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  • FIRST POST
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 12:53 PM
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    Tobster86
    Buying from relative, ex-partner, repossession.
    • #1
    • 14th Feb 18, 12:53 PM
    Buying from relative, ex-partner, repossession. 14th Feb 18 at 12:53 PM
    A bit of a long and complicated story, and I'm not really sure what to do. I'll try to summaries it into bullet points:
    • I have a close relative who is disabled (for reasons of mental health; "the usual story" if you wish...) and currently receives support for mortgage interest (SMI). I understand this comes to and end in early April.
    • There is ~145k remaining on the small national park cottage that they live in. It's difficult to value the property due to its remote location; I would guess it's worth approximately ~180k - 250k; with probable disparity between "Valuation" and "What people would be likely to pay".
    • I'm a single, mid-level engineer with no other financial commitments or dependents, and could easily afford to assume full ownership of the property (which the relative would like me to do). From my point of view, it provides safe refuge for my relative where I can keep an eye on their health, and convenient accommodation for my obsessive weekend hobby which is located nearby (an aviation sports club). I rent accommodation close to work the rest of the time.
    • There has been an ongoing dispute (of about 10 years) with the mortgage lender (a large, faceless bank that's difficult to communicate with), who recommended that my relative added their now-ex-partner during a remortgage; who promptly emptied their joint account, made no further payments towards the mortgage, and is now completely untraceable and estranged.
    • It's not possible to transfer ownership of the property with the ex-partner still on the mortgage; and for obvious reasons I can't commit my own finances to the mortgage while this is the case.
    • The dispute with the lender has involved the ombudsman on multiple occasions, and created a generally chaotic paper trail. I understand that the ombudsman's last recommendation, from a couple of years ago, was that the lender should "assist in removing the ex-partner from the mortgage" and essentially "leave my relative alone for ten years".
    • For reasons I don't understand, despite the SMI, there are about 2000 of arrears on the repayments. I believe this may have been the case for quite some time.
    • The lender has just filed for repossession of the property. The hearing is in one month's time. I think there's a very good case to not only retain possession, but force the lender to deal with issues such as the ex-partner (and possible compensation for this) as a matter of priority, but I require legal advice/representation; and have absolutely no idea who I should seek it from and no concept of what it's likely to cost.
    So that's basically it. I want to buy a property from a relative, for which a repossession hearing will be heard in one month, but the relative's ex-partner is still on the existing mortgage and the lender has not cooperated in removing them despite the ombudsman's recommendation.


    What do I need to do to make this happen?
Page 1
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 14th Feb 18, 1:13 PM
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:13 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:13 PM
    I require legal advice/representation; and have absolutely no idea who I should seek it from and no concept of what it's likely to cost.
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    Have you tried getting the legal advice/representation from a solicitor?

    With the complications you describe, I think it's probably your only choice.
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 1:21 PM
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    Tobster86
    • #3
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:21 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:21 PM
    I was recommended a solicitor who specialised in family law by another relative (a firm who had done a good job of dealing with their divorce); but the repossession order has moved the goal posts somewhat.

    I now have three concurrent, but quite significantly different issues:
    Averting the repossession.
    Removing the ex-partner from the mortgage.
    Financial misselling.

    I don't know where to find someone who can deal with all of those, or if/how I should break the problem down.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 14th Feb 18, 1:26 PM
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    TBagpuss
    • #4
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:26 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:26 PM
    Well, if the bank doss repossess you could buy from them. The issue would then be how they split the equity between your relation and his ex, and your relation could still pursue a complaint or claim against them afterwards.

    But yes, it is complex and I think thast speaking to a solicitor is your best bet.

    Arrears may have built up as SMI is based on set interest rate, not on the actual interest rate of a particular mortgage, so there may have been periods where the interest payable on the mortgage was higher than the amount of benefit payable. Equally, there may have been gaps in the payments if your relative ever came off benefits or if there were changes in their circumstances affecting what they were entitled to.
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 14th Feb 18, 1:30 PM
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    • #5
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:30 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:30 PM
    Maybe you could avert the repossession by giving your relative the 2000 to pay off the arrears.

