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Mortgage possession

This content applies to England

Procedure for a mortgage lender repossessing a property because of mortgage arrears. The types of court order and what happens after it is granted.

Legal framework

Legal background to court action for mortgage arrears. Lender's remedies differ depending on when mortgages were taken out. 

Possession proceedings for second charge loans

Lenders of second charge loans must comply with the pre-action protocol and potentially additional requirements before taking possession action. 

Lenders steps before court action

The steps the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires lenders to take before commencing court action. 

Pre-action protocol for lenders

The pre-action protocol that lenders should follow before taking possession action for mortgage or home purchase plan arrears. 

Mortgage arrears possession process

Rules for bringing a possession claim and sending notices, filing a defence, and the court powers during the hearing. 

Mortgage arrears possession claim defences

Borrowers should check mortgage documents for defects, amounts claimed for accuracy and lender’s behaviour for violations of borrower’s rights. 

How borrowers defend claims

Borrowers should complete the defence form and return it to the court, collect evidence and attend the hearing in judge’s chambers. 

Types of orders

Judges can make orders ranging from granting outright possession to dismissing the claim if it should not have been issued. 

Time orders

Borrowers can ask the court to make a time order to reschedule the amount due over a longer period if the lender has taken court action. 

Selling the home

Borrowers may sell the property to obtain a better price either during or after possession proceedings, and lenders rarely want to stop the sale. 

Changing court orders

Ways a borrower can apply to the court to challenge, alter or discharge a possession order. This advice applies only to residential mortgages. 

Eviction warrants

Bailiffs enforce possession warrants after the lender obtained them from court and served a notice on occupiers. 

After execution of the warrant

Court powers after repossession, the lender's duties to take care of the property and a reasonable price when selling the property. 

Mortgage shortfall debts

Borrowers may have to pay the outstanding amount to the insurer or lender if the proceeds of sale are not enough to pay off the mortgage in full. 

Possession proceedings for tenants of mortgagors

Borrowers' powers to grant tenancies, whether a tenancy is binding on the lender, and how tenants of borrowers can become involved in possession proceedings against their landlord 

Repossession of a shared ownership home

Combination of rights stemming from mortgage for a share of property and tenancy for the remainder complicates possession process. 

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