I recently read that fewer UK homeowners are facing repossession today than at any time since 2007. That’s good news for them. Unfortunately for me, a 30-something female homeowner, I’m in a panic. I received a house repossession notice yesterday. I really don’t know what to do.
Then I remembered my friend, Susan. She lives a few doors down and last year she was in the same predicament. She was terrified. Everything she owns in the world is in her home. She’s a single mum with two jobs.I tried to recall exactly what happened in her situation but she’s a hardy soul. She got it sorted out somehow. I couldn’t find her phone number, so I pulled on a jumper and ran to her door.
As I ran, I mumbled under my breath, “Oh my God, I got a repossession notice yesterday. What am I going to do? It’s my bloody ex-husband’s fault. Maybe it’s my employer’s fault. He could give me a raise. Eh, I suppose it’s my fault. Maybe I’ll ask my boss for a raise tomorrow. Right now, I’ve got to figure a way out of this dilemma.”
I pounded on Susan’s door. She opened the door straight away and asked me to come in. “Want some tea, Jenny?” I nodded yes and started to cry.
“It’s so humiliating. What am I going to do? What did you do about the repossession notice? How did you sort it?”
Susan was calm. She smiled and said, “Don’t worry. You can stop repossession. I called TIC Finance and the saved our home.”
She asked what I know about the repossession process. I grimaced and said, “Practically nothing.”
Susan replied, “Let’s start there.”
What I Didn’t Know about Repossession in the UK is Shocking
I’ll admit it. I didn’t know anything about home repossession. That’s shocking. I thought I was financially literate.
Susan explained that, because a lender holds a lien on my home, it’s enforceable under the law. In other words, because I was late and made a partial payment when I couldn’t pay as agreed, the lender has the option to assume ownership of my house.
“It doesn’t seem fair. I wasn’t that late and I just sent the remainder of the payment I owed. It’s the first time…”
She took my hand. “That doesn’t matter. You must pay your mortgage loan.”
She continued, “Since the lender has the right to make financial claims against your property because of the mortgage, you’ve got to stop the lender from repossessing the property. It’s probably worth more now than when you bought it.”
Susan explained me the facts about repossession. She said, “The lender will try to recover principal, interest, and fees if the Court permits it to do so. Fortunately for us, the Court has to agree to let the lender repossess your home. That’s why it’s a good thing you’re here. I considered taking my keys over to our lender with my little boy tucked under my arm. Don’t do that. If the Court says the lender can take the property, it can sell your property.”
I put my teacup down on the table. “Does that mean I should sell the house?”
She shook her head. “No, you don’t have time. And you don’t want to sell your home. Where would you live? You need to stop the repossession.”
How Do I Stop the Lender from Repossessing My Home?
Yes, I used colorful language. I was crying and realized later that my mascara wasn’t waterproof. I looked awful.
Susan almost laughed at that point. “That’s the great part. The lender can only repossess the home if it follows all the rules of due legal process. It has to attempt to find a solution that’s mutually agreeable. The lender has to identify a payment plan that works for you before it can repossess your home.”
I looked at my hands. “I’m confused, Suze. No one from the lender discussed that idea with me.”
She nodded her head. “I know. They almost never do what they’re supposed to do. That’s why I used finance advisers to stop repossession. They know all the rules and you can stop hyperventilating about the problem.”
Susan explained what she knows about repossession law. “If your lender doesn’t follow the absolute letter of the law, you—and I—have grounds to stop their repossession attempt. Our laws in Mother England say we can stop the repossession process at any stage.”
I don’t remember when Susan pressed a business card into my hand. She explained more about no-cost housing advisers but then said, “You can’t do reach out to the free housing advisers because the notice is already in hand. You’ve got a court hearing date. You need legal help. You need help, because these laws are frightfully complex. Your rights are on the line, my girl.”
I need to take action immediately.