hassled by debt collectors for mortgage shortfall.greenspun.com : LUSENET : Repossession : One Thread
Can anyone give us some advice please, in 1995 our house was repossesed in 1997 we were contacted by a firm of debt collectors acting for the Halifax inviting us to make an offer of payment each month. Not realisng that we had any right to question how much the house had been sold for etc we made an offer as we were afraid that things might get unpleasant. My husband made the offer over the telephone and it was accepted we were not asked to fill out any forms or anything. Now 3 years later they have sent us a lifestyle questionnaire wanting to know everything about our finances, we have not filled it in and they are threatening to send an agent round to our house for the information. Do we have to provide this information and can they send someone round, what are our rights I'm really worried. We can't afford to pay them any more than we are in fact its a struggle each month to pay what we do pay, is it to late to dispute the amount. thank you.
-- glenda walker (email@example.com), September 20, 2000
No you don't have to complete a lifestyle questionnaire - so DON'T do so. (See para on Human Rights Act below). The Halifax tried to get me to negotiate settlement of an *estimated* #16,959 alleged shortfall claim! I was supposed to contact them by phone within 14 days "to discuss proposals to discharge the outstanding debt". I didn't phone. This sort of demand invariably arrives from lenders just at the weekend when it's not easy to get legal advice, so a lot of frightened shortfall victims make the mistake of calling them. Once they've got you on the phone lenders are very good at committing you to pay and of course if they make a mistake in what they say you've no way of proving it later on.
This though can work both ways,. You say that you've never filled in any forms? OK you also state that you were not aware of your rights at the time. Well you still have these rights - the Halifax cannot take them away from you although they WILL try, believe me. Lenders have been getting their own way for a very long time but the tide of justice is turning.
Under the new Human Rights Act (Article 8) any action of sending an agent to your house can be termed as an inavasion of your privacy. i.e. "everyone has a right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence". This can also be applied in principle to the dubious "lifestyle questionnaire".
I would suggest that you read all the information in the Home Repossession site very carefully and commence questioning the Halifax about all the aspects of Possession,Valuation and Marketing of the property. Demand the valuations that you are legally entitled to. I received mine, one of them (By the halifax's own qualified surveyor) corectly described the property as a 4 bed, 2 reception, Semi. The other valued it as a 3 bed, 2 reception, End Terrace!
On advice I have refused to negotiate and I am now prepared to go to court as I have documentary evidence of 25 alleged negligent actions by the Halifax.
Ignore any bullying tactics if they occur and fight for your rights!
I wish you luck,
-- Tony Hayter (Tony@Hayter.com), October 03, 2000.