2nd Charge not signed by me- repossesion warrant issued

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My wife and I seperated nearly two years ago and I have become aware of a second charge on my property with first national which I have never signed for, my ex has admitted to me she forged the signature. She assured me that she would deal with this matter and arrange for a loan to clear this charge. I have now been issued with a repossesion order for 2 weeks today. Can they enforce this order as I was not party to the loan agreement in the first place. What actions should I take. I pay my mortgage every month and have never missed a payment in 7 years, this has me worried sick.

-- Daniel Hill (dprhill@hotmail.com), November 01, 2004



Firstly, I think you need some expert legal advice quickly on this one. The following is some advice from a solicitor I have on another case where the husband forged his wife's signature on a mortgage, not the same situation I know but I think perhaps still relevant.....

This one may seem obvious on the surface - it would seem to be common sense that someone could not be liable for anything if her/his signature was forged, but it is not as simple as that.

There is a nasty CA case - Bank of Ireland Home Mortgages Limited v Edward Willaim Bell & Emilia Christopherova Bell (4 December 2000) which involved a husband forging his wife's signature on a mortgage, which was accepted by the Court. To cut a long story short, the case seems to have held that although the mortgage was not a legal mortgage, an equitable mortgage was created, the bank's interest in the debt was traceable to the property and that it was enforceable against Mrs Bell. It is a difficult case, and Gibson seemed unhappy with this, but couldn't do anything as the point had not been appealed (para 21 (in my copy)).

You might be able to find the case on: www.courtservice.gov.uk/ .

However, it is well worth trying the 'I am not liable because my signature was forged' argument and see what the response is. It may well then be worth looking into getting an expert on handwriting (but this would cost)and see how the lender responds to a report confirming that the signature was forged. It is possible that they might drop it at that stage, although they may continue to pursue on the basis of the Bell case.

So, the advice is to write to the lender denying liability and stating that the signature was forged. Also, while waiting for a reply, find out what it might cost to get an expert's report. If the lender is still intent on pursuing the debt, an expert's report will then be necessary. If this is favourable, a copy needs to be sent to the lender with a further denial of liability. If the lender still pursues the debt, expert advice on the Bell points needs to be taken.

Daniel, you might like to look at this webpage by Gary Webber, Barrister: http://www.propertylawuk.net/monthlyupdatemortgages.html

Also another recent forgery case: http://www.courtservice.gov.uk/judgmentsfiles/j2612/filby-v- mortgage_express.htm

Some info from another debt advisor re a forged signature on a mortgage...

"This-is an issue about which you will need to take specialist legal advice and quickly from a solicitor familiar with this area of the law. In most areas you will find that one or more solicitors will assist local Citizens Advice Bureaus with their more complex cases and I suggest that you initially contact them to either get an opinion for free or to let you know who they use in your area. It is by no means a certainty that the lender could enforce the charge. There have been a number of cases where the lender has been found to have acted improperly or did not ensure sufficient checks were in place regarding advice given to both parties at the end of which the property owner has been deemed not to have been liable at all and the charge subsequently removed by the lender. However there have also been cases with people trying to pull a fast one so to speak in which the issue was found against them and the charge was valid. The whole matter could be referred to the Financial Ombudsman's Service. If you want a non binding general outline of how the FSA may deal with the case if it were to go to them remembering that they will only have your side of the story you could give them a call on 02079641400 or e- mail them at technical.advice@financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Hope you find something of use in the above, Good Luck.


-- M Amos (idgroms@hotmail.com), November 01, 2004.

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