Help, my partner has been evicted!
November 10, 2009 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Eviction UK - what does a 're-entry' hearing involve? Please help!

My partner was thrown out his home (he is the owner) yesterday morning by bailiffs and didn't tell me till now (middle of night UK Time). He tells me he has something called a 're-entry hearing' this morning 11am at a court. He was unaware of having missed any mortgage payments as it is paid by direct debit. (money is not a problem he is in a well paid job and so am I but something has gone wrong somewhere). Due to ADD, he hadn't opened his post for a long period and hasn't done anything like get a lawyer or contact his bank, or seek advice, beyond doing what the bailiffs told him - to file for what he described to me as a 're-entry hearing'. I am worried sick - what does the re-entry hearing involve? What can we do? Is there anything he should do before it, or read before it? You are not my lawyer, but can you advise? Also if he does need a lawyer- how does he go about getting one urgently in London? Anything you can tell me which I could use to help him would be valued. Thanks!
posted by Flitcraft to Law & Government (7 answers total)
I can only speak to US law, but here a foreclosure eviction can only take place after a sheriff's sale -- after the property has been sold to a new owner. Also, the sheriff's sale can happen if taxes go unpaid.

Personally, I think this is as serious a situation as a non-criminal is likely to face in their lifetime and a lawyer is essential. This may be a good starting point.
posted by dhartung at 10:13 PM on November 10, 2009

Best answer: This might be a re-hearing of the possession order - if the bailiffs have evicted your partner, then the lenders have already been to court for a hearing, a hearing which your partner never attended. About that:
if you did not attend the original court hearing when the possession order was made, it may be possible to apply to set aside the possession order itself, but only if you can show the court:

* you had good reason for not attending the court, and
* you have acted quickly since finding out that a possession order was made, and
* you have a reasonable prospect of success when the possession hearing is re-heard (this time with you present)

You may even be allowed to get back into the property if you can raise the money to pay off your mortgage debt soon after the eviction.
If I was you, I would call Shelter as soon as their lines open at 8am, the number is 0808 800 4444. Also, "some courts have schemes where there are advisers on duty to help people on the day of the hearing. Ask the usher about this."

The fact that the re-entry hearing has been scheduled in the first place is a good sign, as it suggests the court considers that your partner fulfills some of the bullet-pointed criteria. Your partner will probably have to pay court costs unless it turns out that the lender was in the wrong and didn't follow protocol properly.

[not an expert, just trying to provide comfort through googling]
posted by so_necessary at 10:50 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: IAAL, IANYL, IwasARepoL.

First, it would not be just one missed payment that would lead to this action. The lender can't take action until at least two payments have been missed. There's also a protocol they have to follow before they're able to take court action. It's likely your boyfriend has ignored all attempts to contact him and the arrears are probably much worse than you know.

The re-entry hearing is for him to put his case to the court - he will be told what the arrears are, and the court will see if he's able to repay them. In the current property climate, lenders want their money, not another flat they can't sell for months. So if he has a family member who could lend him the money to repay the arrears immediately, the lender is likely to accept this.

As it's nearly 20 years since I was involved in repo work and I'm a bit rusty on this, I'm not sure if the court will be able to accept - once an eviction has taken place - an offer to repay the current monthly payment + an amount off the arrears each month. I know the court can definitely accept such an offer before repossession has taken place, but I don't know if its powers are limited post-eviction where the judge can only allow your boyfriend back in if he's able to repay the arrears in full.

The main thing is to talk to the lender. As I said, they don't want the flat, they want their money every month, so they may be amenable to accepting current monthly instalment + say £50 or £100 on top each month, or be willing to capitalise the arrears. Talk to their representative at court before the hearing and get your boyfriend to take his bank statements, pay slips and anything else evidencing his financing position with him. The representative won't be able to make any decision without referring back to the lender, because they're usually local solicitors appointed as agent for the lender.

The court costs will be added to the outstanding mortgage debt, because the mortgage deed provides for this. The judge usually says 'costs to security', which is what that means.

The hearing will take place in private, usually in the judge's chambers (office) and nobody will be wearing wigs, gowns or robes. Although you are not a legal representative, there should be no problem in you being allowed in with your boyfriend. It will be informal.

If the worst should happen and he is not allowed to take up occupation again, your boyfriend will be allowed to go back to the property - supervised by estate agents - to remove his belongings.

Incidentally, my upstairs neighbour was in this position and he regained entry to his flat over a month after he was evicted and had cleared out his stuff. (Unfortunatey. But that's another story ...) So today is not the end of the road if it doesn't go your boyfriend's way. Keep talking to the lender, see if they will capitalise his arrears (add them to the outstanding loan balance) which will give him a higher monthly payment but will allow him to go back into the flat.

Good luck.
posted by essexjan at 11:39 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks - this is really helpful. I spoke to a charity rep in the middle of the night and he was much less hopeful, because things had gone this far. I'll speak to shelter when the lines open. I'm hoping my relatively more solvent position might get us out of this.
posted by Flitcraft at 11:48 PM on November 10, 2009

I was once evicted from a house, and have been on both the "giving" and "receiving" ends of the English Magistrates courts on a couple of occasions since. The surprising thing is, they are very civilised occasions and I found them not the least bit intimidating. Speak plain English, state your case, say sorry if you have to. The magistrates are real people, often not lawyers per se, and they will try to help out.

For free legal advice and help, it's probably a bit late for today but speak to your Citizens' Advice Bureau. They have access to solicitors and other advisors who are often the same people you could hire for real money, but who offer their time for free and the common good. They got me out of a spot of bother with Thatcher's Poll Tax once upon a time, which netted me £600 in refunds at a time when it meant a lot to me. They work for free, so use them.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 1:37 AM on November 11, 2009

Response by poster: His hearing's been delayed till 2pm if anyone has any other ideas. I suspect we're going to have to raise money quickly - if anyone has any ideas about how best to do that
posted by Flitcraft at 4:55 AM on November 11, 2009

Response by poster: It turned out to be for a less awful sum than we thought. They gave us an hour and half to raise the money and we succeeded! Thanks so much for mentioning Shelter who were really helpful and for the tips about being ready to repay arrears immediately and for what he needed to take to court, that all turned out to be bang on. He now has his keys back! Thank you all!
posted by Flitcraft at 10:20 AM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

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