to repossessing the home.

If someone is made homeless through no fault of their own, they can be classified as homeless and moved to the top of the list for council housing or other emergency accommodations.

If someone is made homeless and they have contributed to this, then they may not be eligible for such benefits.

There are options to avoid a repossession:

* Try to work out a repayment plan with your lender.

* Inquire as to what benefits and assistance you may be eligible for.

* Take in a lodger or someone to help with the payments.

* Sell the property to avoid the repossession.

Evictions

Evictions, like repossessing a property is a process, and both are the retaking of a property; one by a lender or mortgage company, and one by a landlord.

Evictions are similar to repossessions, in that it can be some of the same reasons a landlord may try to evict a tenant, usually for non-payment of rent. However, there can be other instances, such as if the tenant has dome work to the property without authorisation, or has caused sever damage to the property making it inhabitable.

In both these instances, repossession or eviction, the process can be halted at anytime, and there are ways and places to get advice and help.

Repossessing a property is always a last resort, as is evicting someone.

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