Coronavirus update: repossessions are on hold
The Financial Conduct Authority has said that mortgage lenders shouldn't start or continue court action for repossession until at least 31 October.
That means they must not go to court for a repossession order or ask bailiffs to evict you.
You can ask your lender for support if you're struggling because of coronavirus.
Who are bailiffs?
Bailiffs who evict people from repossessed properties are usually employed by the local county court.
Some lenders use high court enforcement officers (HCEOs) to carry out an eviction. These are private bailiffs who are authorised by the high court.
The bailiff's job is to give the repossessed property back to your lender. You and anyone living in your home will have to leave.
You can stay in your home right up until the date of the bailiff's eviction warrant if you need to. You can move out before then if you have somewhere else to stay.
When bailiffs can be asked to evict you
Eviction is the final stage of mortgage possession action.
The lender can ask bailiffs to carry out an eviction if the court has made:
- an outright order and the date for possession has passed
- a suspended possession order and you break the terms of the order
What the lender must do
The lender must:
- apply for an eviction warrant from the court
- provide evidence if you've broken the terms of a suspended order
There won't usually be a hearing but the lender must send a notice to your home to say they've applied for a warrant.
The notice may be addressed to the tenant or the occupier.
You could be evicted 14 days after this notice unless you take action. Find out how to stop an eviction after a repossession hearing.
If you're a tenant in the property
Find out if you can stop or delay an eviction if your landlord defaults on their mortgage.
When you get an eviction date
You will get another letter with the date of the eviction once it has been scheduled.
The lender will usually use county court bailiffs to carry out an eviction.
How soon it happens depends on how busy the local county court bailiffs are.
You'll get a notice of eviction from the bailiffs. The notice tells you:
- the time and date of the eviction
- what you can do about it
- contact details for the bailiffs and the lender's solicitor
It's still not too late to take action. You may be able to ask the court to suspend the warrant or postpone the date for eviction. You can also ask for homeless help from your local council.
What happens when an eviction takes place
If you're still in the property, the bailiffs will show you identification and ask you to leave.
A locksmith will usually change the locks once you've left.
The lender's agent will also be there. The bailiffs give the keys to them.
How bailiffs should behave
Bailiffs must act reasonably. They are not allowed to:
- use violence, threaten or harass you or other people in your home
- cause damage to your belongings
- use offensive language
They can force entry if necessary but they should give you time to leave first.
Removal of belongings
You should arrange for removal and storage of your furniture and possessions before the eviction takes place.
Your belongings will be locked inside the property unless you remove them.
The lender only has to take care of your possessions for a limited period.
The lender usually writes and asks you to collect your belongings by a certain date. For example, within 2 weeks of the eviction. They could take steps to dispose of your belongings if you don't collect them by the date stated.
The council can help with storage of your belongings if you're homeless or facing homelessness. They can make a reasonable charge for this.
Last updated 30 March 2020 | © Shelter
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