shortfall probs, have now received claim form via county court

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In 1998 I bought a house in partnership with two of my brothers. The mortgage was with UCB. In 1991 I informed UCB that I would be moving out of the house and that my brothers wanted to take over the mortgage. Their attitude at that time was unco-operative. I subsequently left the house.

Very soon afterwards one of my brothers was made redundant and the mortgage fell in to arrears. After a short while it was decided to sell the property and, acting on their behalf I informed UCB of this next course of action. Their response was again to demand outstanding monies. Before the house could be sold my brothers decided to hand back the keys and vacate the house. The house was subsequently sold.

Despite having my new address at no time did UCB contact me about the sale, the implications of the sale or the amounts outstanding following the sale. Prior to the sale I had been in regular correspondence with UCB and there was therefore no reason for them not to have contacted me. I did not know when the house was sold but now understand that this took place in May 1993.

Like many people in this situation I got on with my life, got married and bought a new house. Since then I have had three mortgages,had numerous credit cards and store cards as well as purchased furniture etc. on HP. Not once have I been refused credit. I have also maintained all of my council tax payments and voted in local and general elections. I could hardly be accused of keeping a low profile in order to avoid detection. I have also held two Nationwide accounts during the whole period. ( I believe that they own UCB).

I was therefore very surprised to be contacted in August last year by UCB regarding an undisclosed shortfall amount and an income expenditure form. I received a second letter a month later, again with no reference to the shortfall amount. This was followed by a visit by a man claiming to represent UCB, although not saying who he actually worked for.

We spoke on the doorstep in an amicable manner but when i refused to sign a form for him and asked that he get UCB to respond to a list of questions that I reeled off to him appertaining to the sale and the subsequent quiet period, he left.

I heard no more until I received a letter from Lean & Co, solicitors acting on behalf of UCB. They informed me that the shortfall amount was an incredible 41,389.12.

If that was truly the amount then they had sold the house for well under half of the market value.

The letter demanded a response within 7 days and threatened further action including the addition of accrued interest. An attachment of earnings order was also enclosed. I ignored the letter and received another identical letter a month later.

Having monitored your site since the first contact was made I did not want to act in a way that would indicate liability. I was not sure what their next course of action would be but was surprised when I received a letter from Aldershot County Court. This contained a claim form, showing UCB as claimant and requesting the sum of 69, 425.87. This figure was inclusive of solicitors fees and court costs as well as the accrued interest.

For what is was worth there was an MIG on the house and I believe that my endowment was also taken ( I never saw it again).

My concerns now are what to do next.

Can ajudgement and oredr of payment be made against me if I continue to refuse to accept liability or acknowledge the debt.

Can I disregard my wifes income as this does not involve her.

Is my house etc under threat.

Will a CCj be brought against me if I continue to ignore this.

I dont want to give an inch and it sticks in my throat to think of giving them any satisfaction but if I were to offer a payment of say 10% on the shortfall ( not including the interest) as full and final payment would they be likely to accept and would it end there ?

This is a genuine request for help and any advice would be appreciated. Apparently I now have less than a week to respond.

-- noel flanagan (noel@rapiergroup.com), September 20, 2001

Answers

The first thing is that if the first contact was made in August 2000 then they are out of time by way of the council of mortgage lenders agreement - i.e. if contact was not made by 11/2/00 then the limit is 6 years. This should be the first part of your defence (in my opinion).

Did they ever supply documents to prove their claim. i.e. deeds, MJO etc. If not then you have the right to see them especially if it goes to court. If you ask for them using 'discovery' and they do not supply them I cannot see the judge giving them much chance. How are you expected to defend their claim if they did not supply paperwork.

Phone Carol Riley of NAMV on 01889 507394 she should also be able to offer some useful assistance.

Nor sure where - can someone please point it out - but on the site somewhere is a list of what to do when you get a summons. Finally, see what local solicitors say. Most will give you a short time free of charge and most will know less than you on the subject so keep trying.

Good luck and if you need more come back to this site.

-- Matt (mattyc@ntlworld.com), September 20, 2001.


Try looking at the thread called "I have just recieved the summons for the shortfall claim" a few below yours on the Q&A page. There may well be usefull info in there to assist.

-- Matt (mattyc@ntlworld.com), September 20, 2001.

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