being chased for a shortfall

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in nov 1995 our property was repossesed by the halifax building society. jan '96 they started to purse us for an estimated shortfall. we sought advice from the CAB and eventually after several requests we recieved a completion statement in april '96. we asked for invoices & documentation relating to this statement but none was ever recieved. no more was ever heard from the halifax so we presumed that this was the end of the matter. but then in oct 2000 we recieved a letter from TLT solicitors asking us to pay 22475. we employed the help of a solicitor to help us ask the halifax to jusify its claims. once again all our questions were ignored so in jan 2001 i wrote an officia letter of complaint to the head office of the halifax plc requesting that they send me copies of all documentation relating to the sale of the property & the added costs on the completion statment. it was only then that they sent copies to me because i threatened them with going to the ombudsman. the paperwork that i recieved had all the letter headings and bottoms removed. WHY ?I strongly believe that the property was under valued by the halifax as when the property was being repossesed i obtained my own personal valuation from an independant estate agent for 35995. the halifax sold it for 24500. is there any way i can stop them chasing me as i would now like to get on with my life and purchase my council property without them taking it away from me to cover this debt ?

-- bernadette merry (bernie.mike@onmail.co.uk), February 15, 2001

Answers

We are in a very similar situation to you. Coventry BS repossessed our house in 1996. Sold it for less than we thought they should have then we didn't hear anything until July 2000. Then they started chasing us for 48,000. Found this web site and it has been excellent. We have followed all the guidelines (without a solicitor) and today we have had our offer of 2,000 in full and final settlement accepted. CANNOT BELIEVE IT!! We never thought this would happen. All I can say is - KEEP GOING!! You can put the matter behind you. Look at this web site very carefully. Follow the do's and don'ts. Compose all of your letters with care. Do not give anything away. Serve the Subject Access Rights Notices as seen on this site. KEEP ASKING FOR THE INFORMATION. Always be polite and reasonable in your letters. Do not panic when they threaten you with court action. They do not want to go to court. If they do not give you the information you want keep stressing that you really want to assess their claim but cannot do so until they provide you with all the necessary information etc. etc. This looks good on your part as if you really want to pay them but they are not coming up with the goods. If you are ever not sure of anything post a question on this web site. The answers I have had from here have helped us achieve exactly what you want - PUTTING THE WHOLE THING BEHIND YOU AND GETTING ON WITH YOUR LIFE. Do not feel threatened, send them your valuation showing they undersold the property. Keep fighting your corner. You are not alone. You can do this and win!!! We are the proof!!!!

Alena

-- Alena Ayers (alena@westcoastsolutions.co.uk), February 16, 2001.


I'm no expert, but I can offer a few amateur thoughts and opinions. I think that it is hard to actually stop them chasing you. You have to learn to live with this for a while. Remember, letters are only letters, and if you strongly suspect that the lender sold your home at under-value then this might explain the lender's reluctance to show you documentary evidence of its claim against you. You need to keep politely requesting to see the proof you require to properly assess this claim. Point out (again, politely) that you cannot help the lender until the lender helps you.

If you feel that the lender's claim is unfair and unwarranted, because of the way in which the lender under-sold your former home, then I can appreciate the frustration you feel at being unable to get on with your life. You could ask your MP to intercede on your behalf. A number of repossessees have done this, with some success. (Some MPs try to help to negotiate greatly reduced settlements; some help constituents prise the 'evidence' out of the lenders.)

If the lender's 'case' against you really stinks, then you have to weigh up whether the lender is ever likely to take you to court or not. (Read the whole of 'Repossession', this web site.) If you think the lender won't want to risk it, then you have nothing really to worry about. You just have to put up with silly letters arriving every so often.

If you think that the lender could take you to court and win, then you must assess your position accordingly.

I guess that there is no magic formula to stop a lender chasing a person. It's all a bit of a scandal, really, where the lenders' 'cases' do stink to high heaven.

-- Eleanor Scott (eleanor.scott@btinternet.com), February 18, 2001.


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