NHLC - worst that can happen?

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I had a repossession situation very similar to Natasha (September 8th '03), though the mortgage with NHLC was in my name solely, as the "partner" of the time had just been made bankrupt. In the 11 or so years since the reposession, I've had a couple of demands, but have never worried unduly, as I had long since moved on, and anyway had no money or assets for them to take.

Sadly, my mother died this year, and I inherited a small amount of money from her. In an effort to be sensible, for myself and my daughter, I decided to use this as the deposit for a house and set about finding a mortgage, and I guess this activity, together with a couple of credit card debts paid off, must have signalled my improved status to the shortfall chasers. Just as I was about to exchange, and after paying for surveys, valuations, searches, etc., I got a third demand from the company acting for NHLC - asking for a figure within 85 of what I had on deposit from my Mother's will. (Please excuse necessary vagueness of figures - I'm sure NHLC do read this).

I had to withdraw from my purchase, (I was advised that I could lose the deposit if my current mortgage company found out and decided to withdraw their offer, or NHLC could force me to sell the new house), and am now left wondering how best to protect the only lump sum of money I am ever likely to have. I'm single, and in mid-forties, without pension - and in the absence of husband or career, I'm really worried where I'll be in 10 years time, if I can't at least get 4 walls and a roof for myself.

Reluctantly, I would consider negotiating a settlement to lay the demon for ever, but I don't know how much they know. In other words, if they were aware of my recent inheritance, or particularly the amount in my bank, then I imagine it would be fruitless to negotiate any worthwhile reduction. I could only consider a settlement up to 10% or I'd have nothing left to try and start again with, and the whole effort would be pointless.

At the other extreme, if I took everything out in cash and either hid it, or bought something dilapidated and small in, say, France, and just let NHLC do their worst - what would be the worst that could happen? I assume they would get judgement against me for the very inflated sum they're demanding, but what exact effects would this have on my future life, and for how long?

-- Mirana Lipton (miranda.lipton@virgin.net), October 11, 2003

Answers

Mirana,

Presumably you've read my response to Natasha dated September 08, 2003 under the title "Should I pay up??" ? If not I suggest you do. If your property was repossessed some 11 years back then (subject to any acknowledgements) it's likely that this alleged shortfall debt will be statute barred. When did you first default on your mortgage payments ? Did you have an endowment mortgage and if so when did you first default on it ? Have you checked out the CML 6 year voluntary code angle ? Feel free to email me privately. Be very careful not to acknowledge the debt now, see my answer to Natasha as mentioned previously.

Mark

-- M Amos (idgroms@hotmail.com), October 12, 2003.


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