Handing in keys after moving abroad.

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Hi, I moved abroad almost 2 years ago. Due to my UK property being in negative equity (by a lot!), I was unable to sell this. I have rented out the property two or three times, but always lose out with tenants and now the property is empty. My wife is now expecting our 1st child and I cannot afford to continue paying this mortgage and am considering my options. I am thinking of just handing the keys back to the Abbey but am concerned about the consequences. I have not informed the Abbey that I am living abroad and am reluctant to give my address, so I will not receive any letters etc. I do not see myself or my family returning to the UK in the foreseeable future, so I am thinking of just handing the keys in and try to forget all about it.

Will the Abbey want to / or be able to trace myself to my current address abroad from existing accounts with another building society (even though there is nothing in this)?

I would greatly appreciate any advice / comments, as I need to do something asap.

Thanks in advance, Steve

-- Steve (yorkie_toon@hotmail.com), June 03, 2001


If any accounts you have with other building societies have your overseas address then its probable that they will have noted the change of address to the credit reference agencies. If they have and you surrender the keys to Abbey, and Abbey did their homework, then yes, they could find out where you are. However, your society might not even have bothered - without seeing your credit reference file, then you've no way of knowing.

What some people think, is that if they move abroad, then a creditor in the UK cannot chase them. This is not true. It is possible to issue proceedings in the UK against someone who is living abroad, virtually anywhere. The Civil Procedure Rules give rules and practice directions on this.

Whether or not a creditor would chase you whilst you were living abroad is another matter. If there is a chance that a creditor will recover their money and they know where you are, then they may well instruct collectors abroad to act for them. Its all down to whether or not its worth it so the creditor. Its easier now because Eversheds, DLA etc have offices overseas.

If you do decide to surrender your keys to Abbey, then in time you may receive letters from them demanding a shortfall. Like we are doing in the UK, you will have your chance to ask for documentation and demand Abbey justify their claim. Even though you're abroad, claims issued out of UK courts will be subject to UK law and you'll have the right of discovery. If Abbey's claim is suspect or they know that they'll have a hard job getting their judgement against you, the fact that you're abroad may just push them into not bothering - but you just can't take this for granted.

-- pendle (pendle@amun-ra.demon.co.uk), June 12, 2001.

Hi, Thanks for the details, it is appreciated. I have spent many hours reading these posts and the site and understand things a lot more.

The problem is that my property has negative equity of more than 10k below the mortgage value. I cannot sell and cannot afford to make the payments. I wrote a letter to Abbey about the situation and asked what they could do to assist, but I received a very formal letter stating there was nothing they could or would do.

I do not want to hand the keys in, but I am unable to honour my mortgage payments, what is the best course of action for me to take?

Should I try explaining again to Abbey or will I receive the same answers? If so, what happens when my mortgage payments are note made due to insufficient funds?

I Appreciate there are many questions, but I really want to do the best thing in this currently unavoidable situation, but I do not know what the best thing is.

Thanks again, Steve

-- Steve (yorkie_toon@hotmail.com), June 19, 2001.

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