Guide to a Court Order to Sell a House

Published by Property Saviour
The UK's No.1 Fast House Sale Company

April 2, 2016 - Read time: 3 minutes

court order to sell a house

Facing a court order to sell a house, or whether you are the one filing for a court order.  It will be a very stressful time.  A home that once was fully of cherished memories can quickly turn into a nightmare because of change of your circumstances.  So what can you do if you are facing a court order to sell a house in the UK?

Have you purchased a property with a friend together? At the time, it was a great idea but what happens if you are both thinking of selling the property?  As tenants in common, the easiest answer is for one friend to buy out another friend, as this can be a common scenario.  However, if there’s a disagreement between friends then the only option available is to apply to court for an order of sale.  This is an expensive process that can cause animosity.   This is why court order to sell a house is a last resort.  The court fees and forcing the sale of property jointly owned can cost thousands of pounds, depending on value of the property.  Enforcing a court order to sell a property can cost much more because of additional legal fees payable to lawyers.  If you are applying for a court order to sell a property, a good place to start is hmcts court finder.

Understanding how a court order affects sale of a property

There are 3 reasons that will lead to you receiving or having to enforce a court order to sell a house in the UK.  These are:

  • You have split-up with your partner and therefore, need to sell house
  • You owe a substantial debt and are struggling to keep up with payments
  • A public body has declared that your property must be sold to raise funds for the greater good of the public.

Partners’ splitting up is the most common scenario that typically receives a court order to sell a property.  If you jointly own a house and the relationship breaks down, you are faced with selling the property.  A court order for sale of the property is almost certainly the last resort.

Have you fallen into debt? Are you unable to pay off the money that you owe?  Then creditors will apply for a charge against your property in order to pay off the loans or credit cards.  This can happen even if your loans were unsecured borrowing and most people do not realise this.

A compulsory purchase order is a very rare occasion.  It is useful to know what would happen if you are in receipt of a court order to sell your house.  It basically means that you will be forced to sell your house if an official body wishes to build a shopping centre or High Speed Rail such as HS2.  If your property is empty, and in dilapidated state then it could be deemed as dangerous to the public.  It is worth remembering that an individual company cannot legally force you to sell your house.  Even a professional government bodies can take years to get the powers they need to force you to sell your property.  If the court has ordered sale of the house in the event of divorce then you may have to sell the house.   The court can also force sale of house if you are tenants in common.

So the key question is what to do if you have received a court order to sell your house?

What are the legal implications of a court order?

A court order will force you to sell your home, but it can take other factors into consideration for instance whether you have children at the home.  Are you married to the person who owns the house?  If so what happens to the house will be determined by the divorce settlement.  If you are not married then it can become a little more complicated.  If you have children then you may be allowed to stay in the family home until your children turn at least 18.

It is always advisable to reach an amicable resolution before the case is presented in the court.  Even with a court order to sell house, you still have the opportuity to reach an agreement before the court date is set.  So why should you do this?  Going to court is going to be very expensive, regardless of the outome.  You can expect to pay anything upwards of £5,000.  It will also be a very stressful experience, and can take a long time to settle.  Settling out of the court is considerably cheaper and less stressful.

There are 3 things that you can do when presented with a court order to sell your house.  These are:

  • Buying out your ex-partner’s share of the house
  • Agreeing to sell a house for cash after a divorce
  • Appeal the court order to sell the property

Sadly many people are not able to buy-out their ex-partner’s share of the property particularly if they have a joint mortgage with little equity in the property.  Once a court order to sell the house has been issued, then you will be given a set-date by when the house must be put up for sale on the open market.

court order to sell a propertyOne alternative to a court order to sell a property is called a consent order.  This is a legally binding agreement between you and your ex-partner in relation to property, savings, money and investments. You can apply for one on the government website here.  Having an agreement in writing will give you a peace of mind that decision can not be changed in the future.


What is a Court Ordered Sale?

If a property is held in joint name, but neither party can agree upon selling it, then one of the parties can apply to court for an order of sale as per section 14 of the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.   Effectively, the aggrieved party has to provide justified evidence as to why the offending party won’t agree to the sale.  If no argument is available to counter the claim to sell, then the Order for Sale legally forces the other party to agree to the sale.  If you have obtained a court order to sell house, we can help as we are genuine cash buyers who are in a position to complete the sale quickly.

Applying to Court for the Order for Sale

Applying to court for the order to sell a property is something that will require a specialist solicitor.  However, if there are no dependant or other special circumstances, then this should be a relatively straight forward process and you may be able to do this yourself.  However, always best to seek legal advice before following this court of action.

To apply for a court order your house, you will need to o to County Court and obtain a County Court Judgement (CCJ).  This will inform you whether you have been successful.  Once you have been granted the CCJ, you can then start the process for applying for an Order for Sale.  To do so, you will need to attend another hearing where the court will take your situation into consideration. Court’s award will give you the right to take possession of property, sell it to recover the money and distribute it as per the court order.  The judge will consider Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 to come to a decision.

Next Steps

Once a court order to sell a house has been issued, the second party should comply with court’s order.  However, in rare situations they can continue to be difficult.  If this happens, you can go back to court to have the judge sign the Contract of Sale and Completion forms such as TR1.  This can substantially reduce the process of selling your house, but it will ensure that you will end up selling your house.  Property Saviour are experienced in buying your house fast for cash, and we can work with your timescale.


If you the one looking to sell the property but your ex doesn’t, then you can apply for a court order through a solicitor.  They will be able to help you through the legal process and explain your matrimonial legal rights.

It must be noted that the process of getting a court order and then enforcing it will take many months, and cost thousands of pounds.  There are exceptional circumstances that will allow you to send a certificate of urgency.  This can force a quicker sale.  However, you will need to provide compelling reasons why the sale needs to go through urgently.  This type of sale is usually honoured in abuse cases.

If a partner has split up, and they do not have the mental capacity to deal with the sale then, a court of protection application to sell property can be issued.  A decision will be made on behalf of the person, or a deputy will be appointed for them.

Overall, it can be extremely frustrating and stressful process if you are facing a court order to sell house particularly if you do not have the funds to appoint a solicitor to act for you.  There a lot of useful resources online or you can visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau for free, confidential advice.

Property Saviour can help you sell your house fast if you are issued with a court order to sell a house.  We will buy any type of residential property in England or Wales.  Get in touch with  us today.

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