6 or12yrs am i liable

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I had my house repossessed in 92, heard nothing for at least 6yrs due to the fact that i handed my keys in (no missed payments)i was told that the indemnity insurance covered any shortfall as told by the HALIFAX manager.after 6yrs ive had lots of threatening letters which ive ignored completely.the debt collectors are chasing me for 19,000 approx am i liable for this please can someone help in laymen terms (im a builder with limited brain power) thanks pete

-- peter burrows (pez38buzz@aol.com), January 31, 2003


It seems to me that you have two courses of action.

1. Is to ask the Halifax to prove how the "debt" is made up. This will cause alot of grief and sleepless nights on your part as they will tell all sorts of lies (and get other companies to corroborate them). They will NOT provide you with the proof you ask for and you will have to enter into alot of correspondence. They will take much delight in wasting your time and sending you information that is not relevant. They do this because a lot of people are not aware of their rights and want the matter resolved quickly, so they just pay up and the Halifax gets their money - whether it is due to them or not.

This is not a good idea if you don't have a sharp eye for detail and are not good at arguing, because you have to really FIND their mistakes and point them out with a good argument that they cannot defend. This takes time and good use of the English language. (This is not meant as an insult, everybody has different talents and things they are good at - I can't even wire a plug, let alone build a house!!!)

2. If you are sure of the date when the "debt" occurred, i.e. the date the property was sold, which I presume was in the same year - 1992? You can just carry on ignoring their letters until that date in 2004 and then write back and politely tell them they are out of the limitation period. One would assume that if they haven't set a court date yet, they are not going to.

If you choose this option, you must be absolutely certain of your timing, because writing to them before the 12 years are up could lead to option 1. being your only option!

Whichever course of action you choose, you must NEVER admit any liability for the debt. It would be a good idea to read as much as you can on this site, particulary the Do's and Don'ts section. Fore- warned is fore-armed. I am sure that you will find lots of support and advice on this site to help you.

Good luck.


-- One Angry Mother (madcow678@hotmail.com), January 31, 2003.


There are a couple of points which Tracey appears not to have mentioned. Firstly, the limitation period is 12 years (time in which they can get you) this usually starts from the 2nd or 3rd missed mortgage payment. So for example if you stopped paying your mortgage in November 1990 they may not now be able to pursue you, because they will be barred from doing so (you need to check this with a solicitor though, as it may also depend on what is written in the terms and conditions of your mortgage). Secondly, 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."

Peter,I would give the number above a ring and check whether this applies in your case. You can go to your local CAB, or contact the National Association of Mortgage Victims, alternatively contact a local solicitor (preferably one who doesn't deal with conveyancing) to get all this checked out by a professional, and receive more direct help.

Look at the good advice on the Home Repo pages, particularly under the Do's and Don'ts.

You need to make the Lender prove the alleged debt. Is the 19,000 they say you are liable for the correct figure. How did they arrive at it? Did they sell your property for a fair price? Ask for the valuations on the property at the time of sale, and try and get independant ones yourself to check whether they've ripped you off or not. If you believe they have, complain to your local MP. I would ask for his assistance anyway. If he's not helpful find another who is.

The MIG isn't worth the paper it's written on, it was just one big con. Basically, you paid for the lender to be insured NOT yourself, so the insurance company can chase you if they have paid out to cover your lender's losses. I would complain about this to your MP too.

You also need to find out whether a Money Judgement Order has been issued by the court. If it has, then (in theory) the lender can chase you indefinitely.

Be very careful at this stage not to acknowledge the debt in any way. If you write to the lender/debt collector, or if any person does so on your behalf (even a solicitor), make it clear that you deny liability and do not admit the debt. If you or a solicitor or advisor working on your behalf does not make this clear then the 12 year period can start afresh from the date of that acknowledgement. This also applies to making a part payment. It's a very important point particularly near the end of the 12 year period. If the 12 years are definitely up you've no worries.

Finally, if you wish, please sign the mortgage shortfall e-petition on 'www.petition-them.com' under 'Help Mortgage Shortfall Victims'.

Hope this helps, if you have any further questions just post them up.

Good Luck, Mark.

-- M Amos (idgroms@hotmail.com), January 31, 2003.

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