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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Adviser: Making an application for a stay of enforcement

Toni and Marc came to Housing Rights for help when they feared that they’d lose their home.  Toni and Marc bought their home back in 2003.  Since moving in they’d had three children:  Jordan, Sam and Lily.   Catherine, one of our advisers, had to make an application for a stay when negotiating with the lender proved fruitless.

Retraining to find a new career path

Marc had decided to go back to university after Lily was born with the hope that his new qualifications would give him better career prospects and make it easier for him to support his family.  Unfortunately, despite graduating with a good degree, Marc found it difficult to get permanent work. Toni found work while Marc was at university and continued to work part time after he graduated, but the couple just weren’t earning enough to manage all their financial commitments.  

The couple fell behind on their mortgage and were summonsed to court for a possession hearing in June of last year.  The couple felt unable to negotiate with their lender and couldn’t make any realistic proposal to pay their arrears or keep on top of their regular monthly payments.  They didn't know where to get advice and were unable to attend the hearing.  In their absence, a possession order was granted. 

Positive change in circumstances

Six months later Marc was offered a well-paid job by a company he’d previously interviewed for.  This new job paid enough for them to start repaying what they owed and would mean they could comfortably afford their regular monthly payments and other bills.  Although the couple had been told that the possession order was in the process of being enforced, Toni called Housing Rights to see if there was any chance that we could help save their family home.  

Catherine, one of our specialist mortgage debt advisers, approached Toni and Marc’s lender with a repayment proposal in an effort to stop enforcement .  Unfortunately, this offer was rejected by the bank.   Catherine spoke with Toni and encouraged her to keep making her monthly mortgage payment and to top up this payment each month with a set amount.  This would start reducing the arrears and would build up a good payment history for the couple.

Toni and Marc followed Catherine’s advice.  Five months down the line, Catherine submitted another proposal to the lender.  Catherine argued that the clients’ recent payment history showed that they could afford the mortgage instalment and maintain a repayment proposal to deal with the arrears.  Despite this, the lender refused to stop the enforcement process unless the clients paid a lump sum towards the arrears.  Toni and Marc couldn’t afford to do this and were devastated by the lender’s decision.

Challenging lender’s refusal with a stay application

At this stage, Catherine felt that the only option left to the clients if they wanted to keep their home would be to draft a stay application and lodge this before the Chancery Master.   At court, Catherine made the same repayment proposal which the Master was happy to accept.  The Master was not impressed by the lender’s insistence reluctance to accept the proposal at an earlier stage without a lump sum payment.  The Master granted the stay application and the eviction was cancelled.  

Toni and Marc were delighted with the news and thrilled that they could keep their home.  Their experience shows how crucial it is to get independent advice when you’re facing repossession no matter how late you’ve left it.  An experienced debt adviser may be able to help you save your home even when it seems like all hope is lost.

Get advice

Contact our mortgage debt advisers on 0300 32 30 310 if you are struggling with your mortgage payments or fear losing your home. 

Tagged In

Repossession, Practical tips, Adviser

This article was written on 27 August 2015. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.