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At a glance: Getting amore time order if you have fallen behind with debt payments.
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This summary is not relevant in England and Wales
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What is a time order?

A time order is a way of asking the court to give you more time to pay a credit agreement if you have fallen behind with payments. It can change: 

  • the amount you pay each month 
  • how long the loan lasts. 

It may also change the interest rate. 

You can apply for a time order if your credit agreement is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. You may also be able to apply if your agreement is a regulated mortgage contract.

When can I apply for a time order?

  • You can apply for a time order after your creditor has sent you an arrears notice. This usually happens if you miss two or more payments. It should tell you what you owe and if any interest or charges are being added. You must write to your creditor and give them 14 days’ notice that you are going to apply for a time order. Include in the letter details of the offer of payment you are going to make.
  • Your creditor can issue a default or termination notice and call in the loan if you are behind with payments. Once you receive this, you can apply for a time order. You don’t need to write to your lender to give notice that you are applying.
  • If a creditor has already started court action against you then you can still apply for a time order. You can do this when you reply to the claim.

What type of debt can I have a time order on?

  • Unsecured credit. 
    If you have an ordinary credit agreement there might be better options than a time order. However, you may want to ask for a time order if the creditor has sent an arrears notice or a default notice, and they are refusing to accept your offer or to freeze the interest. 
  • Hire purchase. 
    If you fall behind with hire purchase payments, the creditor can ask for the goods to be returned and then sell them to reduce the debt. They can take court action if you do not return the goods. If you have a time order the creditor cannot end the agreement or repossess the goods.
  • Mortgages and secured loans. 
    You may be able to use a time order to reschedule payments on a loan secured on your house. This will stop the creditor repossessing your home. You may not be able to apply until your lender takes court action. Even if you can apply, you may have better options. Get advice before asking for a time order.

How do I apply for a time order?

The procedure for applying for a time order varies. This depends on things like whether court action has started or not, and the type of credit you have. 

Learn more about this topic

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can read our in-depth guide.

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