We are preparing to launch a campaign to encourage people facing eviction through the Courts to attend their possession hearings and to get the free, emergency advice we offer at the County Courts so that they stand a better chance of saving their homes.
We have seen a low attendance rate at the Hastings County Court one of several courts in East Sussex where we offer free legal advice for people who face losing their homes.
Next week we will attempt to demystify the repossession process, making it less frightening, helping people to understand the importance of attending the hearing, and to ensure that they know that there is free legal advice on offer. This advice is available to tenants and home owners.
My colleague Jo Wilson, who is the manager at our Hastings Advice Centre explained to me why people might not go to Court: “Receiving a letter from the Court and learning that you could lose your home is a terrifying experience. It is understandable that people feel that there is nothing that they can do.
“But what most people don’t realise is that it is never too late and in many cases we can help to save your home.
“BHT has advisers at Hastings County Court for every initial possession hearing and we are available to offer free, confidential advice to tenants and homeowners who are facing possession proceedings.”
We cannot promise to save your home but in Hastings, 91% of people we have worked with we have secured positive outcomes.
We would always advocate getting advice as early as possible. But if you haven’t done so before the hearing it is always better to attend the hearing and see what we can do to help.
The campaign will be running from the 27th to the 31st October and will be called “Five Minutes” to illustrate the time it takes for a BHT adviser to save someone’s home through the court duty scheme.
During that week we will be asking people to post on Twitter and Facebook what it takes them five minutes to do – scramble an egg, boil the kettle, hoover their front room.
The campaign will also include a live justice day where people can follow real possession hearings and their outcomes live from the court room on twitter. To follow the court hearings live on the 27th October or to tell us what it takes you five minutes to do, simply use the hashtag #takes5mins.
To follow the campaign and to find advice, support and information on house repossessions and the court process, please look at our website.