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Repossession by your landlord's mortgage lender

This advice applies to England

If you're facing eviction because your landlord has fallen behind with their mortgage payments, you might have a right to stay in the property.

If you don't have a right to stay, you can apply to delay possession of your home by up to two months. This could give you more time to find a new place to live.

Check you have a right to stay

If your landlord has fallen behind with their payments, their mortgage lender could take them to court to get possession of the property. This will usually give them permission to evict anyone who lives there.

You may have some rights if your tenancy is binding on the landlord's mortgage lender.

Your tenancy may be binding if any of these things apply to you:

  • the landlord’s lender agreed to the tenancy
  • you were living in the property when your landlord’s mortgage was granted
  • the landlord's lender has recognised your tenancy in some way, for example, by asking you to pay them rent

If you think your tenancy may be binding you should get advice, for example from your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you don't have a right to stay

If your tenancy is not binding on the landlord's lender, you have two opportunities to delay possession of your home by up to two months.

The first is before a judge issues a possession order. This is an order which says that the landlord's lender can take possession of your home and that you will have to leave by a certain date.

Before the hearing takes place, you can apply to the court so that you can join in the possession proceedings. The judge may then agree to postpone the date by which you have to leave your home.

You will have to pay a fee to make an application to court. You may be able to get the fee waived or reduced if, for example, you are on benefits such as Income Support or are on a low income.

You can get help to apply to court from your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you didn't apply to the court when the possession order was made, you have another opportunity to try to delay the repossession of your home. This is when the mortgage lender has applied for, or intends to apply for, a warrant of possession. The warrant of possession gives the court bailiff the authority to evict you from your home.

Before the lender can evict you it has to send a notice to your home saying that it is applying for a warrant. This is called a notice of execution of the possession order. At this stage, you can ask the landlord's lender to delay repossession for up to two months. If the lender refuses or does not reply to your request, you can apply to the court instead. But you should do this quickly because the court can issue a warrant of possession after 14 days have passed from the date on the notice that the lender sent to your home.

You can get help to contact the lender or apply to court from your nearest Citizens Advice.

You will have to pay a fee to make an application to the court. You may be able to get the fee waived or reduced if, for example, you are on benefits such as Income Support or are on a low income.

If repossession is delayed, you may be asked to make rent payments until you leave.

Repossession can be only be delayed by up to a maximum of two months and you can only make one application for a delay to be made.

When you'll have to leave

If the mortgage lender has started court action against your landlord, they should send a letter to the property addressed to the Tenant or Occupier telling you about the court hearing in advance. But in some cases, you may not be aware there is a problem until the court sends a notice to your home with details of the date on which the bailiffs will come to take possession of the property.

You will need to leave the property by this date. If you haven't left the property by this date, the mortgage lender may change the locks.

If you can't get into the property after the locks have been changed, you should contact the bailiffs or the lender so that you can be let into the property to collect your belongings.

Is there anything else you can do

You could consider suing your landlord for compensation for the loss of your tenancy, any storage costs and emergency accommodation. If you act quickly, you may be able to get compensation when the property is sold although this may depend on whether there is any money left from the sale of the property when the mortgage is repaid.

If you're facing eviction because of your landlord's mortgage arrears you should get advice, for example from your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you're homeless or about to be made homeless because of your landlord's mortgage arrears, you may be able to get help from your local authority.

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