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Can Anything be Done Once your Home has been Repossessed?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 9 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Repossessed lender bailiff negotiate

Even once a property has physically been repossessed by the court bailiff it is sometimes still possible to negotiate with the lender. Whilst the lender is under no obligation to accept any proposals, some may be prepared to agree terms under which a borrower will be allowed back into the property. A lender is most likely to agree to a borrower having the property back if they are able to clear the arrears by making a lump sum payment. If there is any possibility that such a sum can be raised it is always worth asking the lender whether they will agree to this.

After repossession the solicitors will probably send the case back to the lender who will start the sale process. Therefore, even if any negotiations up to this point have been with the lender’s solicitors the borrower may find that they now have to negotiate directly with the lender.

Retrieving Belongings

It is common for people to refuse to accept – right until the moment they are physically evicted – that their home is going to be repossessed. The result is that people may not have removed their belongings from their home by the time the bailiff arrives. When this happens the lender will allow borrowers back into the property at a pre-arranged time so that they can remove their belongings.

Post Eviction Applications to the Court

Once a borrower has been evicted, the courts’ powers to help them get back into the property are extremely limited. If an application is made to the court after an eviction has taken place, the judge will no longer be considering whether the borrower might be able to clear the debt within a reasonable period.

There are four situations in which a borrower might be able to persuade a court to let them back into the property:

  • The borrower knew nothing about the possession proceedings because he was never given notice of them, (Case 1);
  • The borrower knew nothing about the possession proceedings because he never received notice of them, (Case 2);
  • The warrant of eviction was obtained by fraud, (Case 3);
  • There was “oppression or abuse of process” surrounding the eviction, (Case 4).
Case 1

If neither the lender nor the court sent the borrower any notification of the case, the lender was not entitled to a possession order. If the lender was not entitled to a possession order they were not entitled to apply for a warrant of eviction. Therefore the eviction should never have taken place. The court will set aside the possession order and allow the borrower back into the property. A borrower can only logically argue this if he did not attend the possession hearing.

Case 2

The judge may set aside the possession order if a borrower never received any of the documents - even though they were all properly sent to the correct address. However, the judge will only set the possession order aside if the borrower can also prove that he made the application promptly and that the possession order would not have been made if he had attended the hearing. Again, this argument will only make sense if the borrower did not attend any hearings.

Case 3

An eviction will be set aside if the lender was not allowed to apply for it. Examples of this might be:

  • A court had postponed the eviction;
  • The borrower was up to date with payments under a suspended possession order;
  • The possession order had been set aside.

It is unlikely that a legitimate bank or finance company would deliberately allow an eviction to proceed in any of these circumstances.

Case 4

What amounts to “oppression” or “abuse of process” will largely depend on the circumstances of each case. If a lender has followed all the rules it is highly unlikely that a borrower would win an application on this basis. A lender does not have to send a notice to the borrower warning him of the eviction. The likeliest scenario would be:

  • a borrower reached an agreement with the lender or their solicitors that eviction would not take place if certain payments were made; and,
  • the borrower made the agreed payments; and,
  • the lender repossessed the property anyway.

Summary

Lenders are quite careful about complying with the rules. Therefore there is usually very little that a judge can do to help the borrower. If there is any possibility that the arrears can be cleared, or at least substantially reduced, re-entry into the property is more likely to be achieved by negotiating with the lender than by making an application to the court.

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Karalou - Your Question:
It was a very long time ago that our family home was repossessed 1996. There was nothing to be done at the time so my four children and I drifted from one rented property to the next. I didn't have much to do with the mortgage but I think we borrowed £35,000. It was a 4 bedrooms semi in a good location. We lived there for 10 years and house prices had gone uo a lot. It wasn't until recently that my sister realised I didn't know how much the house was sold for. It was on the market and had an interested buyer so probably didn't go to auction. It was pointed out that had there been a shortfall, the bank would have been on to me straight away. But if it was sold for more than the amount of the debt, what would have happened to that money? How could I find out? Or is it too late?

