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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 2
    • gingercordial
    • By gingercordial 14th Feb 18, 4:49 PM
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    gingercordial
    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!).
    Originally posted by Tiglet2
    This bit is important. OP, are you aware that in a repossession sale the bank has a duty to obtain the highest price possible for the property? That means they must market it fully (and so can't just agree a sale to you), won't take it off the market for you, and you could be gazumped right up to the day of exchange. This could therefore result in your relative being evicted if you do not want to pay the amount the bank thinks it can sell for or you lose it at the last minute. So don't count on the repo route as being easier or more certain.

    Even if it galls you to pay off the 2k arrears, if you can stand to do that to halt the repossession, track down the other owner (if they are an owner) and buy it properly that may be the safer option but it very much depends on what you can find out about the ex.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 14th Feb 18, 5:01 PM
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    FBaby
    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.
    This sounds like the ombudsman ruled out that the lender didn't act unlawfully and therefore don't have to compensate your relative, however, there is a suggestion that they might, as a gesture of goodwill, provide support, which they are absolutely free to ignore.

    I don't see how your relative would have any recourse taking this further.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 14th Feb 18, 5:12 PM
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    davidmcn
    OP, are you aware that in a repossession sale the bank has a duty to obtain the highest price possible for the property? That means they must market it fully (and so can't just agree a sale to you), won't take it off the market for you, and you could be gazumped right up to the day of exchange. This could therefore result in your relative being evicted if you do not want to pay the amount the bank thinks it can sell for or you lose it at the last minute. So don't count on the repo route as being easier or more certain.
    Originally posted by gingercordial
    If the bank markets it they'll already have carried out an eviction. Although in theory it can happen, I've never seen a bank try to sell a property with the disgruntled customer still in occupation!
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 15th Feb 18, 9:29 AM
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    Tobster86
    This sounds like the ombudsman ruled out that the lender didn't act unlawfully and therefore don't have to compensate your relative, however, there is a suggestion that they might, as a gesture of goodwill, provide support, which they are absolutely free to ignore.

    I don't see how your relative would have any recourse taking this further.
    Originally posted by FBaby
    Judge: "Why didn't you follow any part of the ombudsman's recommendation?"

    Bank: "Because we didn't have to."


    ...Really?
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 15th Feb 18, 9:32 AM
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    Tobster86
    This "repossession route" is interesting, but highly, highly, highly speculative unless there's some kind of past examples of it working out.

    I presume it would also mean removing everything from the property and reinstating it afterwards?

    Anyone else with elderly relatives who are nuts will understand my concerns!
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 15th Feb 18, 10:38 AM
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    eddddy
    This "repossession route" is interesting, but highly, highly, highly speculative unless there's some kind of past examples of it working out.

    I presume it would also mean removing everything from the property and reinstating it afterwards?
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    Also, it sounds like there would be surplus cash left over if it's repossessed, sold and the mortgage paid off.

    I guess, you'd need to find out what would happen to that surplus cash.

    For example, would your relative get 50%, and the bank hold the other 50% - waiting for the joint owner to turn up. (Would you be happy with that?)

    Or, even worse, would the bank hold 100% waiting for both owners to sign an agreement saying how the money should be split?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 15th Feb 18, 10:57 AM
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    davidmcn
    For example, would your relative get 50%, and the bank hold the other 50% - waiting for the joint owner to turn up. (Would you be happy with that?)

    Or, even worse, would the bank hold 100% waiting for both owners to sign an agreement saying how the money should be split?
    Originally posted by eddddy
    When I've acted for lenders we just split it 50:50. If that wasn't how the owners wanted to deal with it they need to sort it out between themselves.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 15th Feb 18, 11:16 AM
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    TBagpuss
    Judge: "Why didn't you follow any part of the ombudsman's recommendation?"

    Bank: "Because we didn't have to."


    ...Really?
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    On a posession, the judge's options are fairly limited. It's my understandign that here the bank can show that there are arears the default is that the repossession will be gratned unless there is evidence that the debtor will be in a position to clear them in a reasonable time.
    So you making an offer to give or lend your relative enough money to clear the arrears might well result in a suspended repossession, but I don't think that the ombudsman stuff would be relevant, as the issue the judge is looking at is not whether or not the bank mis-sold anything to your relation, but whether or not there are arrears.

    People who have a joint mortgage have 'joint and several' liability for it, they don't owe half each. So your relative was still responsible for letting the mortgage go into arrears, there was no legal right to have his ex pay half.

    I would suggest that you assist your relative to get advice from a solicitor who deals with repossessions and can advice about whether the Ombudsman's involvement, or indeed your relative's disability, would have any relevance at all to the repossession proceedings, and go from there
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 15th Feb 18, 12:02 PM
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    Judge: "Why didn't you follow any part of the ombudsman's recommendation?"