    Not sure there's anything you can do about getting the ex off the mortgage.

    What do you mean by 'financial misselling' - what do you think has been mis-sold?
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 1:44 PM
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    Tobster86
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:44 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:44 PM
    Regarding misselling; the lender advised, specifically against my relative's best interest, to add the ex-partner to the mortgage ("While you're in the bank to discuss something else, we can do you a better deal on your mortgage if you do this..."). Not a single full repayment was made from that point, and the joint account was emptied within a month. They've done other things in the time period; including making unauthorised and not-declared-upfront charges for things like "debt advisors" in disputes that have involved the ombudsman, and have generally dealt with the case very poorly.

    Regarding solicitors; the problem is finding a good one that is general purpose enough to deal with these problems. I have no concept of how to find this or what to expect it will cost; or even if/how I should attempt to split the issues.
    • parkrunner
    • By parkrunner 14th Feb 18, 1:45 PM
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    parkrunner
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:45 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 18, 1:45 PM
    I was recommended a solicitor who specialised in family law by another relative (a firm who had done a good job of dealing with their divorce); but the repossession order has moved the goal posts somewhat.

    I now have three concurrent, but quite significantly different issues:
    Averting the repossession.
    Removing the ex-partner from the mortgage.
    Financial misselling.

    I don't know where to find someone who can deal with all of those, or if/how I should break the problem down.
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    I don't see any financial misselling in your first post. As for the arrears, SMI only covers the interest and not necessarily all of it, so that's easily possible.

    Just seen your post above, I still don't see that as misselling. Are you saying the partner was ex at the time of the remortgage?
    Last edited by parkrunner; 14-02-2018 at 1:48 PM.
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 2:09 PM
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    Tobster86
    • #8
    • 14th Feb 18, 2:09 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Feb 18, 2:09 PM
    The partner was not ex at the time. The relative was very reluctant to add them to the mortgage, but the lender overcame their objections. They were sold a financial product which was not in their interest, as subsequent events proved.

    We could debate whether it crosses the same line as, for example, PPI all day. I'm seeking the best way to get a professional legal opinion on the matter, and whether it should be bundled with other issues.
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 14th Feb 18, 2:17 PM
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    • #9
    • 14th Feb 18, 2:17 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Feb 18, 2:17 PM
    Personally, I think you are going to struggle getting a solicitor to advise/represent you because, basically, apart from the fact that you want to buy the house, it's not really got anything to do with you.

    I also don't agree that the Lender mis-sold the remortgage to your relative. They could not possibly have foreseen what the 'ex' would subsequently do anymore than your relative did.

    As has already been suggested, I think your best course of action would be to buy the house from the Lender after it's been repossessed. You could then let your relative move back in and live there.
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 2:24 PM
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    Tobster86
    Buying the house from the lender after repossession is an entirely new but interesting card on the table; though on the surface of it sounds risky and troublesome.

    I appreciate your suggestion nonetheless. Are you (/other posters) aware of prominent past examples of this happening?
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 2:33 PM
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    Tobster86
    Regarding the misselling though; I have to disagree that it's as clear cut as that. If anything, they had a much greater awareness of the ex's possible subsequent actions having algorithmically analysed the ex's woeful past credit history. My relative did raise their own distrust and scepticism with the lender in this process, but was assured by them that it was the right thing to do.

    They sold a bad product, so surely must assume some liability in putting it right? Much in the same way that if my relative was sold a telly that burnt the house down under normal operation, it'd be reasonable to expect the seller/manufacturer to assume some liability.

    But as I said, we could debate it all day. Frankly I think that 99% of PPI claims probably have no basis either, but an entire industry of legal professionals seem to have formed a contrary opinion!
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 14th Feb 18, 2:45 PM
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    Pixie5740
    The ex-partner is a legal owner of the house so you can't just take them off the mortgage and deeds. If you can track the ex down and then get them to agree to sell you the property then your relative would be looking at forcing the sale under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustee's Act 1996 however that would be neither quick nor cheap. Therefore letting the property be repossessed and then buying it is probably the easiest way for you to achieve what you want.

