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What is a Section 24 notice and initial writ

If you have mortgage or loan arrears, your lender can apply to the sheriff court for a court order allowing them to repossess and sell the property. If your lender has made an application to the sheriff court, you will receive a section 24 notice from the court and an initial writ. This page explains what a section 24 notice and initial writ are and what you can do when you receive these.

How will I know if my lender has applied to court?

If your lender has made an application to the sheriff court you will receive two notices:

  • an initial writ
  • a notice of application to court under section 24 of the Conveyancing and Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act 1970 (a section 24 notice).

If you have received these notices, talk to an adviser immediately.

What is an initial writ?

An initial writ is a document used to raise a court action to pursue a debt of more than £5,000. You can see what an initial writ looks like. Once you have received an initial writ, you should be given 14 days notice of the date for your case to be heard at the sheriff court.

What will an initial writ contain?

The initial writ will:

  • state what your lender is asking the court for
  • state the facts of the case according to your lender
  • have proof of your mortgage arrears attached.

What is a section 24 notice?

The Conveyancing and Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act 1970 is an Act that regulates how mortgages and secured loans work. Section 24 of the Act says that a lender can apply to the sheriff court for an order allowing the lender to repossess and sell a property if the borrower does not keep up with their repayments.

What will a section 24 notice contain?

A section 24 notice should state:

  • that you have fallen behind with your mortgage or loan, and give details of the arrears

You can see what a section 24 notice looks like here.

You should be sent the initial writ and the section 24 notice by recorded delivery and a copy of the section 24 notice will be sent to anyone living in your home, advising them of their rights. If you have received a copy of a section 24 notice because you live in the home but are not the borrower, you may have rights if you are a tenant, spouse or partner of the borrower.

Section 11

If a lender serves you with an section 24 notice they have to tell your council. They will do this by sending the council a section 11 notice, which informs the council that your lender intends to repossess your property and you could end up being homeless.

When the council receives the notice they may get in touch to offer to help you. Depending on your situation, the council may offer to intervene and try and stop the repossession or give you advice regarding your housing options if you do become homeless.

What can I do if I have received an initial writ and a section 24 notice?

Defending the court action

If you wish to defend the court action, you have 21 days from the day the notices are sent to reply to the court. If you do not reply to the notices, the court will automatically give your lender the right to repossess and sell your property. If you want to reply to the notices, you will need to get help from a solicitor. You may also be eligible for legal aid to help you with the cost.

Negotiating with your lender

You can try to negotiate a repayment arrangement with your lender and prevent the case having to go to court. Alternatively, your lender may agree to a repayment arrangement but still continue with legal action so that the court can monitor your repayments.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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The important points

  • If your lender has made an application to the sheriff court you will receive two notices, an initial writ and a section 24 notice.
  • An initial writ is a document used to raise a court action to pursue a debt of more than £5,000.

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