The way the courts are dealing with possession cases has changed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lenders can start court proceedings to repossess mortgaged properties during the pandemic and courts are still able to process possession cases, but lenders have been told that they cannot ask bailiffs to evict you until 30 June 2021.
There are also some new stages in the possession process. These include:
Reactivation Notices: if your lender started court proceedings before 3 August 2020 it is likely that it was put on hold for a time. Your lender must send a Reactivation Notice to you and the court to re-start the case. In the notice they must give information to the court about the impact coronavirus has had on you and your family. Make sure you tell your lender straight away if you are struggling because of coronavirus, for example, if your income has reduced and you cannot pay your mortgage. It is best to do this in an email. Your lender will then have to pass this information on to the court in any Reactivation Notice.
Your lender does not have to send a reactivation notice if they already have a possession order or ‘notice of eviction’ from the court.
Review Date: in most cases the court will set a Review Date for the judge to review the papers and see if an agreement can be reached before a court hearing takes place. You don’t need to go to court on the Review Date but you will be told when it is so that you can try and reach an agreement if possible.
Courts remain open but some hearings might be dealt with by telephone or a video link. Make sure you contact the court in advance of any court hearing if you are worried about going to the court because of coronavirus.
Court duty advisers are available to help you on any Review Date or at any possession hearing. Details of how to contact an adviser should be sent to you with the papers from the court.
If you have received possession papers from the county court, see our page getting ready for court action.
Always get advice if possession proceedings have started against you. You could still lose your home during the pandemic.
If you are able you should still pay towards your mortgage while you are waiting for a court hearing.
Repossession should always be a last resort. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage because of coronavirus you might be able to apply for a payment holiday. Click here for more information.