Repossesion Advice

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Hi,

My house was recently repossessed without my knowledge (I was away for 6 months travelling). Before I went away I was behind with my arrears by a small amount and agreed with my lender to setup a direct debit from my bank account to pay an amount to cover my mortgage and my arrears. They sent me the mandate out and I returned it. I asked them to contact me if there was any problems at my parents house as they would be able to get in touch. I requested this numerous times in the past and I have letters were the have wrote to me C/O my parents address. So they knew I could be contacted at that address.

When I came back my house had been repossessed. They said they had tried to contact me at my house but did not try to contact me at my parents house. I asked them about the direct debit and they say they never recieved any direct debit.

They are now asking for payment proposals for 4000 shortfall. I have asked them for information regarding the repossession, estate agent valuations etc and they have supplied all information including a breakdown of costs. To top it off they got rid of all my possessions (ok not much but tables chairs etc) and said they werent worth anything. The new owner told me he has sold the stuff when he took over the house to a house clearance firm. It is all very distressing especially since I have made payments for over 8 years and now have no house and another 4000 debt. What should I do???

-- Laura Ray (post@lauraray.vispa.com), August 12, 2002

Answers

Firstly, go to the court concerned and tell them what has happened (i.e. you did not know procedings were in progress).

Secondly, go see a good solicitor who specialises in property work and take their advice. I don't know how you will stand on this one - but I reckon if you prove that you left contact details with the mortgagees and they failed to at least draw the legal proceedings to the attention of that contact point, then it is possible the repossession was illegal in which case you will get compensation not only for that, but for the furniture as well. On the other hand, the mortgagees will be seeking to "show" that they thought the property abandoned.

Have you any proof you set up the DD - if so, secure it now - you will need it. It is quite possible your bank may be liable - but surely you realised that the money for the DD was not coming out of your bank?????

Your situation is compounded by the fact that there were arrears on the account before you left travelling but nevertheless you need to start proving what you say - whom did you speak to at the BS, when - have you got a telephone record of your call to them (i.e. itemised bill) The fact that this has worked in the past with letters c/o your parents is in your favour. Here's a good one - is there a copy of the Bank DD in the paperwork from the BS?? If there is, then they obviously got it and it failed to reach the bank - or did it?

Good luck, and please do post back to let us know what advice your solicitor gives and the end result.

-- David Button (davidjohnbutton@supanet.com), August 12, 2002.


Laura, David's advice is reasonably sound, although I'm not particularly keen on solicitors except as a last resort. You don't say where the house was, but I'm a bit surprised that selling a house recently would have returned a loss! You need to check to see what the selling price was and how that compares with similar houses nearby sold recently.

-- Gordon Bennet (arsenewhinger@hotmail.com), August 14, 2002.

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