If you are being taken to court by your landlord or mortgage lender you will need to start getting ready for the hearing as soon as possible.
Some of the organisations that may be able to help you are included as links on this website.
If it is your first hearing you should be told about the date and time on a court form called ‘Claim form for possession of property’. The form will have been filled in by the ‘Claimant’ (your landlord or mortgage lender) and stamped by the Court. You should receive it at least three weeks before the hearing and in most cases between four and eight weeks before the hearing.
As well as the hearing date, which is usually on a Tuesday, the court forms will include the claimant’s details and the case that they are presenting to the court. It is important that you check the forms for mistakes or for anything you disagree with.
You will also receive a defence form which gives you an opportunity to explain your situation to the court. You do not have to fill in the defence form and it is a good idea to get help from a solicitor or independent advice agency before filling it in.
You and/or your representative will be able to speak at the hearing, which is why getting ready in advance is important. This can mean checking any arrears figures, and checking the dates and contents of any notices or letters the claimant says they have sent to you.
You will also need to think about any steps you can take before the hearing to improve your case; such as making any rent or mortgage payments to reduce any arrears, or to stop them from increasing.
Although most people are nervous about going to the hearing it is important that you go, as otherwise the court may not know enough about your situation and it is more likely you will lose your home.
Even if you are worried that you may not be able to make an offer that is likely to be accepted, by going to the hearing you will show that you want to deal with the problem and in some circumstances the court can give you more time to sort something out.