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Communication is the key to preventing Court action

View profile for Joanne Ellis
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It has recently been reported by Shelter that 2% of the British population have recently used a payday loan company to help them to pay their rent or mortgage payments. This may not sound like a lot but that amounts to around 1 million households in the UK. Recent statistics show that 63% of the general population are struggling to afford to pay their rent or mortgage every month and with gas and electricity prices continuing to rise, the future can look bleak.

When faced with financial problems and rising debts the immediate response for a lot of people is to bury their head in the sand and avoid contact with their landlord or mortgage lender. We see it on a regular basis when assisting tenants and mortgagees in defending possession proceedings on the Legal Aid Court Duty Scheme.

Both landlords and mortgage lenders should have systems in place to help those who are facing financial difficulties and arrears on their rent or mortgage account. Contacting them early to arrange a repayment plan can ultimately prevent them from beginning possession proceedings. In this sort of situation, communication really is the key. The first time a tenant or mortgagee discusses a repayment plan should not be as they are walking through the Court door.

There are protocols in place to regulate the way lenders and landlords should act when dealing with borrowers or tenants who are in arrears. The protocols generally aim to ensure that lenders and landlords are acting fairly and providing information as early as possible in a clear way. If your lender or landlord is not answering your telephone calls, is not willing to negotiate or rejects reasonable offers of repayment they may be in breach of the relevant protocol.

You should ensure you keep evidence of any difficulties you encounter such as dates and times of telephone conversations and any letters you receive. If the matter does end up in a Court evidence of your attempts to communicate with your lender or landlord and their refusal to engage could be vital.

If negotiations with your landlord or mortgage lender are not successful and you are issued with possession proceedings or a Warrant of Eviction contact us, as our specialist Housing team may be able to assist you.

By Jessica Knott, graduate paralegal in the housing law team