‘I contacted Shelter and saved my home from repossession’

Amanda lives in Yorkshire and works for Leeds City Council. She faced repossession and was two weeks away from eviction. With the help of a Shelter adviser, she managed to save her home.

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I came home from work one day and found the repossession letter.

I knew it was coming as I’d ignored the letters before because I found it too stressful, and I hadn’t contacted the mortgage company when I should have done.

But I didn’t know what to do. Because it was the evening when I opened the letter everywhere was closed and I had no one I could call.

The letter gave me two weeks until eviction. I was frightened to death and I told my family what was going on. My son was brilliant and said he’d give me the money to pay off the arrears.

So I rang the mortgage company to tell them that I could pay the arrears. I rang several times and every time they said I couldn’t pay off the arrears, and they kept asking for more and more documents and information. And time was ticking away.  I felt that they just wanted to take the house.

So I went to see a solicitor and they told me to call Civil Legal Advice, which I did and I was appointed a Shelter senior housing and debt caseworker called Gerard.

He helped me fill in the court application form to make sure that a hearing would take place before the eviction.

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He also helped with me with a witness statement to present to the judge explaining that I could pay off my arrears and that I could now keep up with the mortgage.

I went to the court and actually everyone was so nice there, I didn’t expect that.  But I had to make an appointment and go back the next day, which was Friday 13th! I was due to be evicted on the 17th.

Gerard was so brilliant and supportive all the time this was going on, he even rang me an hour before I was due at court to check that I had everything I needed.

He’d discovered that I’d sent him some of the documents that I needed to take court and he was so worried for me – luckily my daughter had helped me download them again and I filled them in by hand.

When I went to court I was terrified but I knew I had all the right documents thanks to Gerard and I was just hoping for the best – even though it was Friday 13th! In the end the judge looked at the fact that I could completely pay off the arrears and he dismissed the case.

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I rang Gerard when I came out and said: “I’ve still got my house!” I was absolutely over the moon.  If it hadn’t been for Shelter the mortgage company would have just taken possession of my house. I didn’t even know that I could go to court to fight for my home.

Gerard explained everything and was so calm and reassuring, even when we had so little time before the repossession.

I’ve lived in my house all my life. It was my grandparents, and I grew up here, I’ve had my children here and it’s where my grandchildren now come.

The thought of losing it was just awful. It’s my home, I don’t know anywhere else.

Shelter’s helpline is open every day. Call 0808 800 4444 if you are at risk of losing your home.

Models have been used to protect the identity of the subjects featured in the blog.

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