House repossession hearings are civil proceedings that are normally initiated by mortgage lenders seeking to sell off property acquired by their defaulting debtors. Repossessing provides these lenders with an immediate avenue to recover their principal amounts and the interests they are entitled to as per the respective agreement. Sometimes, the sale of the repossessed property settles the debt fully while other times, it only settles the amount partially, leading to the need for further solicitations.
If you, for some reason, have been duly served with legal papers notifying you of a house repossession litigation made against you, you should not abscond the repossession hearing that will ensue. No person ever gets jailed in any repossession hearing. People only get into legal trouble when they commit perjury or are found to be in contempt of the court. In fact, repossession hearings present citizens with a noble opportunity to make their case and avoid eviction. Failure to appear for a hearing drastically increases the chances of the court’s ruling going in favour of the lender and enforcement of the proposed eviction. Therefore, you should always prepare adequately for such a court hearing and attend all proceedings in a timely manner.
Since repossession hearings are subject to local jurisdiction, they can only be conducted in your local county courts. Please note that by ‘your’, it is meant that the hearing takes place in the local county corresponding to the location of the property in question as opposed to your county of birth or affiliation. The proceedings can either take place in the presiding judge’s chambers or an official courtroom.
Since the court is bound to uphold the privacy of the concerned parties, it does not allow the general public in these civil proceedings. Unlike criminal cases, the court determines that the general public does not have legitimate vested interests in such matters. Parties with legitimate stakes in particular civil cases can apply to attend as joint parties to the litigation. The homeowners facing eviction can also request the judge to have friends and family attend such proceedings and perhaps even speak in their stead.
The county courts have public representatives. These court officials are sometimes referred to as Advisers or Solicitors depending on the role they are playing. They appear on court duty schemes and are mandated to provide consultancy and representative services to the public during their official duty hours. The may provide the following services on request:
• Offer advice even during the last minutes before the court hearing,
• Hold a negotiating brief with the lenders for you,
• Represent you before the judge during the proceedings.
However, they only offer such services when available. It is not guaranteed that a county court Adviser will always be on duty. Therefore, you might lack their very critical services at times, if you do not adequately prepare for your hearing. Remember that they serve numerous citizens and are sometimes off-duty. Therefore, try to get in touch with them at your earliest convenience to be certain of their services.
The judge can make rulings that favour the debtor or the creditor. The rulings could go either way or sit on the fence. Depending on the testimonies and evidence provided before the judge, the court may also decide to give both parties what they need and force them to compromise.
If you’re facing house repossession and the court decides to throw out the case, you win. If the court decides to throw you out and allow your eviction, you lose. If the court decides to either adjourn the case or make a suspended possession order, you are awarded a grace period to sort out your issues while you can still keep residing in your home. However, you should know that you are still not out of the woods, but the time allowed may be enough to get yourself out of your financial troubles.