Preventing court action

If you are in arrears with your mortgage, your lender can take action in the county court to evict you from your property. But, if you act quickly, it may be possible to avoid going to court.

If you are threatened with eviction, you should talk to an adviser as soon as you can. Visit Shelter Cymru’s advice near you, call our helpline or send us an email. An adviser may be able to help you to negotiate and avoid the time and expense of going to court.

I have missed a mortgage payment – what can I do?

Most lenders will only repossess your home as a last resort. They usually prefer to sort out your payment problems in other ways. The sooner you contact your lender about any problems the better your chances of keeping your home.

If you have missed a payment on your mortgage, or think you are about to do so, try and write a letter or send an email to your lender as soon as possible.

Your letter should:

  • explain why you’re in arrears
  • say that you’re making every effort to clear the arrears
  • say that you’ll write to them again soon with a proposal for dealing with the arrears.

This will give you time to speak to an adviser and get help.

Contact an adviser as soon as you can. They may be able to help you consider your options and come up with a proposal to give to your lender.

Your options will probably depend on:

  • what type of mortgage you have
  • how far behind you are with payments
  • the reasons for missing payments (such as losing a job or illness)
  • if your financial problems are likely to be temporary or more long-term.

Try to make payments towards your mortgage in the meantime. It’s better to pay something rather than nothing, even if you can’t pay the full instalment.

For lots more information, see our page on how to deal with mortgage arrears.

I’ve received a letter from my lender

In most cases, the first thing you will receive is a letter from your lender reminding you that you have missed one or two payments. If your lender or its solicitor contacts you about your arrears, don’t ignore their letters or phone calls. If you don’t respond, your lender is much more likely to take you to court

Your lender will normally ask you to:

  • confirm how you intend to catch up on the missed payments, or
  • contact them to discuss your financial situation

If your lender isn’t satisfied with your proposals, or your arrears increase, they will probably write to you again. The second letter will usually tell you that solicitors will get involved unless you can clear your arrears or contact your lender to discuss your situation within seven days. It is often better to try and negotiate with your lender before solicitors become involved, as they may be unhelpful.

If you want help to negotiate with your lender, speak to a Shelter Cymru adviser.

I’ve received a letter from my lender’s solicitor

Once your lender has decided to pass the matter on to their solicitors, you will probably get a letter usually giving you seven days to pay off all the arrears or contact them with your proposal for doing so. If they are not satisfied with your response, they can start court action without any further warning.

Even at this stage it is still worth trying to negotiate with your lender or their solicitor. Even if you can’t come to an agreement, the court is more likely to be sympathetic if you made an effort to sort things out before legal action was started.

What if the case goes to court?

If you have not been able to stop your lender from starting court action, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose your home. It’s always worth trying to negotiate or reach a solution before the hearing. If this isn’t possible, it’s important you go to the court hearing so that you can explain your situation to the court.  At the hearing, the court will listen to both sides and decide what should happen to your home.

Always try to get advice as early as you can. Take a look at our pages on Going to court for lots more advice about what to expect at court and what you can do to avoid losing your home.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

This page was last updated on: October 12, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.