If you are threatened with house repossession, you need to act quickly. You may be able to negotiate more time to pay – it is often the case that repossession can be stopped or temporarily halted, also offering you time to obtain professional advice.
You must do all you can to make alternative payment arrangements so that if the case goes to court, the Sheriff will see that you have made every effort to resolve the situation.
The actions available to you depend on how far the court process has gone. Let us look at each stage leading up to repossession, and the possible actions you can take.
You will have received a Notice of Default if you have missed one or more payments. You have a month in which to do one of the following:
The Home Owners’ Support Fund is a government-run scheme available to residents in Scotland. There are two options that may help you avoid repossession:
If you have been unable to repay your mortgage arrears or negotiate more time to pay, you may receive a ‘Calling Up Notice’ from the lender.
A Calling Up Notice effectively marks the end of your original loan. They should send the notice by recorded delivery, and are also obliged to inform your local council of your situation.
The council may get in touch to offer support and advice – some local councils even offer to intervene depending on the circumstances of the individual.
So what can you do on receipt of a Calling Up Notice?
If court action proceeds, your creditor will have applied to the court for a Section 24 Notice and an Initial Writ.
On receipt of these court documents you can defend the action if you reply to the court within 21 days. Disputing the existence or amount of arrears will result in postponement of the repossession so that the lender can provide more evidence.
You could also gain more time if you feel that you can repay the debt in full, but just need a little more time. This is termed ‘asking for the case to be continued.’ The Sheriff may allow this, but if you fail to repay during this extended time period the repossession will go ahead.
You should seek the advice of a professional Insolvency Practitioner at the earliest stage of difficulty. Do not leave it too long, as once you get into mortgage arrears your lender may act quickly to begin repossession.
Scotland Debt Solutions can offer guidance and support. With offices located around Scotland, we provide free personal insolvency advice to Scottish residents in financial difficulties.
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