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Halifax and house deeds ...HELP !
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# 1
paul2468
Old 30-10-2008, 7:03 PM
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Default Halifax and house deeds ...HELP !

My mother in law finished her Mortgage 6 years ago. The Halifax told her it would Be more safe if they held the house deeds for her at a cost of £100, this was the last she heard from them untill she got a letter from them saying that she owed £646.00.
The house is a small 2 bed terrace worth today about £65.000.
If she had of been told it was £100 per year she would not have went for it.
Can anyone tell me how they can get away with this ?.
It says as your account is conducted under our deedstore scheme, your title deeds are retained for safekeeping.
The terms of our deedstore scheme apply to you morgage account. We will not charge you intrest on your account if the balance stays below £125.00.
She was told to leave £100.00 outstanding on the account and when she wanted the deeds thay would take the £100.00.
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# 2
opinions4u
Old 30-10-2008, 7:05 PM
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Has she had her buildings insurance premium charged to the mortgage account each year?

I suspect she has, and has never paid it.

There was no charge for the old Deedstore scheme. An interest free balance remained on the mortgage, so if she ever wanted the deeds back she had to repay this sum. It was originally £1 although was increased to £125 (to ensure building society members got their 'free' shares when they demutualised).

If she insured her buildings with Halifax, they will charge the premium to the mortgage, send out a renewal notice to Mum in law and expect her to make payment to the mortgage account to cover it. If this hasn't happened, they will ensure the buildings remain insured but charge interest on any unpaid premiums.

I think she needs to make a phone call if this isn't the explanation.

(If she has insured elsewhere, she should provide documentation proving this and tell them that she cancelled her insurance previously. That said, why has she ignored her renewals for 6 years?).

Last edited by opinions4u; 30-10-2008 at 7:13 PM.
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# 3
garyc1
Old 15-11-2008, 4:10 AM
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I have recently taken the task of sorting my spouseís financial misunderstandings (a recently diagnosed degenerative cognitive problem).
I was somewhat amazed at the latest `ANNUAL MORTGAGE STATEMENT`
We were I remember, asked if we would like to use the Halifax Deed Store (£125.00) on completion of mortgage, it was mentioned that the benefits of this system included preferential mortgage facilities etc. How ever I donít recall mention of House and contents insurance being a clause or agreement and can find no documents pertaining to this. Further, on speaking with the various `Customer care assistants and managers`it seems that this dept running is not an uncommon occurrence. However in all of the conversations Iíve had with the Halifax they still seem unable to answer specific questions, appearing only able to send letters out at 10 day intervals confirming what they consider to be my dept! Although in fairness I have been given a goodwill gesture of £45.45 reducing the balance of my cleared mortgage to £3350.00 as compensation for raising various `concerns`!
I am therefore asking if anyone can answer some questions for them :rolleyes:
  1. What systems are in place within the financial institutions to ensure that unwitting clients do not run up debts attributed to their property?
    • note;-to the point whereby the property reverts to the bank or building society by stealth!)
  2. Is a vendor correct in assuming and initiating an insurance policy (and subsequent renewals) in the absence of rejection by a client (i.e. 30 days notice). And is this assumption binding?
    • It appears that signatures are no longer required to form an agreement!
    • Renewal documents rarely arrive at our post-boxís in the same month as the `Annual Mortgage Statementís. Thus to a confused individual the two document may have no immediate link.
    • NOTE: the Halifax in April 2007 had a small systems error which allowed the renewals to be activated before the clients had been notified. Clients were notified 1 month later with the std letter showing the same 30 day clause which had obviously passed!
  3. If the full extent of potential dept incurrence by linked Policies etc to a deed store account were not mentioned or documented initially, does this not constitute miss sold a financial product?
  4. Does it not fall to the financial institutions to ensure their staff are fully aware of the products they are selling?
    • In the past month and on several occasions whilst seeking to reduce the present financial burden, I have spoken to numerous sales staff who have had to revert to the Halifax web site in an attempt to answer quite simple questions, on 2 occasions finding themselves unable to find the desired answer and therefore diverting the call to an equally un-enlightened colleague...Bliss!
Iím aware that as a personal problem this is not going to disappear, itís an unfortunate twist of fate!
But I am terribly frustrated that this is an acknowledged reoccurring problem in the old and less initiated, that doesnít appear to be being addressed. And does, as mentioned earlier appear to be acquisition of property or wealth by stealth!!!
Would appreciate comments
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# 4
Tiddler
Old 15-11-2008, 10:03 AM
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Hi garyc1,

