Should I pay up??

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Please help me anybody!!

I cant believe I found this site!

I took a mortgage out with my then boyfriend 13 years ago(1990)with the Woolwich. I had to leave due to domestic problems only 2 years later, and personally visited the Woolich to say that I was no longer residing there, and wished for my name to be removed from the mortgage. (20 yrs old and no clue really).

I gave my forwarding address to them, which was my parents, and I heard nothing of it until 1997, when a company acting on the Woolwich's behalf, sent me a letter out the blue asking me to pay up 34,000 plus, for the loss resulting from an auction.(payed 43,000 for it)

I was renting elsewhere at the time, and I was in no position whatsover to pay them anything, not even a fiver a week.

The company - CSI, put the matter on hold, but since then, they have hounded me for a settlement or a repayment plan for the last 6 years.

I asked them for copies of all the correspondance they sent to the property, despite the Woolwich knowing I was not living there, and I was sent a thick pile of legal papers with court orders, repossesion notices the lot. I was gob smaked!!

My so calles solicitor basically said I was liable and should pay up, but by no means was I responsable for the property being re-possessed. I had no clue my partner had left, no clue of any court judgments against me, and to be honest, i would be swimming in equity if I had known what was happening and been able to stop it.

The CSI are now asking me again to settle it, or I will be held liable for all court costs, and the COMPLETE loss, and this is all despite it being joint, with his father as a garantor. These letters have been coming nearly every month,and now I really want this all behind me, but.... why should I pay up when I did my bit and do not believe I am responsible for the repo??

I could pay up if I really wanted, but I dont see that I should!!

Please help, or am I being as niave as I was when I was 20??!!

-- Natasha (tasha.heeney@ukonline.co.uk), September 08, 2003

Answers

You have been incredibly naive - did you really think that you could walk away from a mortgage just by telling the mortgagees that you were no longer living at the mortgaged property and you were "washing your hands" of it?

The one, perhaps for you, good side of it is his father is guarantor and he is probably in a better position to be forced to pay up on both your behalves - and yes, you can be held responsible for the whole of the debt - known as joint and several liability.

You have 3 choices basically:

1. Do nothing and let the law take its course - if you have no money they can sieze including wages, no effective goods they can take, and no property they can charge over, then they are likely to give up.

2. Offer a payment each month - you dont say what your current circumstances are.

3. Fight back and apply for the court orders to be set aside and reheard with you as a defendant. However, you have to do this within a very short space of time of knowing you have a judgment made against you, and is unlikely to succeed if the judge thinks you have no real prospect of defence.

If you can, get some good legal advice on this with all the facts disclosed (not just what we see here which is obviously condensed) - you may qualify for legal aid even if working - apply and see.

-- David J. Button (davidjohnbutton@supanet.com), September 08, 2003.


DO NOT IGNORE IT!

If you can pay as you suggest the lender will find this out before going to court (via Tracing agents or THIS SITE if you use your real name). Court Action is usually a commercial decission. More than likely if their is a benefit for them - i.e. you have lump sum / regular cash or assetts available.

It sounds like you do have some or all of the above and based upon the info you have provided I can see no legal defence in any court action the lender takes. A Judge has to base his decision on LAW not emotion.

I would implore you to seek specialist help and not from a normal solicitor as they really do not have a clue and will end up making the matter worse due to their legal bill as well as the lenders defence costs and the debt!

Specialist help can be found from the home repos 'who helps?' section - You would be surpised to know that the 'free help' are the best! but have limited resources, call them!

Good luck.

-- fairer financial world (fairerfinancialworld@hotmail.com), September 08, 2003.


To clarify your issue regarding responsibility.

The LAW says that if you sign a Joint and Several Liability agreement, which if you were mentioned on the mortgage you have (The mortgage deed and or mortgage offer) then the lender can pursue any party in the agreement for even the full sum outstanding if they so wish.

Mortgage lenders do not often remove names from the deed as it is more risk, i.e. in your case they would only have the ex and his father as a method of recompense.

-- fairer financial world (fairerfinancialworld@hotmail.com), September 08, 2003.


Natasha,

Firstly, I would recommend you read as many previous postings as you can on the Q&A site and read/follow the "Do's & Dont's on the Home Repo page too. Sarn the lender and put them to strict proof. Be advised lenders read this site.

A lender has 12 years under the Limitation Act 1980 to chase you (see Bristol & West v Bartlett - July, 2002). The 12 years usually runs from the 2nd or 3rd missed mortgage payment, however, you need to check your mortgage terms & conditions to be certain, it could be, for example from the 1st missed mortgage payment. In respect to interest the limitation period is 6 years (see postings on Home repo Q&A for more details). See also the posting ***The 12 Year Limit and Endowment Mortgages*** .

Natasha, I would check that the alleged debt is not time barred under the Limitation Act 1980, although I would suspect that you have probably acknowledged the debt, a professional would need to look at your paperwork to be sure. If you have acknowledged the debt you may be able to resile, but that, as far as I know, has never been tested in court.

You also need to check to see whether the CML 6 year voluntary Code (see below) applies in your case.

If the above doesn't help then I think the best course of action is to negotiate a "Without prejudice" settlement. I suspect this will be the best option in your case.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders have a Voluntary 6 year code which states:

"In addition, from 11 February 2000, lenders who are members of the Council of Mortgage Lenders have agreed voluntarily that they will begin all recovery action for the shortfall within the first six years following the SALE of a property in possession. Anyone whose property was taken into possession and sold more than six years ago, and who has not been contacted by their lender about recovering any outstanding debt will not now be asked to pay the shortfall. The Association of British Insurers supports this approach on behalf of the mortgage indemnity insurers.