    Bank: "Because we didn't have to."


    ...Really?
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    That's exactly right. It was only a recommendation not an Order to assist in the process of removing them.

    Mind you, I've never heard of a lender having the power to remove a joint owner from the mortgage without their consent.

    They're not in the business of tracking down a joint owner whose whereabouts are unknown - that is for your relative to do, but it appears they have made no effort to do so.

    IMO, as has been said, the Judge is likely to look at the amount of the current arrears and the fact that they will continue to increase and, in all likelihood, grant the repossession order.

    Being represented at the hearing by a solicitor will be crucial for your relative given that you so charmingly describe them as 'nuts' due to their MH issues.
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 15th Feb 18, 5:40 PM
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    Tobster86
    Being represented at the hearing by a solicitor will be crucial for your relative given that you so charmingly describe them as 'nuts' due to their MH issues.
    Originally posted by Cheeky_Monkey
    Absolutely; but I've been unable to establish what speciality of solicitor I need or how to go about finding one who will perform a good service without being ripped off. It's probably worth also stating that the one my relative initially used ten years ago, when the ex had emptied a joint account and done a runner, was completely useless.
    • parkrunner
    • By parkrunner 15th Feb 18, 6:24 PM
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    parkrunner
    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.
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    From what I've read subsequent events is the partner emptying the account and fleeing had nothing to do with the bank doing anything wrong.
    • Tobster86
    • By Tobster86 16th Feb 18, 6:22 PM
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    Tobster86
    Radical idea time (...maybe. I give credit to anyone that mentioned things on this theme.)

    I've read the documents, and could p*** a mortgage for the arrears, from anyone, tomorrow.

    The biggest crux of the matter is the ex being on the deeds. The options for removing them are:
    -Their signature.
    -Their death certificate.
    -Repossession.

    Basically, #3 offers the simplest route.

    So my crazy idea is to, with full cooperation all around of the lender and my relative, allow repossession of the property on the proviso that I immediately purchase it.

    Do we think this seems reasonable and/or realistic?

    The only caveat in this is that the lender is very big and very faceless bank. I can't imagine an actual human being assigned any practical part of the matter; so it would likely be referred to a computer that will simply suffer a stack overflow and break.

    I suppose the next question is, do I contact the lender, or their legal representatives (who may be disinterested, but are at least people)?
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 16th Feb 18, 6:55 PM
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    Radical idea time (...maybe. I give credit to anyone that mentioned things on this theme.)

    I've read the documents, and could p*** a mortgage for the arrears, from anyone, tomorrow.

    The biggest crux of the matter is the ex being on the deeds. The options for removing them are:
    -Their signature.
    -Their death certificate.
    -Repossession.

    Basically, #3 offers the simplest route.

    So my crazy idea is to, with full cooperation all around of the lender and my relative, allow repossession of the property on the proviso that I immediately purchase it.

    Do we think this seems reasonable and/or realistic?

    The only caveat in this is that the lender is very big and very faceless bank. I can't imagine an actual human being assigned any practical part of the matter; so it would likely be referred to a computer that will simply suffer a stack overflow and break.

    I suppose the next question is, do I contact the lender, or their legal representatives (who may be disinterested, but are at least people)?
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    Radical Reality Check Time

    I don't know what documents you have read and I presume the missing letters are 'iss' but you're not suggesting that you can get a mortgage just for the arrears are you?

    It's not for you, or your relative, to allow the repossession, a Judge will decide that at the upcoming hearing. You are also not in a position to put any conditions on it i.e. you must be allowed to buy it immediately.

    If the possession order is granted, the sale of the property will follow due process and will likely be sold at auction. However, it will probably be given to an EA to market it once a valuation has taken place.

    As you will have prior knowledge that it will be coming onto the market, you will be well placed to get an offer in first. If it was to be sold at auction, you would have to offer above the guide price for the lender to accept a pre-auction bid.
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 16th Feb 18, 7:18 PM
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    Thrugelmir
    The ex really cannot be traced at all in this case.
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    Through some ones NI number. If they committed theft then worth pursuing.
    Financial disasters happen when the last person who can remember what went wrong last time has left the building.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 16th Feb 18, 7:38 PM
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    davidmcn
    So my crazy idea is to, with full cooperation all around of the lender and my relative, allow repossession of the property on the proviso that I immediately purchase it.

    Do we think this seems reasonable and/or realistic?
    Originally posted by Tobster86
    No, it is, like you say, crazy. As we've already explained, repossession means your relative being evicted and the bank putting the property on the open market. You can of course offer for it, but there's no guarantee you'll get it. And your relative will need somewhere else to live at least for the duration of marketing and completing the sale.
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