Many years ago when the Deedstore scheme was first introduced and you left the account open with a balance of £1, Halifax used to insist that you had your building insurance with them or you paid an annual service fee of £10 I seem to recall.

However this requirement was removed and then the changes were made as opinions4u mentioned when the balance was increased to £125 in order to ensure customers qualified for the free shares.

I think, like all insurance providers, Halifax automatically renew your cover until such time as you tell them not to. Just think how much more of a problem you could have if they hadn't renewed the insurance and the house was damaged to such an extent that it had to be demolished!!

Again as said before if you have had duplicate insurance, get the proof together and tell them, they will refund the premiums (or some of them at least).

Finally with regards to staff knowing the answer to "simple" questions, when an organisation the size of the Halifax set up call centres they are looking to provide a filter system so that they can answer the quick questions that are regularly asked, and so they can then pass on the more difficult/time consuming questions to more experienced colleagues. Hence why call centre staff are usually paid a pittance. Yes in an ideal world you would have the most experienced staff dealing with the customers, but unfortunately they won't do it for the money they pay, or move on to specialist areas such as mortgage advisers!!

what I'm trying to say is that it just isn't possible for the call operators to know everything about every product the Halifax has ever done - hence why they have their online manual as a quick referral, but that doesn't mean they can understand & explain the answer to you. I have a Haynes manual for my car, I can change the bulbs in the headlights but wouldn't know how to replace a gasket!

To find out where the outstanding balance has come from ask them to provide you with either copy statements since the account went into the deedstore scheme - they should be able to tell you when it went into deedstore, OR ask them to provide a breakdown showing where the outstanding balance has come from. (you may have to pay for copy statements)

Hope this helps


p.s. Just wanted to add - why would the Halifax want to acquire a mortgage customers property? Particularly from the elderly it does nothing but give them bad press, and when all said and done they don't make any money out of re-possessing a house - hence why millions are put aside each year as bad debt provision. (If a house is repossessed and still has equity in it after its sale, this equity less a small admin fee of around £500, is returned to the "previous" owner)

Last edited by Tiddler; 15-11-2008 at 10:08 AM.
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# 5
garyc1
Old 17-11-2008, 12:25 PM
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Hi Tiddler, sorry I my intention was not to malign the staff at call centres, it was to make the point that you have made so eloquently in your reply.
The original question wasnít answered, lol...just reiterated!
Again I understand the confusion that is able to ensue within a large financial organisation; my point was that that confusion is the cause of woe in many customers (a fact admitted by staff). I have great sympathy for the staff; these people are no doubt doing the best they can. However at what point would the Halifax make preparation to regain the arrears in this situation? When the debt is greater than the value of the property? What are the guidlines/rules/proccesses, and are these debts monitored at all?
I think I made the point that I'm pretty much resigned to my personal dept (however it came about) but it is a worry that because I understand how it happened in my case, I also understand how it could happen in other cases, if I may wax lyrical; retired person in need of equity from perceived own property to pay for sheltered accommodation in twilight years, finds a damn great dept against it, or are we to believe that the ritiuse house of Halifax would wave all ownership of that debt, in honour of the old and infirm.......lol.
Apologies again Tiddler, I donít wish to whip the individuals going about their tasks....oh a small point on your p.s. ; why would you by a Haines workshop manual to change a light bulb? Itís a waste of money if you have the car user manual....
I'm trying to be light hearted here but I think you may be getting my drift now..
Respectfully gary1
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