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What is an inhibition court order in Scotland?

Sharon McDougall - Updated - 22nd April 2024 - 3 minutes to read

Understanding inhibition orders in Scottish Law

An inhibition order is a form of diligence used by creditors in Scotland which affects what you can do with your heritable property. In Scottish law, ‘heritable’ property refers to all land and buildings that you own, whether you live in them or not. In most cases, an inhibition order will affect your primary place of residence, although if you own multiple properties, the one which is placed under restrictions will be clearly specified when you are served with the order. Prior to issuing an inhibition order, a creditor first needs to get a decree against you.

What does an inhibition order do?

If you have been placed under an inhibition order you will have certain restrictions over what you can do with your property. You will be prevented from selling or transferring your home, and you will also be unable to take out any further borrowing on the property. This includes remortgaging or taking out any other loans secured against the property. These restrictions are designed to stop you disposing of a highly valuable asset, and to prevent you reducing the amount of equity you have in your property. It is important to know that an inhibition order is placed upon you as an individual rather than on your property. That means that despite the restrictions, your creditor cannot sell the property or order you to leave. Ultimately, under an inhibition order you still own the property but you have restrictions over what you can do with it.

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What if I want to sell my property while under an inhibition order?

If for any reason you want, or need to, sell your property while under the restrictions of an inhibition order you will need to give your solicitor permission to deduct the amount you owe your creditor from the proceeds of the sale. You will need to sign a mandate agreeing to this before your creditor will lift the inhibition order and allow the sale to go ahead.

How long does an inhibition order last?

Typically, an inhibition order will last for five years, during which time you will be bound by the restrictions set out. Once the five years is up the order can be renewed; if not, it will cease to have an effect and you will be free to sell or remortgage your property if you wish.

How can I get out of an inhibition order?

If you have been served with an inhibition order there are several possible ways you can have this removed:

  • Pay off the debt in full - of course this is much easier said than done, and the simple fact is the majority of people will not be in a position to be able to do this.
  • Sequestration – this is the Scottish term for bankruptcy. This is a serious step to take and this must be done within 60 days of the inhibition order being granted. You should not go down this route without seeking professional advice first.
  • Ask for the inhibition to be set aside – you can go to court and ask that the inhibition order be lifted. You may be able to negotiate a time to pay arrangement or defend the case if you feel it has been issued in error.

What can I do next?

If you have been threatened with an inhibition order, time is very much of the essence. Failure to act will result in the inhibition order being granted leading to severe consequences for your future. You should make it a priority to contact a debt expert who can talk you through your situation and suggest the best way forward. The experts at Scotland Debt Solutions have almost 30 years’ experience of helping Scots in debt. No matter how bad you feel your situation is, we have the knowledge and expertise to help. Contact our team of advisers and start your journey to a debt free future today.

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Sharon McDougall


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