Landlord being repossessed for mortgage arrears – what rights does the tenant have?

by Readers Question

8:25 AM, 21st May 2013
About 8 years ago

Landlord being repossessed for mortgage arrears – what rights does the tenant have?

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Landlord being repossessed for mortgage arrears – what rights does the tenant have?

Landlord being repossessed for mortgage arrears - what rights does the tenant have?I stumbled across one of your articles outlining Squatters rights.  I hoped you might be able to assist me in a current quandary I face.

I am a tenant, I have paid my landlord on time, every month, for the last 5 years.  I have just discovered that he has not been paying his mortgage and my home is very likely to be repossessed in a weeks time.

If this is so, I understand that I could be faced with a 16 day minimum eviction notice. Is this right?

If this is so, I am a single mum with a 7 year old son, I couldn’t possibly organise another property in 16 days. My fear would be “squatting” until I did.  However, would I still be classed as a tenant?  Any light you can shed on this would be truly helpful.

Many thanks,


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8:47 AM, 23rd May 2013
About 8 years ago

Certainly agree with your last point, chasing an insolvent subject means winning a case is a paper exercise most times, as it is for landlords chasing rent arrears. Not convinced by your other argument though.

I can see landlords coming up with any number of reasonable excuses for not paying the mortgage despite the causal link.

I know it's different legislation but I'm put in mind of intentional homelessness decisions where case law abounds with phrases such as 'Deliberate acts or omissions', 'good faith' and even, in one case 'Honest blundering'.

As a working TRO I would want to know what caused the landlord to fail to pay the mortgage before advising a client on possible further action and no landlord would simply put their hands up and say "Well I just decided not to pay".

I have one client at the moment whose landlord is facing repossession. He has repeatedly told the tenant that possession is off because he has come to an arrangement with the lender but for once the lender is communicating with and assures that this isnt the case. He has even given the tenants a copy of a letter allegedly from the lender's solicitor which says all is well and has a photograph of the bank used to make this fake payment, as part of the graphics of the letter itself, which is patently absurd. The solicitor have assured they did not write this letter and possession action is still being advanced.

I may well consider your suggestion in relation to this guy

Industry Observer

11:10 AM, 23rd May 2013
About 8 years ago


You would need to take specific advice on this from a L&T lawyer - ask Tessa? - but the facts to me seem to be plain. Is the LL in breach of the tenant's PO/QE rights under the tenancy agreement?

Is the tenant having to vacate the property through no fault of their own?

Seems to me the answer is patently "yes".

Using your analogy about excuses Ben you could end up with sistuations where Judges do not allow a mandatory possession order just because it is a HB tenant and the local HB office is taking three months to make payments.

This happened about 5 years ago with two dopey, over sympathetic Judges who obviously did not know the meaning of the word "mandatory" - that they had no discretion.

The "why are you in arrears" didn't matter, as the Circuit Judge to whom these two wrong decision were referred reminded them. All that matters is to satisfy a Court on the legalities, not justify.

This to me seems to be the same - the LL has caused consequential distress and loss to the ex tenant. It's a bit like a TDP offence - doesn't matter if you forgot to register it, the failed act is all that matters - now!!

Ben Reeve-Lewis

11:35 AM, 23rd May 2013
About 8 years ago

Interesting points but I'm still not convinced, largely because of your comment about dopey judges, with which I heartily agree.

I recently became embroiled in the case of a housing association tenant with £11,000 rent arrears and the judge granted an SPO. Unless the rent was more than £5,500 per month I cant understand why ground 8 didnt apply. The housing officer just shrugged and said they get this all the time.

And it's partly with this reason in mind that I would hesitate to launch a claim.

I certainly waste time with a PFEA prosecution but maybe a quiet enjoyment argument could suffice but then, as you say you cant guarantee not to get DJ Dopey.

Do you have any case law to point me in the direction of where landlords have been successfully prosecuted for failing to pay the mortgage which resulted in home loss for the tenant? I'm still open to persuasion.

Industry Observer

13:38 PM, 23rd May 2013
About 8 years ago

No Ben I don't.

Can you explain in simple English your second paragraph? What is SPO for example?

trust me if you did this to me as my Landlord my missus would put on such an Oscar winning performance you'd be begging to be allowed to settle out of Court (she'd lost a baby, i'd lost my job' kids had failed exams because of forced change of school, cat had run away etc etc).

The usual "bleeding all over the Courtroom floor" syndrome.

What we are talking about of course is a normal damages cklaim. So has there been some sort of loss, damage or distress? Was it avoidable? What impact has it had on the claimant? And so on.

I'd take my chances in Court happily if I could find the ex landlord and if I knew he'd received equity from the sale and/or my dispossesion

Ben Reeve-Lewis

15:11 PM, 23rd May 2013
About 8 years ago

Sorry, I thought when you stated "PO/QE" in your post you would know what I meant by SPO. Suspended Possession Order.

Back to point scoring again then?

Its been fun!

Industry Observer

9:56 AM, 24th May 2013
About 8 years ago


I never seek to score points - and we were getting on so well!!

In all honesty in 20 years I have never heard a Suspended Order called a SPO just an absolute or suspended order!!

I thought you meant Standard!!

Judge wrong of course - if mandatory then immediate appeal/referral to Circuit Judge who would overrule, educate and issue Order. This is the disadvantage of reporesenting yourself in Court, or having an advocate without enough balls to stand up to a Judge and tell them they are wrong at Law. Takes some doing, but an out of town hired gun is the answer, usually a hjunior barrister

Lindabella Holland

17:47 PM, 23rd April 2014
About 7 years ago

I have just come across this discussion whilst trying to find out the same information for tenants rights. Today my partner and I have had a notice of eviction too because our landlord hasn't kept up with his mortgage payments. We have been tenants for over a year and have paid £16,800.00 in rent. Now we have until 14th May 2014 to find somewhere else to live .
I am curious to know how the previous lady who was in this situation turned out. Also, I found your discussion on this subject very interesting.
Cheers Lin

Stephanie O'Hagan

13:30 PM, 11th December 2014
About 6 years ago

I have this same problem with my landlord about 2 week's ago me and my fella got a letter about our house being repossessed and we only lived here a year. The landlord is only giving us 18 days so we have to be out in the 18th can he do that? Do we not get more time

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