A repossession, or repo as it is sometimes known, is the legal process by which a lender or other party may take possession of your personal or real property, usually because you have not paid your loans on the property.
When you sign secured loans or rental agreements, there is usually a clause in the agreement that states what assets or property are being kept as collateral. For example, on a mortgage, your home is usually kept as collateral. As long as you honor the terms of the agreement; for example, by continuing to pay the agreed-upon payments, you get to keep the collateral. Once you pay off your loan and honor your contract to the end, the collateral is yours to keep. However, if during the terms of your agreement you do not make your payments and fall into arrears, the lender (or another party hired by the lender) has a right to take over the collateral and even sell it to get back the money owed.
Often times, secured creditors can repossess your property without a court order as long as there is no "breach of the peace." Simply, a creditor cannot do something outside of court that will likely produce violence or to provoke others. If the creditor breaches the peace, you can ask the creditor to stop and leave, but if they refuse, you should contact the police. You may not use or threaten to use force to stop the repossession.
Repossessions often occur when an agreement is broken because of non-payment. Many times, the repossession occurs when someone takes on too many debts and then suddenly faces some financial crisis. A crisis problem (usually divorce, unemployment, or illness) that leaves them unable to pay their debts on time. If the situation is simply ignored, as it all too often is, the months slip by until the lender is in a legal position to repossess the property.
As soon as you fall behind, talk to your lender or possibly other lenders. No one really wants to repossess because the process is as much of a hassle for the creditor as it is for you. The lender may be willing to give you more time to repay your loan or may be willing to offer you more affordable terms. Investors may also be willing to buy your property from you so that you can repay the lender and start out fresh, which may be an option for you.
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