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What is a time order?

If you have received a notice of sums in arrears or a default notice because you have missed payments to a secured loan or second mortgage, you may be able to apply to the sheriff court for a time order allowing you to repay your loan and the arrears and preventing your lender from taking further repossession action.

Who can apply for a time order?

You can only apply for a time order if:

What are time orders?

Time orders are granted by the sheriff court. A time order will change the conditions of your secured loan or second mortgage to make it possible for you to pay it back. A time order can cover not just your arrears, but the rest of the loan too. For example, a time order can:

  • allow you to pay the rest of the loan due and the arrears in instalments
  • reduce the rate of interest of the loan to make your repayments more affordable
  • extend the term of the loan so that you can pay it back in smaller instalments over a longer period of time
  • give you an extended deadline to clear the arrears.

Time orders are often granted as a temporary measure for people with temporary financial difficulties. You may have to resume your original payments after a specified time. It is unlikely that a time order will be granted if you will not be able to repay the loan eventually.

How do I apply for a time order?

You can apply for a time order by filling in a special form that you can get from your local sheriff court. You will need help from a solicitor or a specialist money adviser. If you are applying for a time order, the court will consider your financial circumstances, so you will need to provide a financial statement. You can get help to compile a financial statement from a money adviser or from an adviser at Citizens Advice.

When should I apply?

You can apply for a time order after receiving a notice of sums in arrears or a default notice. You can also apply after your lender has started repossession proceedings.

Applying after receiving a notice of sums in arrears 

If you apply after receiving a notice of sums in arrears, you must first send your lender a notice of intent telling them that you're applying and explaining how you propose to pay off the loan if a time order is granted. You can apply for a time order 14 days after sending your lender this notice.

Applying after receiving a default notice 

You should apply for a time order as quickly as possible after receiving a default notice. If you are granted a time order before your lender starts standard repossession proceedings, your lender will not be able to repossess your home so long as you keep to the conditions of the time order.

Applying after your lender has started repossession proceedings 

You can still apply for a time order after standard repossession proceedings have been started. For example, you may have received:

If you apply for a time order after you have received one of these notices, it will not prevent your lender from repossessing your home. However, if court action started before 30th September 2010 you may be able to apply for a section 2 order to prevent or delay repossession instead.

Will I have to go to court?

You may not need to appear in court yourself, but if you are not going, someone else should go to represent you. You could be represented by a money adviser or a solicitor. Whoever is representing you may recommend that you go to court too.

When will a time order be granted?

When the court is deciding if a time order should be granted, they will take into account:

  • if you could have known that you would have difficulties paying back the loan when you took it out
  • your payment history (whether you have been good at making your repayments on time)
  • how your financial difficulties arose and whether they are due to unforeseen circumstances (for example, redundancy or illness)
  • the conduct of the lender (for example, have they been charging extortionate interest rates?)
  • if you will be able to repay the loan and the length of time it might take you to do this.

What happens if a time order isn't granted?

If the court doesn't grant a time order, your lender may start standard repossession proceedings by sending you a:

You can still try to negotiate a repayment arrangement with your lender.

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The important points

  • A time order can allow you to repay your loan and arrears and prevent further action.
  • You can apply for a time order if your loan or second mortgage is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act.
  • To apply for a time order you'll need a solicitor or a money adviser to help you and a financial statement to prove your circumstances.
  • Applying for a time order means you will need to be represented at court and your adviser may suggest that you attend.

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