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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Get help at court if you're facing repossession or eviction

Going to court and facing the possibility of eviction or repossession creates unimaginable stress for many people.  Every day Housing Rights Service sends two specialist advisers, Maria and Eamonn, out to court hearings across Northern Ireland to offer free advice and representation to people who are attending court to try to save their homes.

Getting legal advice and representation can make all the difference when it comes to saving your family home. Our Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme, funded by the Department of Justice, allows us to help families and individuals who need help at their court hearing.   Maria and Eamonn are both qualified solicitors with many years’ experience dealing with repossession and eviction hearings.   

Maria and Eamonn can assist homeowners facing possession due to mortgage or secured loan arrears and tenants who face eviction because they’ve fallen behind on their rent.  

Claire’s story

Eamonn met Claire at Laganside Courts.  Claire was waiting outside the courtroom for her hearing.  The prospect of appearing in court was creating huge anxiety and she’d lost a lot of sleep worrying about what might happen.  The Housing Executive had issued Claire with a Notice Seeking Possession because she owed £1400 in rent.  Chatting with Claire, Eamonn found out that she is a single parent with a history of depression and that she’d been hospitalised in the past year due to her mental health issues.  Claire hadn’t felt equipped to deal with previous letters from the Housing Executive about her arrears but went to her hearing to try to save her home.  

Although Claire was trying to take control of the issue by attending her hearing, she was extremely nervous about speaking in court.  It was a huge relief to her that Eamonn would be on hand to negotiate with the Housing Executive and to speak to the court on her behalf.   Eamonn put forward a proposal to the courts that a direct deduction be made from Claire’s benefits and explained that Housing Rights Service would investigate further to see if Claire’s ill health warranted a backdated payment of housing benefit.

The Court accepted the proposal and stayed the Order -this effectively means that as long as Claire maintains the payments there will be no further action.

Claire was delighted with the outcome.  She’s sticking to the payment plan and pays extra off the arrears whenever she can as she’s keen to repay this debt as soon as possible.  Without Eamonn’s assistance, she and her daughter could very well have lost their home.

Once Eamonn got back to the office, he passed Claire’s details to one of our housing advisers who is now helping Claire make a backdated claim for housing benefit.

Getting help at court

Maria and Eamonn attend court every day to help homeowners and tenants who are facing possession because of debt.   They say that the most important thing people can do if they’re facing eviction or repossession is to get advice and attend their hearing.  Free help and representation is available.  

Tagged In

Repossession, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies

This article was written on 11 November 2014. 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.