A Guide to Home Repossessions During Covid-19

A Guide to Home Repossessions During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented health crisis, but it also had a knock-on effect on people’s finances. As lockdowns were imposed, many businesses were forced to temporarily cease trading and millions of workers were left without an income.

During this time, the government introduced a variety of schemes designed to help alleviate financial concerns. Some workers were eligible for furlough payments via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme while they were unable to work, for example, while some self-employed people were able to claim help from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Despite this, a considerable number of people suffered financial hardship as a result of Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. For many, this resulted in missed mortgage payments and increasing Arrears.

Were Homes Repossessed During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

To mitigate the financial and practical effects of the pandemic, mortgage lenders were encouraged to postpone repossession proceedings, even when homeowners had missed more than three repayments. To prevent homeowners being evicted as a result of repossessions, the government placed a moratorium on repossession procedures from March 2020 to April 2021, which gave homeowners additional protection.

During the same time period, banks and mortgage lenders offered homeowners payment deferrals or ‘payment holidays’ for up to six months, if their finances were negatively affected due to Covid-19. This helped a significant number of people avoid house repossession, particularly if their income was temporarily reduced due to continued lockdowns.

Have House Repossessions Increased Since the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Although mortgage lenders were not permitted to initiate repossession proceedings from March 2020 to April 2021, they have been able to take court action against homeowners who are in mortgage arrears since this time.

As many people are still facing financial difficulties due to the impact of Covid-19, this has left a significant number of homeowners in a precarious situation. Recent statistics showed that the rate of repossessions in late 2022 more than doubled compared to the same period in 2021, for example.

While lockdowns may have ceased by this time and many people may have considered the pandemic to be over, there’s no doubt that, in many cases, the impact of Covid-19 will have contributed to the financial difficulties that led to these repossessions.

Although repossessions were higher in 2022 than 2021, you may be surprised to learn that the rate of repossessions is still lower than pre-pandemic levels. In fact, claims, warrants and repossessions are at 50%, 44% and 36% respectively, compared to before the pandemic.

Can My House Be Repossessed If I’m Suffering Financially Due to Covid-19?

There is no longer a moratorium on repossessions in place, so mortgage lenders can initiate court proceedings and take possession of your property, even if your financial difficulties have been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic or the associated lockdowns. However, there are numerous ways to stop house repossession and our legal experts can help you to keep your home.

How to Stop House Repossession

If you want to stop repossession without having to sell your home, HomeKeep Solutions can provide the advice and support you need. From assisting you with court action to negotiating with lenders, there are many ways we can help you to stop house repossession, such as:

1. Setting Up a Repayment Plan

If you can negotiate a repayment plan with your mortgage lenders, they will not initiate court action and, providing you stick to the plan and make the appropriate repayments, you won’t be subject to repossession proceedings.

When you explain your circumstances to your mortgage lender, you might be surprised at how sympathetic they are, particularly if your financial difficulties are Covid-related. As a result, clearing your arrears and avoiding house repossession could be easier than you think.

2. Applying for a Suspended Possession Order

If repossession proceedings have already begun, it’s not too late to keep your home. Instead of allowing the mortgage lender to obtain an outright possession order, you can ask the court to issue a suspended possession order instead. This will give you the option to stay in your home and repay your arrears via a repayment plan set out by the court.

3. Ask the Court to Suspend an Eviction Order

If a possession order has been granted and you’ve received an eviction notice, you can submit an N244 form to apply for an emergency court hearing. At this hearing, you’ll have the opportunity to ask the court to suspend or set aside the eviction order and, if you’re successful, you’ll be able to stay in your Home.

Get Expert Help from HomeKeep Solutions

Our experienced team are available 24/7, so you can get help and advice at any time of the day or night. If you’re worried about mortgage arrears or your lender has already started the repossession process, contact HomeKeep Solutions now and find out how we can help you.