All lenders which subscribe to the Code have now agreed to adhere to it whether they are a CML member or not. You can check whether a lender subscribes to the Mortgage Code by phoning The Mortgage Code Compliance Board on 01785 218200."

See CML webpage for full explanation: www.cml.org.uk/servlet/dycon/zt- cml/cml/live/en/cml/pub_info_dept

Be careful not to acknowledge the debt by stating on any communications that you do not acknowledge the debt, that you deny liability and that you dispute the debt. If you make an offer to settle make sure you also include "Without prejudice" on the letter and state that you are making the offer on an "ex gratia" basis. If someone acts on your behalf then ensure you ask them (in writing) not to acknowledge the debt on your behalf (and keep a copy of the letter). Telephone calls cannot acknowledge the debt. If this mortgage was a joint liability one then be aware that any Ex joint partner may acknowledge the debt for all parties by making a part payment. An acknowledgement/part payment can restart the 12 year limitation period. Finally if the lender has a Money Judgment Order (MJO) then, in theory) they can chase you indefinitely.

Take a look at these two websites that should help:

http://www.osborneclarke.com/publications/text/mortgageshortfall.htm

http://www.propertylawuk.net/mortgageshortfall2.htm

Please be advised that I'm not a professional advisor so please check all this out with one. If you have any further queries just post them up. Good Luck.

Mark.

-- M Amos (idgroms@hotmail.com), September 09, 2003.


I wanted to add for the benefit of Mr Button, that although, as he stated, the details are condensed, I did not 'walk away', or 'wash my hands' of the mortgage. It was my home and had to leave due to being physically abused by my then partner. It was the only option open to me to remove myself from the mortgage and any ties.

Forgive me for protecting myself, and thank you for your input.

-- Natasha (tasha.heeney@ukonline.co.uk), September 09, 2003.



If you were forced out of your home - whether or not you were married - you still had a right to force a sale of the house and obtain what equity might have come your way after sale and splitting of the proceeds.

Whilst I acccept you had good reasons to leave - can you see it from the other point of view of the mortgagees - they will not release you from your obligation as then they have two people to go after, plus of course the guarantor. Did you see a solicitor after you left the home? What did the solicitor advise - was that advice negligent? What did the BS say when you visited them - I think they had an obligation to tell you that you could not be removed from the mortgage deed and from liability under the circumstances unpalatable as they were at the time.

Did the Woolwich send you any correspondence to you at your new address - did you seek advice at the time?

You MIGHT possibly have some defences which a skilled solicitor or counsel might be able to use. Go and see a solicitor ASAP and get some good advice from a SPECIALIST in this field (big firms usually have specialist solicitors on their staff)

Try and work out when you went to see the BS and if you can, recall who you saw - it might be important later on.

Good luck with it all.

-- David J. Button (davidjohnbutton@supanet.com), September 09, 2003.


Hi, I totally understand your situation. My Husband bought a house with his then girlfriend in 1989 for 65,000 60,000 of which was a mortgage. After 2 years they split and returned to their respective parents. I then met my Husband and we (with the backing of his family) decided to let the house as the interest rates had doubled his mortgage payments. The tennants paid 2 months rent out of a year and evaided all contact (they were never in). After much discussion with the Abbey National it was decided the best option was to give up the the house for volentry reposession. (the mortgage was 6,000 in arrears by this time) His ex disappeared off the face of the earth and so this seemed the only option. We were assured the indemnity ins would cover any shortfall. 2 years later ( by which time we were married) we recieved a letter stating that the house had been sold for 42,000 and their was a shortfall of 24,995 which included cost for changing locks, removals, and a few small repairs. We were stunned! Following several conversations with the Abbey we felt we couldnt satisfy there demands no matter what so we decided to ignore them. We heard nothing again until 2 years ago by this time we had 2 children and another mortgage (which is at a very high interest rate). We took advise and although the Abbey were offering us to settle for 16,000 we didnt have that kind of money. In the end a firm of solicitors Eversheds were pursuing us every day to the point where Sundays came as a welcome relief as they were closed. The employee of Eversheds that we were dealing with was very persistant to the point of being rude and insulting. So a friend who owns a commercial debt collection agency wrote to them on our behalf telling them what we had already told them, that we had no savings (even if we did i would rather give it away than give it to them) only my Husband was working so they were wasting their time. We heard nothing until yesterday. The letter was from Eversheds offering us to settle without prejudice for 10,306,06. I decided to call Abbey National direct to see if Eversheds were acting on their behalf of if they had sold the debt to them. I was greeted firstly by a frosty lady who had answers for everything i said even before i had finished saying it (quite intimidating). After offering to phone Eversheds for me she returned my call her attitude was very different almost helpfull, she told me they would settle for a percentage of the 10,000 but wouldnt tell moe how much but mainly tried to get me to complete a means for so they could see we have no money spare. I have let them send the forms but we intend to return them not completed as i feel that as soon as they have my Husbands employment detail they will propbally put an attachment to his earnings which we cannot afford. They leave us no alternative but to ignore this matter as we have not got the answers they want.....MONEY! If they take it any further then i would go as far as to sell outr home and go into rented afterall it is my Husbands debt not mine so they cannot touch what is legally mine. Do I hear you ask "What about the ex girlfriend? She is swanning about scot free because they cant find her!!!!!! If anything i hope to know that you are not alone is a comfort

Regards Debbie

-- debbie dibble (debbie.dibble@ntlworld.com), September 19, 2003.


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