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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am attending court tomorrow - Lloyds bank are seeking a repossession

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I am attending court tomorrow - Lloyds bank are seeking a repossession order. They have a charge on my home to secure my husband's business debt. The property is in my name and I signed the original charge. I am hoping for a suspended order and Lloyds solicitors are not responding to my offer of a payment and request for 6 months suspension. Can the judge at the hearing grant a suspension. My solicitor says he/she cannot and only Lloyds bank can grant this. Thank you, ***** *****
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jo - I just want to know whether the judge at court can grant a suspended reposession order. My solicitor says he cannot and that only Lloyds bank can do this. They are not responding to my solicitor so am fearing the worst.
Do they already have the order and thereafter a warrant or is it the order that they are applying for.?

How much are the arrears and what period does this represent?

What offer have you made in respect of the arrears and apart from the arrears, are you now paying the full amount of the loan?

Is this the first hearing?

When did you last pay the full amount of the monthly mortgage payment? Have you already paid anything off the arrears?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It is the order that they are applying for.
It is the first hearing.
There are no arrears as such. Lloyds have been discussing things with my husband. The charge they have is a second charge. They are asking for £125k. Original mortgage outstanding is £75k. Property worth £300k if sold privately which is what I want to do. This is why I am hoping for a suspended order. If repossessed by Lloyds I fear that a forced sale will leave me with both no home and debt to Lloyds.
I have offered them £1000.00 a month.
Mortgage with original lender is up to date.
If there are no arrears on the money the your husband owes, why are they pressing for possession? Is your husband completely up-to-date with the money that he owes to the bank?
If there are no arrears, what is the thousand pounds per month you've offered?
If it is in respect of your husband's debt, when did they start pressing you for this and when did you offer the £1000? Why have you not paid anything off it already?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My husband's business folded in 2012. Lloyds have been writing intermittently. My husband has not shown me any correspondence in the mistaken view that he was protecting me. The possession order was a shock to me. I assume that Lloyds have asked for payment in the correspondence but I don't think they have asked for a repayment plan offer - they have asked for full payment only.
The money owed was for business overdraft for which I signed a £75k charge on my property. Lloyds subsequently duped me into signing an open-ended extension to this. My solicitor agrees that they acted unethically and improperly but says that I will not be able to pursue this as it will cost thousands.
I have offered the £1000.00 a month and would happily pay this indefinitely. My solicitor says that they will go for possession whatever I offer and my best case scenario is to get a suspended order so that I can sell the property myself.

I simply do not have enough information at the moment to be able to answer you. I need to know the size of the problem.

It appears that your husband’s business folded in2012 owing at least £75,000. Since then, what attempts have been made to repay the money?

When did the bank first get in touch with you (not your husband) advising you that they were going for possession?

When did they tell your husband about that?

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No attempts have been made to repay the money. The letters have been addressed to me but I didn't see them as my husband got to them first.
All I really want to know is - does the judge have the power to grant a suspended possession order? My solicitor says not, without agreement from Lloyds. I would feel better if I feel that I can ask the judge and he will give me a chance.

The higher the arrears/the longer the money’s been outstanding without being paid, and if there’s been no attempt to deal with anything in the interim (since 2012) the less chance you have of getting the order refused.

At the moment, they don’t have an order you say in which case you are asking for a suspended order as opposed to having an order suspended. In actual fact, you don’t have an order suspended you have it set aside.. However these are just words.

By getting suspended order you are doing however is putting off the inevitable because the bank are unlikely to order the bank to accept £1000 per month off you in the long term because that would mean that it would take probably seven years to repay the amount outstanding with interest accruing. It would not help you if you have not already paid this amount every month since 2012 and for some reason are only offering it now when being pressed.

You also had since 2012 to make arrangements to pay the house although I can understand that you didn’t know what was happening and that your husband appeared to have buried his head in the sand. The courts understand that and so do the lenders however the lenders could not care less and their solicitors (who get paid for dealing with this) will simply pursue the whole thing regardless.

I suggest that the first thing in the morning (agreeing with what your solicitor says and it would have helped if you’d done this already) you instruct estate agents to come round to value the property with a view to putting it on the market. That way, you are in control of the selling process and you will be able to get the maximum sale price.

However you not going to be able to hold out for top dollar quite simply because you need to get the property sold within the suspension period. It hasn’t exchanged or completed by the time the six months is up but your solicitor can confirm that he has instructed to sell the property and that contracts are already out, you have a better chance of getting another month or so extension later on. It’s probably not enough time for you to provide a letter from the agent confirming the instruction to sell the property but at least the name and address of the agent would assist.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks Jo. I understand that I should have done something about this before. It's devastating to know that I could have done something about it. However, the situation is what it is and I'm just trying to make the best of it. I know it would be difficult to sell the property in 6 months for top dollar but feel I would get more for it when it looks nice than as an empty reposession.
I'm confused by the different terms. My solicitor says if order is granted I will have 28 days to leave. What do I need to ask for in order to get a 6-month reprieve of reposession?

Your solicitor should try to negotiate before this gets into court and say exactly what you’re asking for. Courts do not routinely throw people out of their homes particularly on the first application by a lender.

You are asking the judge to suspend the possession order for six months provided you meet certain criteria and the criteria are that you pay £1000 per month (offer it by standing order) and that you immediately market the property with an agent at the price suggested by (say) the lowest of three local agents (for a sale which is not too protracted).

This link explains a little more

And here is another link from Citizen’s advice . Scroll about two thirds of the way down the page

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks Jo - has the judge got the power to do this?
My solicitor has been trying to negotiate before court but Lloyds solicitors just ignore him, which makes me fear the worst.
My only hope is that the judge will suspend the possession order for 6 months.
All I really want to know is can he do this himself without agreement from the lenders?

Remember that the solicitors have no interest in settling early. They want to get paid for going to court! It's worthwhile trying them again in the morning before actually sitting in front of the judge.
Yes, the judge has the power to actually make any order he likes although if it's illogical, he stands to be appealed
If it could only be done with the agreement of the lender, would never happen because the lenders would simply want their money back and would never agree which is exactly what you are experiencing.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Final question Jo - please answer me honestly - what do you think my chances are?
I dont gamble but better than 50-50 as its the first hearing
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks Jo - you've been really helpful. One last thing - am I better off speaking in court myself or letting solicitor do it?
It depends on what you value.
Solicitors cost obviously.
They are generally better than going into court unrepresented but there is a cost.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Aside from cost what would you advise? I've had conflicting advice. I've been told that judges listen more if it's yourself asking? Do they perhaps feel more sorry for you if you're representing yourself? So far my solicitor hasn't really had much response from the lenders.
Judges can do that because solicitors cost money which could have been paid off the debt. it depends if you feel comfortable with it. You are asking for someithing which isnt legally complex. Merely a concession really
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Well I'm shaking in my boots at the thought of it but am determined to do what's best. If I'm able - will that be viewed by the judge as more favourable?
If you are representing yourself, it's always a good job to apologise to the judge if you start to cry (not uncommon) or are nervous or don't know the system.
If you get the judge to like you, that is always an advantage.
If ever the judge is reading papers, wait till he stopped reading before saying anything and more importantly don't interrupt either when the other side are speaking or when the judge is speaking. If they say something you don't agree with, address it afterwards.
Good luck.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you so much Jo. I'm signing out now. You really have helped me. Thank you.
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.