Brittania Building Society - whether to negotiate

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Repossession : One Thread

House repossessed 5 years ago following job loss and an unsuccesful attempt to sell the property. Valued at 22000 immediately prior to repossession but subsequently sold by lender for only 11000. I do not appear to be black-listed, which I find puzzling since the lender is aware of my new address. SARN served and a large bundle of papers received - strangely some of the papers show the lender has used various tracing agencies to (unsuccessfully) find me, despite the fact they know where I am - their debt-chasing department has sent a letter roughly every 8-12 months asking me to pay them 23000. Their letters have alternated bewteen threatening, ie contact them immediately "or else" (legal proceedings/interest will accrue rapidly, larger debt etc), and relatively pleasant letters simply asking me to contact them to discuss coming to an arrangment. Despite the threat to add-on interest their letters show the same debt figure - if interest is accruing they are not telling me about it. Having followed the advice on this site I have not contacted them at all other than to serve the SARN. I recently wrote to them vis-a-vis serving another SARN (just to check I had everything) - they wrote back offering to provide the information again, but also threatening to obtain an attachment of earnings and recover the debt from my employer (that would be a clever trick since they have no idea where I now work). However, the letter also offers "Full and Final Settlement" of my liability for a mere 7500. No doubt this is supposed to lure me into contacting them, but I would like this matter resolved and I am tempted to respond. If I was to go down this road has anyone any advice as to how I should approach the lender? However, before accepting their kind offer I want to know for sure the lender has done everything "properly" and has the legal ammunition to successfully enforce recovery. Whilst I appreciate this is the last thing they want to do, I find the lenders lack of action, their failure to add-on interest, or even to have me credit black-listed, very surprising - it makes me wonder if their case is actually weak for some reason and they are trying to sucker me into coming to an agreement. I would therefore like to have the papers audited by someone who understands these things - I certainly don't, but I have tried several local solicitors and none of them "specialise" (their word) in house repossessions. Can anyone recommend a suitable company/individual?

-- Vicki P (parsons@cedarave33.freeserve.co.uk), July 10, 2002

Answers

Seems no-one replied to you Vicki. So far it seems you have done ok and from what you say you haven't acknowledged the debt. If the house was sold fairly quickly after repossession then it would appear that you can ask some awkward questions about underselling. Do you have copies of estate agents valuations in the SARN information? Also you should check to see if there was a MIG insurance policy payout to the lender from an insurer such as the Royal & Sun Alliance as the lender may be claiming a debt under subrogated rights. If you have followed recent threads on this site then you will see that there is a lot of discussion as to whether or not a MIG payout becomes a simple debt or a specialty debt. If it is the former then they may shortly be out of time to chase this part of their claim. As to whether or not you should settle, it depends on whether or not you can afford 7500 or can be bothered to make the effort to read through what you've obtained to see how their claim is made up. If a MIG payout is part of the shortfall claim then play for time until six years are up on the payout and then argue they are no longer able to pursue this part. Allied to potential mis-selling you may be able to achieve a more realistic settlement. As a brief rule of thumb I reckon you should be able with luck and a strong nerve to get a settlement of around 5% of the claim or in your case about 1150. Avoid acknowledging the debt and persist in asking for copies of the mortgage deed, mortgage conditions, MIG policy etc.. The longer you can stretch this out the more likely a compromise can be found in your favour.

-- Gordon Bennet (arsenewhinger@hotmail.com), July 30, 2002.

You should check your dealings from the point of applying for your mortgage. Where you charged a Higher Percentage Arrangement Fee for the borrowing? (Check you Mortgage Offer.) Did you take out the lender's contents insurance in order to get a lower rate - that was mysteriously ignored? (Check old bank statements.) Did the lender raise the interest without your knowledge? (Check old bank statements.) Did you pay an arrangement fee for the mortage upfront, only to find it was also charged to the mortgage? (Check old bank statements.) If any of the above (or more) has transpired then I would like to hear further. I am an investigative reporter doing research on this particular lender's method of accounting.

JPM

PS Real name and email supplied. Don't mind if yours isn't. And strictly in confidence.

-- John Paul Morgan (jpmorgan@onetel.net.uk), July 31, 2002.


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