If you owe someone money, they may be able to take out an inhibition against you, which will stop you from selling or transferring ownership of your home or taking out any further secured loans on your home. This is to make sure you can't then use the proceeds from the sale of your home to pay for anything else.
What is an inhibition?
When a property is sold, the buyer's solicitor searches through the property registers held by Registers of Scotland, to make sure the seller has the right to dispose of the property. Inhibitions are recorded in the Register of Inhibitions and Adjudications (sometimes called the ROI or Personal Register). If you have an inhibition registered against you, you won't have the right to sell your home, or to take out a secured loan (such as a second mortgage) against it.
If you're in the process of selling your home and the missives have already been concluded, the inhibition won't affect the sale. However, it can be extended to cover other property you own, to prevent you selling it without paying off your debt.
How long does an inhibition last?
An inhibition will no longer apply if:
- you pay off the debt and the creditor discharges the inhibition
- the creditor discharges the inhibition on the condition that you repay your debt using the proceeds of the sale of your home
- it is dismissed by the court (for example, because the court doesn't agree that you owe the creditor money)
- you successfully apply to the court to have the inhibition recalled
- you die
- five years have passed - however, the creditor can re-register the inhibition if they choose.
Once the inhibition has been discharged, this will be registered in the Register of Inhibitions and Adjudications (ROI).
What can I do?
If you receive a letter telling you that an inhibition has been registered against you, call the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 or the StepChange or go and see a debt adviser at a money advice centre immediately. An adviser will be able to help you work out your options.
Pay off the debt
An adviser may be able to help you sort out your finances so you can pay off the debt in instalments. It may be that the only way you can repay the debt is by selling your home. In this case, an adviser or solicitor can negotiate with the creditor to discharge the inhibition so that you can sell your home and repay them using the proceeds.
Go to court
If the creditor is taking you to court over money you owe, you may be able to defend your case, or apply for a time to pay direction to give you a chance to pay back the money. Talk to a money adviser or solicitor if you are in this situation. You can also find out more about going to court at the National Debtline website.
Apply for the inhibition to be removed
In some circumstances, you may be able to apply to the court to have the inhibition lifted - talk to a solicitor to find out if this will be possible in your case.
What if I own my home jointly?
If you own your home jointly with another person and only one of you owes money to a creditor, the creditor can only be repaid from the debtor's share of the property. Talk to an adviser if you are in this situation.