Housing and Property
Tel: 0300 123 4566
The information on this page is available in our leaflet 'Keeping your home and where to get advice' .
Lenders (for example banks or building societies) must by law tell us when they take court action to repossess your house. We want to help you keep your home. The quicker you act, the more likely you are to be able to keep your home and get yourself out of debt.
If you are confused or worried about what to do, phone us now on 0300 123 4566.
If you feel able to cope, please read on. We will explain what you need to do and where you can get free and confidential information.
Whatever you decide, please do something and act now. If you ignore court papers, your lender can get a judgement against you automatically. This may mean that you lose your home and become homeless
The possibility of becoming homeless often makes people feel anxious, frightened, depressed and unable to cope. You may feel that your world is crashing in on you. Remember, everyone facing homelessness feels like that. The first step is asking for help.
You can get free legal and money advice to help you access your rights, take control of your life, and save your home. This page tells you what you can do to prevent homelessness and where you can get free legal advice and assistance and support for any other problems you might have.
If your lender is taking court action against you they will send you a legal document called a Notice. They can start court proceedings. You may be able to get help under the Mortgage Rights (Scotland) Act 2001 (the Act) . So, you must get legal advice immediately.
You have the right to contest court proceedings for the repossession of your home. The Act allows you to ask the court to give you:
This also applies if you live in the house and are married to, or are the partner of, the person in mortgage arrears. Even if the owner has left, a former cohabitee may be able to apply. The important thing is to act quickly and contact one of the agencies listed at the end of this page.
You need to apply to the court within 21 days from when you receive the ‘initial writ’ – that is the formal Court papers which were served on you.
Yes, you will normally need a solicitor to represent you in court. You can access one through the agencies listed at the end of this page. When you see a solicitor or any advisor remember to bring the following paperwork:
If you have a low income/savings you may get free or cheap legal advice and help. You may be entitled to civil legal aid or advice and assistance which can pay for outlays and whatever needs to be done to defend you. For more information contact the Civil Legal Advice Office (Highlands and Islands) , which covers the Moray area.
On an application under the Act the Sheriff can continue or freeze (sist) the case in order for you to pay your mortgage and pay something towards the arrears. The Sheriff can also give you time to sell your home or make an application under the Scottish Government’s Mortgage to Rent scheme which allows you to become a secure tenant of your home by selling it to a housing association.
You should contact your lender as soon as possible. You may be able to make a repayment plan with your lender. However, if you do enter into a repayment plan with your lender please remember that if they have raised a court action against you the repayment plan will not of itself prevent a court judgment being granted. They may get this by default if you fail to make an application under the Act within 21 days from receiving the court papers.
Although your lender may say they will not enforce this court order, if you get into further difficulties they can. It is always safer to use the Mortgage Rights (Scotland) Act 2001 to prevent any court order from being granted and to provide you with the maximum legal protection. Using the Act will also let you get the court case dismissed once you’ve established regular payments.
You may be able to get help from the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) to pay your mortgage interest if you get:
If you are on Income Support, income based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income related Employment and Support Allowance, you may normally only get help towards your mortgage interest after you have been claiming the benefit for 13 weeks. If you get Pension Credit, you may be eligible to receive help towards your housing costs from the start of your claim. If your mortgage or other qualifying loans are more than £200,000 in total, your housing costs might not be met in full.
If you can get this help, it will not cover all of your mortgage payments. It will provide a contribution towards the mortgage interest payments.
Even if you are not claiming one of these benefits right now you might still be eligible for help. Please contact a free money advisor to check your entitlement (contact details are at the bottom of this page).
It is your responsibility to make a claim for help with housing costs. You can get free help to do so and more information from one of the agencies listed at the end of this page.
This could help pay your mortgage and arrears. The checklist below contains some suggestions. Remember there could be other possibilities and you can discuss all of these with one of the agencies listed at the end of this page.
You could put any money saved towards your mortgage and arrears. The checklist below contains some examples:
Yes. There are other housing options that you can consider.
The Scottish Government operates two schemes as part of this Fund to help owners who are experiencing difficulty in paying any loans that are secured against their property - the Mortgage to Rent scheme and the Mortgage to Shared Equity scheme . Under the Mortgage to Rent scheme they can arrange for a social landlord such as a housing association to buy your home and for you to continue to live there as a tenant. The Mortgage to Shared Equity scheme involves the Scottish Government taking a financial stake in your home. You will still own your home and continue to have responsibility for maintaining and insuring it. But you will be able to reduce the amount you have to pay to your lender every month.
There are a variety of types of accommodation available across Moray, including furnished and unfurnished properties. Although the private rented sector can, in general, be more expensive than the social rented market, it may be an affordable option for you. You may be eligible for Local Housing Allowance. This is a benefit that may cover all, or part of your rent. It is based on the area that you live in and the number of people living in the property.
This includes housing managed by public authorities and housing associations (registered social landlords or RSLs). Providers of social housing use allocation policies (set of rules) to decide how to give out their housing. Some of the rules are based on the law, and others are up to the individual council or RSL to decide. Most providers allocate properties based on a person’s housing need.
For more information on any of the above, please refer to our 'Guide to Housing Options in Moray' or contact us.
Once your home has been repossessed and the locks have been changed it will be too late to do anything about this. However, even if a court order (decree) has been granted for the repossession of your home it might still be possible to save your home prior to the locks being changed.
It may be possible for a solicitor to ask the court’s permission to lodge a late application under the Mortgage Rights (Scotland) Act 2001 . To do this the court order against you has to first be recalled - this is known as ‘reponing’. You will not be able to make a late application if you had already defended the case and made an earlier application under the Act.
If you have no prospect of saving your home or you become homeless, we may have a duty to provide you with temporary or permanent accommodation. Please contact us as soon as possible. You can also get independent advice on your legal rights from one of the advice agencies listed below.
If your lender wants to evict you get advice immediately. If you ignore court papers your lender can get a judgment against you automatically and you may lose your home.