Our Response:
Try contacting the original lender and possibly the Land Registry.
HousingRepossessions - 9-Aug-17 @ 2:50 PM
It was a very long time ago that our family home was repossessed 1996. There was nothing to be done at the time so my four children and I drifted from one rented property to the next. I didn't have much to do with the mortgage but I think we borrowed £35,000. It was a 4 bedrooms semi in a good location. We lived there for 10years and house prices had gone uo a lot. It wasn't until recently that my sister realised I didn't know how much the house was sold for. It was on the market and had an interested buyer so probably didn't go to auction. It was pointed out that had there been a shortfall, the bank would have been on to me straight away. But if it was sold for more than the amount of the debt, what would have happened to that money? How could I find out? Or is it too late?
Karalou - 9-Aug-17 @ 12:32 AM
The stories of repossession above are all too familiar and painful. My home was repossessed on 28th April 2015 by Kensington Mortgage Company Ltd, and two years on I am still trying to get justice. The problem seems to me to be right at the core of mortgage lending and is there to see in the contract we sign giving the banks "power of attorney". So, whichever way I have approached this I have been scuppered by the fact that I "signed the contract" My story, like so many others, has nearly sent me to my grave and my attempts to navigate my way through the courts let alone the Financial Ombudsman have left me reeling. How these people define the words "fair" and "reasonable" are based purely on what the banks dictate, make no mistake. Anyway, rather than going into my particular story here, I am looking into every single body who contributed to taking my home off me for a piffling shortfall (£1108.88) and will be launching a public legal challenge. It's an incredibly complex issue, but it shouldn't be. I've often used the simile that trying to hold someone accountable is like stamping on a cockroach...
Kate Ward - 15-May-17 @ 1:08 PM
Devongirl- Your Question:
Hi. Hoping someone can help. In early 2015 my lender (Santander) obtained a possession order but I paid arrears in full. Unfortunately my partner was made redundant and I was unable to work due to poor health and arrears accrued over a period of time again. During this time my relationship broke down and my partner moved out of the property. Following his departure I applied for and qualified for benefits and subsequently qualified for mortgage interest payments which were paid direct to Santander. The last payment was made in approximately January 2016 when I had to be reassessed for benefits. I didn't follow this up because I became the victims of harassment and intimidation by an employee of the Department of Work and pensions (DWP) who, following my complaint was investigated. This person also subjected us to 18 months of harassment which resulted in getting the police involved and issuing a police notice to her. The effects of my poor health, the breakdown of my long term relationship, lack of employment took its toll on me mentally and physically and found myself unable to deal with simple everyday things. This was just one of many reasons for my mortgage going into arrears. I believe in March 2017 Santander obtained a possession order. On the 26th April I got home from work to find the locks changed on my house. I never notice of possession hearing an I didn't get the the eviction notice either. It turned out the eviction notice had been left in a post box outside my house even though I have an unobstructed working letter box. I contacted Santander offering to pay arrears in full plus 6 months mortgage up front. I explained the above circumstances. They asked me to put everything in a letter, circumstances and offer, and she said she would love ok at my case again. Two days later they came back and turned me down flat and I had two options available. 1. Pay off mortgage. 2.go back to court. The reason they gave for refusing my offer was because I'd had one previous occasion of arrears. I've sent a form N244 to the court asking for possession and eviction to be set aside. I've given all the details as above and details of my proposal to repay arrears, six months up front and proof of ability to sustain future payments as myself and my partner are working plus he has naval Pension. We have just turned our lives around after finally seeing an end to harassment only a month ago we could finally deal with our debts only to find we were too late. Sorry for the long winded post. Do you think I have a chance of getting my home back.

Our Response:
We really can't say, this will be for the courts and the lender to decide/agree.
HousingRepossessions - 10-May-17 @ 2:15 PM
Hi. Hoping someone can help. In early 2015 my lender (Santander) obtained a possession order but I paid arrears in full. Unfortunately my partner was made redundant and I was unable to work due to poor health and arrears accrued over a period of time again. During this time my relationship broke down and my partner moved out of the property.Following his departure I applied for and qualified for benefits and subsequently qualified for mortgage interest payments which were paid direct to Santander. The last payment was made in approximately January 2016 when I had to be reassessed for benefits. I didn't follow this up because I became the victims of harassment and intimidation by an employee of the Department of Work and pensions (DWP) who, following my complaint was investigated.This person also subjected us to 18 months of harassment which resulted in getting the police involved and issuing a police notice to her. The effects of my poor health, the breakdown of my long term relationship, lack of employment took its toll on me mentally and physically and found myself unable to deal with simple everyday things. This was just one of many reasons for my mortgage going into arrears. I believe in March 2017 Santander obtained a possession order. On the 26th April I got home from work to find the locks changed on my house.I never notice of possession hearing an I didn't get the the eviction notice either.It turned out the eviction notice had been left in a post box outside my house even though I have an unobstructed working letter box. I contacted Santander offering to pay arrears in full plus 6 months mortgage up front. I explained the above circumstances. They asked me to put everything in a letter, circumstances and offer, and she said she would love ok at my case again. Two days later they came back and turned me down flat and I had two options available. 1. Pay off mortgage. 2.go back to court.The reason they gave for refusing my offer was because I'd had one previous occasion of arrears. I've sent a form N244 to the court asking for possession and eviction to be set aside. I've given all the details as above and details of my proposal to repay arrears, six months up front and proof of ability to sustain future payments as myself and my partner are working plus he has naval Pension. We have just turned our lives around after finally seeing an end to harassment only a month ago we could finally deal with our debts only to find we were too late. Sorry for the long winded post. Do you think I have a chance of getting my home back.
Devongirl - 9-May-17 @ 8:03 PM
charlie - Your Question:
Hi wonder if someone could help?We had our house repossessed in 1996, we are trying to find out where we can find all our repossession papers, is there anybody who could help us please?Thank you

