If you are facing repossession, try to get legal advice and help as early as you can. Legal aid may be available.
Legal advice at court
If you don't already have legal help, specialist housing legal advisers may be on duty at the court on the day of the hearing to help you.
This legal advice service can be called:
- housing possession court duty scheme
- court desk scheme
- duty scheme
The service is free of charge. The adviser can give you last-minute advice, negotiate with your mortgage lender or their solicitor and speak for you in court
Contact the court and ask if they have advisers on duty when your case is due in court.
Use the Court Finder to find contact details for the court.
You can usually take an adviser, friend or family member with you into the courtroom to help you. If you would like them to speak on your behalf, you must ask the court usher or judge if this is allowed.
You are more likely to keep your home if you attend the court hearing.
Legal aid for repossession problems
You might be able to get help from a legal aid lawyer if you claim benefits or have a low income.
You may be able to get legal aid to help with:
- possession proceedings for mortgage arrears – after you have received a letter that says your lender may start court action
- court proceedings for an order of the sale of your home – this includes if a letter from a creditor says 'if we obtain a charging order we will apply for an order for the sale of your home'
- bankruptcy proceedings where your home is at risk – if a statutory demand has been received or court action is threatened
You can also try to get legal advice for emergencies, for example if court bailiffs tell you that you're going to be evicted after a repossession order.
Advice from a housing or debt adviser
Try to find an adviser who can help you for free even if you can't get legal aid.
If you get legal advice and help with mortgage arrears as early as you can, it will be easier to deal with your mortgage problems without going to court.
Get advice if you:
- start having money problems
- get letters about mortgage arrears from your mortgage lender
- get letters from a court giving the date of a court hearing
Have the papers you received from the court with you when you speak to an adviser.
For help from a helpline adviser, call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 . For face to face help, use Shelter's directory to find a housing or debt adviser at a Shelter advice service, Citizen's Advice or law centre.
Check the Gov.uk Legal Adviser Finder for solicitors in your area.
The repossession process can be stopped at any stage. An adviser may be able to help with this. An adviser can explain what happens in court and can check if there's a good reason why you shouldn't lose your home.
Debt advice for money problems
To get free help with debt and money problems, contact:
Repossession advice from debt charities is free. You don't have to pay for this type of advice and help.
Video: Help on the day of your hearing
Last updated 29 Nov 2016 | © Shelter
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