Nationwide BS, Hammond Suddards Edge

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I had a house repossessed due to a relationship breakdown at the end of 1994. The mortgage was with Nationwide and I am currently being chased for the outstanding debt by Hammond Suddards Edge solicitors of Bradford. I think they first wrote to me claiming a shortfall in 2000. I was scared and threw the letter away. I didn't know then everything I've learnt on sites like these, so when the letters kept coming I did ring the solicitors. Since 1994 my life has changed a lot. I'm now married with children and work part time in a low paid job. I don't own any assets and earn 70 pounds a week which goes on childcare and food and essentials. That's what I told them and they said if that was the case there would be little point in chasing the debt of 20k. My circumstances haven't changed since I contacted them. Although I have moved house. Their persistent and threatening letters still keep coming though. I don't want to respond to their constant fishing expeditions for my financial info. I don't have anything to give them, but I guess I am married so have a share in this new home which they could try and force us to sell and leave our family homeless despite the debt having nothing to do with my husband right?

Their last letter says they now have no option but to advise their client to consider commencing legal action against me. Should their client choose to take this action court documents will be served on me shortly.

My husband thinks we should ask them to provide clear details of the breakdown of the outstanding debt, put it in writing that until I am satisfied with their response that I do not accept the debt as being binding, mention the 6 year rule (we need to check the dates very closely as it would be borderline between the repo and their first contact - I bet it falls just within it though.) I feel annoyed that I was bullied into responding in the first place because it looks like I accepted the debt. I was scared and harassed and didn't know to look for help. That probably means I can't now say I don't accept it doesn't it? Could I say that I've taken advice and now need to know the following points, or complain at their threatening stance and say the one previous contact was made under duress.

Anyone got any ideas what I can do?

At this point in my life I really don't have anything to offer them. But I don't want my new family home to be taken from us. What's the best way for me to proceed? Can someone give me a few ideas what to do or say to them?

-- Tabitha (tabitha@mail.gr), September 17, 2002

Answers

Tabitha,

Please review this site carefully, especially the section on Repossession and specially the "do's and dont's" section and specifically the "After they contact you and demand cash" bit. This explains exactly what to do in your situation. I have been hit with a 53,000 alleged shortfall, and so far I have been able to keep these bloodsuckers at bay by using the arguements contained within this section. You must SARN the Building Society and the Solicitors acting for them, details on how to do this are in this section. You must then get them to provide a breakdown of the alleged shortfall and how they calculated it. As to your comment about the dates, the clock started ticking on the date when you missed your first payment, not when they repossessed you, this may provide you with an escape under the 6 year rule. As to the threatening and persistence letters, keep them all as they will provide evidence of harassment, oh and by the way when they say that X is "CONSIDERING" legal action, it means just that, it doesnt mean that they will. All in All, read this site very carefully, come up with a strategy to beat them and believe in yourself. We are all victims of a massive fraud, and we will win.

Regards

John

-- John (sharky_john@hotmail.com), September 17, 2002.


Hi Tabitha,

Yes that's all true the advice that John gives you. Please don't panic, although I know it's difficult not to. To date my fiance has received, from Hammonds, Suddards & Edge acting on behalf of Bradford&Bingley over 15 or so letters threatening to take him to court. He has discussed the debt over the telephone but this does not count as an admission. Do as John says, we used the advice given on this site and it is now coming up to 7 months since we last heard from them, they use bullying and threatening tactics to try to get you to pay up. Do check your dates regarding 6 year rule and their contact, and I wish you all the best in your fight.

-- Chris (chris@anon.co.uk), September 18, 2002.


I'm a little concerned at the advice that "the clock starts ticking when you miss your first payment" - the 'clock' actually starts when the full amount borrowed under the mortgage "accrues" (see section 20 of the Limitation Act 1980 if you like that kind of thing). As I understand it this means you need to look closely at the terms and conditions of your own particular mortgage contract; it's unlikely to accrue after one payment is missed. My own contract (citibank) had two conditions about this - (1) after three payments were missed and (2) if the lender demanded payment. This seems like a sensible contract, as it means the lender has some discretion about the process; I can imagine circumstances where three payments might be missed but the lender definitely does not want automatic immediate repayment (for example if the borrower informs them that she's just got a new highly paid job). I would expect (though I don't know) that a similar wording is pretty standard. You also need to check some other reason for the debt to accrue didn't occur earlier - for example in my own case, with an endowment mortgage, I discovered a clause saying the full mortgage amount automatically accrued if the associated insurance policy lapsed. The good thing about the recent court of appeal case (see earlier postings) is that now it's pretty clear that all the limits relevant to mortgage related debts are contained in section 20 of the LA, so if you get a copy of that, and a copy of your mortgage terms and conditions, you can at least find out where you stand.

-- Melody (mbc109@york.ac.uk), September 18, 2002.

Note to Melody !

I understand what you are saying and you are probably correct, however what I am trying to establish is that the clock on the 6 year ruling does not start when the Building Society begins or even takes possession, it starts when the first "why havent you paid your mortgage this month" letter hits your doormat. This is when the clock starts ticking as it is the beginning of the chain of events that eventually results in the loss of your home. We have to use the dirty tricks that they use on us in order to win. If we take this as the start of reposession proceedings then it may give a few people hope over when the 6 year rule is up

-- John (sharky_john@hotmail.com), September 18, 2002.


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