    Do check the above with a solicitor though.
    • Tiglet2
    • By Tiglet2 14th Feb 18, 2:49 PM
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    Tiglet2
    Did the lender insist on the ex being on the mortgage because, at that time, your relative would not have been able to afford the mortgage on their own and therefore the lender may not have made an offer?

    Is the ex also on the title deeds? For example does your relative and the ex own 50% each? If the ex is completely untraceable, how do you think you will remove ex from the title? The lender won't agree to removing ex from the mortgage if still named on the title.

    If you would be prepared to pay the arrears on the mortgage and therefore avoid repossession, I would suggest a Transfer of Equity (and possibly remortgage) to remove ex from the title and add you so that you and relative jointly own the property, but ex would need to be traced in order to get agreement and signature on the transfer documents.
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 2:57 PM
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    Tobster86
    The ex really cannot be traced at all in this case. About five years ago I heard a rumour from a friend I no longer have contact with that they are living on a canal barge somewhere to evade their whereabouts being known. They could even be dead, I have no way of finding out.
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 14th Feb 18, 3:19 PM
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    Whether your relative was mis-sold the remortgage product or not is irrelevant to the predicament they now find themselves in as it won't stop the repossession.

    The fact that the joint owner is untraceable also won't stop the repossession.

    In short, there's nothing you can do to stop the repossession apart from paying off the arrears as I suggested earlier.

    Failing that, I think your priority should be trying to help your relative find somewhere else to live.
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • gingercordial
    • By gingercordial 14th Feb 18, 3:20 PM
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    gingercordial
    The ex really cannot be traced at all in this case. About five years ago I heard a rumour from a friend I no longer have contact with that they are living on a canal barge somewhere to evade their whereabouts being known. They could even be dead, I have no way of finding out.
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    This doesn't answer the question of whether they are on the deeds of the property. They may not be an owner at all. Download the title deeds for 3 from the Land Registry and check, then you will know whether that is or is not an issue.

    The way of finding out where they are would be to engage a private detective.
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 3:36 PM
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    Tobster86
    I don't think it is irrelevant. If a repossession hearing goes ahead, a judge will want to hear both sides of the argument. The fact that a financial ombudsman has recommended that the lender takes some responsibility for the ex being on the deeds and mortgage (I've since looked into this, it is the case) and provides assistance to the process of removing them, will probably be quite relevant.

    Crystal ball gazing, they probably will insist on some form of assured clearance of the arrears too. If my financial circumstances are considered, this will probably mean immediate clearance, and therefore my undesired paying for something that someone who sodded off ten years ago still owns 50% of.

    Maybe that's the best I can hope for, or maybe better can be done. Hence why I'm seeking legal recommendations.
    Last edited by Tobster86; 14-02-2018 at 3:40 PM.
    • Tiglet2
    • By Tiglet2 14th Feb 18, 3:58 PM
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    Tiglet2
    I'm sure it is undesired to pay the arrears on behalf of someone who ran a mile 10 years ago, but this is your relative's home and you have already said that the relative would like you to buy the property, enabling the relative to remain in their "safe refuge". If you/relative want to avoid repossession, then someone has to stump up the arrears, or as previous posters have suggested, take a chance and buy the property from the bank once repossession has taken place (providing no-one else makes a higher offer!).
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 14th Feb 18, 4:05 PM
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    agrinnall
    The ex really cannot be traced at all in this case. About five years ago I heard a rumour from a friend I no longer have contact with that they are living on a canal barge somewhere to evade their whereabouts being known. They could even be dead, I have no way of finding out.
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    Just because you can't trace them doesn't mean they are not traceable. It's very likely that somebody who specialises in this would be able to do so. I suggest you look into Enquiry Agents - finding the ex (or finding out if they are indeed dead) may make the whole thing a great deal easier to resolve.
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 14th Feb 18, 4:47 PM
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    Tobster86
    To be honest, bringing the ex to the table at this stage probably is unproductive even if possible.

    Knowing if they're dead would be useful though.
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