Our Response:
You could try the court or the mortgage lender? The Land Registry may also have some information.
HousingRepossessions - 2-May-17 @ 11:45 AM
Hi wonder if someone could help? We had our house repossessed in 1996, we are trying to find out where we can find all our repossession papers, is there anybody who could help us please? Thank you
charlie - 1-May-17 @ 8:32 AM
Im looking to retrieve an urn that was in a house that got repossessed about 15 years ago. Can anyone give me any advice about this please? It's for someone I know and I've been lucky enough to not ever need to know about the process.
Kayla - 6-Mar-16 @ 1:59 PM
I had been very ill and my husbands SSI was taken away and he was hurt on the job and told he no longer can work. He always paid all bills. I knew nothing of our house being in foreclosure and knew nothing of any eviction until Monday 9/14/15 when I found my husband dead in my car the morning our family of 5 were to be evicted. We had been in that home since 1972 since my parents bought it. My husband also grew up in the neighborhood. It is the only home our children and grandchildren knew. I am torn to pieces and want my family home back. My husband died for that home and us and even though I can'thave my love back I want my home and family back together!! What can I do?????
Vi - 17-Oct-15 @ 7:25 PM
My flat was repossessed on 15th May - I am trying to apply to the County Court for 'permssion to re-enter' -does anyone know if its possible to persuade a bank (in my case Santander) to do this instead of selling off my property - I am now in a position to repay arrears and make ongoing monthly payments. If anyone can advise please do, I need all the help I can get
Kate - 30-May-15 @ 4:17 PM
@Chrisy. We're sorry to hear about this, it does sound like there was a little too much bureaucracy and ineffiency on the part of your lender. Unfortunately there's not much we can do to help - you could really do with speaking to someone who can contact the lender on your behalf. A solicitor (first half hour consultation is usually free of charge) or the Citizen's Advice Bureau will be your best options.
HousingRepossessions - 26-Feb-15 @ 12:14 PM
Hi my home was repossessed nov '14. the date was set for 4th and on 3rd i called lender to make full payment of arrears and also 6 mths advance. i was given there account details to make payment. i asked advisor to stay on fone while i arranged payment with bank so i could confirm it was paid. called bank with details they confirmed transfer. back onto lender who then said eviction was still going ahead as the payment wont clear into my account on time. so angry as the idiot was the one who gave me the advice. anyway i was told after many calls and arguments all i had to do was fax my bank statement showing i made payment and eviction wud be cancelled.i did this at 9 am the next morn only to be told they werent accepting statement as i printed online. it had to be full statement i went to bank and ordered this but it can take up to 10 days. so i was evicted with the promise i would get keys back if i could prove payment sent b 4 repo date. i went into brach and they printed the statement but its also from online. the manager stamped and dated statement confident this would prove arrears paid. faxed this again told not suitable so there decision would most likley be against relinquishing property back. asked for confirmation but as of today i still have not recieved anything except letter 2 mths after eviction ton say they where now selling property. i had to arrange to remove my belongings and had no option but to leave a lot behind. the house is now under offer and completion in next couple of days with a loss in value of over £20,000 and i will have £23,000 shortfall plus fees added. sorry this is so long any 1 with any advice if i can take action against lender i would really appreciate contact.
chrisy - 24-Feb-15 @ 7:50 AM
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