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.
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
The eviction warrant is also called a warrant of possession or bailiff's warrant.
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
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.
Eviction notice from the bailiffs
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.
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 process can be quicker. You might only get a few days notice of the eviction.
You may still be able to stop or delay the eviction but the process is different.
Contact a Shelter adviser if you receive a letter from private bailiffs or HCEOs.
How to suspend a bailiff's warrant
You can ask the court to stop the eviction if you can show that you can:
- afford your monthly mortgage payment
- pay off the arrears by the end of the mortgage term
You must apply to the court on Form N244 and provide evidence of a reasonable repayment plan.
It costs £50 unless you apply for help with court fees because you're on a low income.
You should usually apply at least 3 days before the eviction date and tell your lender that you have done so.
The court may agree to suspend a warrant even on the actual day of the eviction but it's very risky to leave it this late. Phone the bailiffs first thing and tell them you've applied to suspend the warrant. If you don't tell them, the eviction could happen while you're at court.
How to complete the N244 form
Form N244 is available on GOV.UK.
You can either:
- complete it online and print it out
- print it out and complete it with a pen
Filling in the form
In the top box in the right hand corner fill in the name of the court, the claim number and the warrant number. You can find these details on the bailiff's notice of eviction.
Question 1 - Write your full name
Question 2 - Tick defendant
Question 3 - Write 'I ask the court to suspend the warrant for possession due to be executed on [date of eviction]. I can meet my contractual mortgage payments and offer [insert repayment proposal] each month towards the arrears.'
Question 4 - Tick no
Question 5 - Tick at a hearing
Question 6 - Write 0 hours 10 minutes and tick no
Question 7 - Leave blank
Question 8 - Write district judge
Question 9 - Write claimant
Question 9a - Leave blank
Question 10 - Tick evidence set out in the box below and provide details
Sign and date the Statement of Truth
You have a very small box to set out your evidence. You can continue on a separate piece of paper but be brief and factual.
It helps if you use short sentences and bullet points or numbered paragraphs.
- when and why you broke the terms of the original order
- what steps you have taken to prevent this happening again
- anything which has suddenly improved your financial situation
If you have enough time you should draw up a financial statement which shows your current financial position and attach this.
Returning the form
You should return the form to the court in person. If you apply to suspend a warrant on the day the eviction is scheduled you will have to wait at court for the response.
What the court can do
A judge will consider your application at a short hearing.
They might suspend the warrant on the terms you've asked for if you've made a reasonable and realistic proposal.
If you break the terms of a suspended warrant at a later date, the lender can ask the bailiffs to evict you.
You can ask a court to suspend a warrant more than once. But the more times you have to go back to court, the less likely a judge is to accept that you can afford to stay in your home.
The judge may decide that the eviction should go ahead.
Last updated 30 March 2020 | © Shelter
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