Son unaware he was partner in mortgage : LUSENET : Repossession : One Thread

In 1987, I took out a mortgage to buy a house in West London and, in order to gain the benefit of the MIRAS tax allowance, I added my son's name to the mortgage (he was 19 at the time). I did this, however, WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE AND SIGNED THE MORTGAGE AGREEMENT ON HIS BEHALF.

In 1992. because of unemployment, I was forced to rent out the house to pay the mortgage and. to cut a long story short, the tenants failed to pay the motgage for some months and I got in serious arrears; I surrendered the keys.

After a letter informing me that they were selling the house (considerably under the market value) I heard nothing more from them until last year, just before my wife and I were about to emigrate to the USA. I ignored their letter, which asked for #39,000 but confessed to my son my actions some years before, assuring him that the responsibilty was mine and that he would probably not hear from them anyway (he had moved several times). I later wrote to Eversheds, the solicitors telling them that I was in the USA.

Unfortunately, my son contacted me yesterday and told me that he had received a letter, demanding the money for him.

So the questions, in order of importance are: 1. Can they pursue my son if he did not sign the mortgage agreement and was unaware of my actions? 2. Can he avoid going to Court to prove it (for example, will they ley him see the signed agreement so he can dispute the signature?) 3. Is it better for him to be pro-active and contact the Abbey National or Eversheds? (If so, who is best to contact?) 4. I thought the Statute of Limitations was such that a claim for a debt had to be served on the 'defendant' within six years; is this not so? 5. Is it any help that I disputed the proposed selling price? 6. Can they pusue me to the USA (for the forgery)? 7. If all else fails, can I intervene on my son's behalf and come to an agreement with Abbey National, where they might accept a reasonable repayment plan or perhaps a lump sum considerably less than the amount owed (say #5000) and prevent them taking my son to Court?

I would be grateful for any information or advice.

-- Ted Cox (, June 18, 1999


I'll try to asnwer what questions I can:

1. Yes, they can pursue your son. But they can't force him to pay anything he dsputes without going to going to court first, where your son will find an audience that are very willing to listen to what has happened and examine the evidence that supports it.

2. Will they let him see the signed agreement? Difficult to say: lenders do not usually show documentation prior to issuing a writ - as opposed to going to court. However, both parties in a dispute that is heading to court should provide each other with copies of the supporting documentation for their cases before the actual hearing. This process - called discovery - is designed to ensure that they each sees the evidence for the other's claim before they waste court time, taxpayers' money, etc.

3. I don't know.

4. I've published what we know about this difficult area in the Your Rights section of the Repossession section.

5. Probably. Dispute means higher costs and higher costs usually motivate people to consider cheaper forms of resolution.

6. You need an international law specialist to answer that one, I'm afraid.

7. You can certainly try. In my experience Abbey National is pragmatic about what it will settle for but threatens Hell and high water before settling. Hell and highwater = court action.

Hope this helps.

-- Lee (, June 25, 1999.

To answer question 6 in the original email - would the lender pursue the debt in the USA -

The answer is yes then can pursue you, but its down to the individual lender and the amount owing whether or not they would actually bother to do this.

Also, if it does go to court and the court believes you Son didn't know he was a partner in the mortgage, then the mortgage company could well bring a criminal prosecution against you for obtaining funds by deception and/or forgery - again if you are in the USA then they may not bother because of the expense involved in actually finding you.

-- denise cassidy (, June 26, 1999.

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