Mortgage possession claims

The SRA Handbook (version 21) was replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations on, and with effect from, 25 November 2019. This practice note will shortly be updated to reflect the introduction of the SRA Standards and Regulations. Until then, you are advised to check any references in the practice note to the Handbook against the Standards and Regulations to make sure that you are aware of the up-to-date position on all issues to which the practice note refers.

This practice note provides advice to solicitors who are asked to advise borrowers whose mortgages are in arrears and are facing mortgage possession proceedings and the loss of their homes.

The Pre-action Protocol for Possession Claims based on Mortgage Arrears in Respect of Residential Properties came into force on 19 November 2008. The protocol aims to make proceedings for residential possession claims a last resort.

This practice note gives advice on:

  • what to look for if advising a borrower whose lender has started to seek payment of mortgage arrears, to satisfy yourself that the lender is complying with the protocol and
  • how to advise a borrower whose lender has appointed a receiver

Major lenders agreed with the government on 24 November 2008 that they would not start mortgage possession proceedings in relation to residential property unless the borrower had accrued three months' arrears. This should give parties sufficient time to comply with the protocol and should give borrowers an opportunity to seek advice before mortgage possession proceedings have been issued.

This practice note is the Law Society’s view of good practice in this area, and is not legal advice. For more information see the legal status.