Nationwide - Can anyone advise?

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I had a joint mortgage with the Nationwide, about 12 years ago I consulted a solicitor as my boyfriend became violent and I was advised that my best option was voluntary repossession. I sent my keys back with a letter explaining the situation and that I gave my full consent for my boyfriend to take over the mortgage in his name alone (which is what he wanted). I didn't leave a forwarding address as I was terrified it would be passed on. 12 years later, last week I received a completion statement for the property after being repossessed in 1998 and to my horror still in both names! The shortfall amount was 15,000, but written along the bottom was "this is not a demand for payment", although they request that I ring them. Do you think a request for payment will follow? My problem is that this is not my debt! When I left the payments were up to date and we had not missed one. When I left, because of the circumstances I didn't take any furniture or anything, they knew I had moved out and I can prove I haven't lived there for 12 years. I would rather go to prison than pay a single penny to pay off his debts, so it's not as if I would try to come to an agreement with them to pay a reduced amount, as far as I'm concerned at the moment its not my debt. Do you think they will contact me again? Any advice would be much appreciated as I'm so worried, as Ive got a mortgage on my own now and am just keeping my head above water as it is!

-- Amanda Ford (switchboard@saatchi.co.uk), October 11, 2001

Answers

When you handed the keys back with a letter and gave your consent, you did not relieve yourself of the responsibilities of being jointly responsible for the mortgage, and it appears that your mortgagees are still holding you liable. What has subsequuently happened is that either the property has been repossessed because your boyfriend did not continue to pay, or he has handed the keys over too and attempted to walk away. You have been found because you will have been put on the CML repossessed list no doubt and the fact that your name on that ties up with the name on your current mortgage.

Your solicitor should have told you how to go about relinquishing the mortgagees hold over you and if he/she did not, then there appears to be negligence in the advice you were given.

See another solicitor and take the papers you have received, but for the moment do not acknowledge the debt or contact your former mortgagees in any way. This is because if indeed 12 years is up, you can claim limitation on the action and if this applies, you will not be sued for the shortfall.

I think this is a rotten situation to be in and I hope you do get it sorted out - if push comes to shove and you do end up having to pay, try and make sure your former boyfriend is brought to account as well.

Good luck.

-- David Button (davidjohnbutton@supanet.com), October 11, 2001.


The Lender doesn't have a prayer enforcing this one..not only are they way out of time but the principle of estoppel will probably apply - see previous thread on same. This won't stop them from attempting to screw up your credit file though - so I would see a solicitor anyway. How did they find you anyway after 12 years?

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), October 11, 2001.

What your solicitor should have done was arrange a Transfer of Equity, that is the transfer of your share of the house to your boyfriend, and for the house to be remortgaged in your boyfriend's name only. However, the TofE can only take place if your boyfriend was willing and Nationwide agreed.

If the Nationwide had agreed and the Transfer took place, then you have no liability.

If the Nationwide didn't agree to the Transfer and you had walked away, even though you told them about your situation, it was still a joint mortgage and you were still liable regardless of whether or not the payments were up to date when you left.

As the house was only repossessed 3 years ago, its possible that the Nationwide might try and pursue you for the debt, even if you haven't been on the scene for over 12 years. Nationwide have probably been trying to trace and pursue your ex-boyfriend for the shortfall and haven't been successful, so they're trying you instead - that happens a lot when couples have split up.

If you think there might have been poor advice given by your solicitor then I would suggest that you ask for a copy of your file. Its possible that the firm still might have it. Depending on the exact written advice given, then you may have a claim against the solicitor. But thats something which can wait for now.

If you do get a letter from Nationwide or their solicitors demanding payment, then come back to this website and read up on what to do next, or post another message to this board.

-- pendle (pendle_666@yahoo.co.uk), October 11, 2001.


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