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What happens if you don’t pay?

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

6. Charging Order – in the county court

If you owe more than £1,000 and we hold a Liability Order for the balance due, then an application for a charging order may be made. The Order must be secured against the same property to which the Liability Order has already been obtained for the outstanding debt.

A Charging Order gives us security for the debt. This means the debt would become secured like a mortgage on your house. The application for a Charging Order has two stages:


Stage One – The Interim Order

We make an application for a Charging Order and the court will make what is called an interim charging order if it is satisfied that you own, or have a part share (an interest), in the property in question.

An Interim Charging Order is usually made automatically without a hearing. A copy of the Interim Order will be sent to you. If the Interim is disputed, we will need to hold a hearing.

The hearing is for the court to decide whether to make the charging order permanent. This hearing is likely to be held in the district judge's private rooms.

We will also register the Interim Charging Order as a 'caution' on your property with the Land Registry who should inform you of this in writing. This means you cannot sell the property before the hearing.

From the date of the final Charging Order, we charge statutory interest of 8% per year on our Charging Orders.

Stage Two – The Final Charging Order

The second stage is the court hearing in front of the District Judge. At this hearing the court will decide whether to make a permanent charge on the property.

If you object to a Charging Order being made final then you should send us and the court written evidence stating why you object. You should do this at least seven days before the hearing. This could be in the form of a letter of objection outlining all the arguments you have for why the Charging Order should not be made. This should be sent by registered post to both us and the court. The court must consider whether it is reasonable to make a Charging Order and will consider your personal circumstances.

Can we sell your home?

Technically, yes. If we have a Final Charging Order, we could apply to sell your home to pay the debt although it is up to the court to decide whether to make an order for sale or not. You should seek independent legal advice once this procedure has started.

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