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Find a home after repossession

You'll need to find alternative accommodation if you can't delay your home being repossessed.

Homelessness help from the council

You can make a homelessness application to a local council if you are homeless.

Local councils have a legal duty to help some people who are homeless or about to lose their homes.

The council has to look into your situation and give you advice to help you find a home. If the council thinks that you are in priority need, it should provide you with emergency accommodation. It may also have to find you longer-term housing.

If the council decides you are intentionally homeless

If you apply as homeless, the council could decide that you are intentionally homeless because you didn't pay your mortgage.

If this happens, the council only has to house you for a short time. This is usually 28 days, but can vary.

You can challenge a decision that you are intentionally homeless. Get advice from a housing adviser.

Use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser

In some situations you may get help from your council's social services department even if the housing department won't help you.

Contact your council's social services department.

Renting from a private landlord

Contact your local council's housing options service to ask about private landlords in your area.

You can use a letting agency to help you find a home to rent. You have to pay fees and charges to the letting agency.

Many private landlords run credit checks before renting to tenants. If your home was repossessed because of mortgage arrears, it could be more difficult to find a landlord who is willing to rent to you.

Find out more about finding a private rented home.

Costs of private renting

You usually have to pay rent in advance and a tenancy deposit when you find a place to rent in the private sector.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy, your deposit should be protected in a government-backed scheme.

You may be able to get help from a rent deposit or bond guarantee scheme if you cannot afford a deposit.

You may be able to get housing benefit to help you pay your rent if you have a low income or claim benefits.

If you claim benefits, you may be able to get a budgeting loan or universal credit budgeting advance to help you pay your rent in advance and to help pay for moving costs.

Find out more about the costs of private renting.

Renting from a council or housing association

If you want a council or housing association tenancy, you have to apply to go on the council’s housing waiting list. This is sometimes called the housing register.

Ask the council's housing department for an application form for the waiting list. Most councils have online application forms on their website.

You may not be eligible to apply for council or housing association housing if you have recently arrived in the UK from abroad.

Waiting lists can be very long. Your priority on the waiting list depends on your circumstances and how much accommodation is available.

In some areas there is plenty of accommodation available but in other areas there is a shortage of homes.

Find out more about how councils allocate homes from their waiting list.

If you get a council or housing association tenancy, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent.

Buying another home after repossession

It may be harder to find another property to buy if you lost your home because of mortgage arrears or other debt problems. Many lenders may refuse to lend to you.

You must tell any new lender that your last home was repossessed.

A specialist mortgage broker may be more likely to find you a mortgage lender. You will probably be asked for a larger than normal deposit and may be charged higher than normal interest rates.

Find out more from the Money Advice Service about buying a home if you have problems getting a mortgage.

If you have a small deposit, you might be able to buy a place through a home ownership scheme.

If you buy another property while you still have an outstanding debt to your previous mortgage lender, your old lender may be able to put a charge on your new home and claim part of the proceeds when it is sold.

If the court made a money judgment when your previous home was repossessed, there is no time limit for when your previous lender can put a charge on your new home.

Advice about housing options after repossession

Contact a Shelter advice centre, Citizens Advice or other advice centre if you need housing advice after repossession.

Use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser

Michele's story

Michele ran her own successful company while raising a young family. Find out more about the unexpected life events that led to repossession and homelessness.

Read Michele's story.

Michele lost her home due to financial difficulties and ill health


Last updated 31 Dec 2016 | © Shelter

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