When You're a Tenant, your Landlord Disappears & the Halifax Repossesses!!! Any Comments/Help PLEASE...?

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Myself and family are in a right mess. After being repossessed ourselves 3 years ago, we ended up renting a house from a private landlord. He moved away 2 years ago and left us only a building society paying in book. We've never heard from him since and have no idea where he is.

Through various financial/health problems and job losses we built up rent arrears (and this obviously caused mortgage arrears) but with no-one breathing down our necks, we regrettably let it get out of hand. By now the property was falling into disrepair and we had no way of contacting the Landlord (a Bankrupt) who had seemingly left us to pay (or not)...with no concern for his property or finances. We've done our best but the Halifax have just been granted a repossession order on the house. What the hell do we do?

We've explained things to the Council Housing Dept. who are trying to rehouse us but they want us to become a third party to the proceedings to 'give them more time to rehouse us'. We're wary of doing this from a legal perspective but the Homelessness Department have all but said we must?!

We need to be out in 2 weeks time, we have no money, 3 young children and Christmas looming on the horizon. Not only that my partner is partially sighted and due an operation on 20th January but is so stressed I am really worried about him. We just don't know where to turn or what to do!

Any advice welcomed with open arms!

Tina :o(

-- Tina Freeman (hsr@counsellor.com), December 03, 2002


Whatever you do, stay in the house until you are notified that a Warrant of Possession has been issued to the local Bailiff following the possession order. You will get a visit or letter from the Bailiff about 7 days before he/she carries out the eviction. At that point, go to the court and speak to the staff about making an application on form N244 to suspend the warrant - you will have to tell the court you are on low income and will likely get off paying the fee. The court clerk will give you a date to go in front of the judge at which you can put your plea to be allowed some more time.

At the same time, make the local Housing Officer for Homelessness aware that you have a date for eviction and in front of the judge and you will come back and tell him/her what date you are being formally evicted. The Homlessness officer has a duty to rehouse you under certain circumstances and will make a decision as to whether or not they will (with young children they almost always have to), but be aware that you may not be given a house immediately - you may go into a hostel or lodgings or even a hotel short term.

When you do get your new place - make sure you go see either the CAB or WElfare Rights officer for your local council to get help with filling in all the forms to get all the benefits you are entitled to.

Good luck!

-- David J. Button (davidjohnbutton@supanet.com), December 03, 2002.

As far as the building society are concerned, their contract is between them and your landlord and right now they want to foreclose on the loan.

Your landlord should have asked permission to let the house from the lender, I had to do this and provide the name of the tenant. Regardless of this, the tenant has no rights when the lender wants to repossess.

Many solicitors give a half hour interview for free, ring round local solicitors and see who may be able to help you, they will at least me able to let you know your rights and what you can do, the solicitor will also be able to advise you if you can be a third party to the proceedings and what is involved.

The CAB can also help you, however unless you live in a city then its likely that you'll have to wait a few days until the duty solicitor can see you. Most of the CAB 'duty solicitors' will work for local firms, so its worth ringing round.

Get in touch with the Bailiff's office of the local court and explain the situation, its possible that they don't evenknow there is a tenant in the house. The Bailiff may just be able to delay the actual repossession, even if its only a week, its better than nothing.

Good luck

-- pendle (pendle_666@yahoo.co.uk), December 04, 2002.

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