The Council of Mortgage Lenders most recent figures suggest that there will be 39,000 repossessions of homes by the end of 2010, a big drop from the 53,000 they previously expected.
Whilst any fall in such a worrying figure is to be welcomed, some of the decrease could be due to more homeowners, who have fallen into serious arrears with their mortgage, or other debts such as car loans, obtaining a suspended possession order.
This means that instead of the Courts forcing a property with mortgage arrears to be repossessed and sold to pay back the lender, they have allowed the owners to stay in their home as long as certain conditions are kept.
The order will compel a homeowner to pay off a certain amount of their mortgage or other debt arrears every month and keep up with on-going repayments.
But if homeowners don't keep to the conditions of a suspended possession order, they can be evicted very easily. That’s why it is imperative to ensure that the order is valid in the first place.
This situation arose for one of our clients. They had taken out a loan 20 years ago but when their circumstances changed, they couldn’t keep up the repayments. The lender took action to regain their money by forcing their home to be sold, but the Judge granted a suspended possession order allowing them to remain in their property with the help of a previous solicitor.
But when they still could not keep up with their repayments, the lender sought to invoke the order and take their home.
After taking further legal advice, this time from us, it was clear that the original loan they had taken out was in fact invalid. There were errors in the way it had been calculated which meant they had been paying off a debt which was never legally binding and the suspended possession order should never have been granted on their home. Their debt was written off and the charge was removed from their property.
The moral of the story is – if you are at risk of losing your home, or are currently subject to a suspended mortgage possession, it is worth seeking a second opinion on your case at the earliest opportunity.
If you are not already a homeowner but are thinking of getting on the ladder soon, now is the time to buy. Property prices are decreasing and with VAT set to rise on January 4th next year, buying now could save you a small fortune before it increases.
For Wigan Observer readers who instruct us during October, we will give a ten per cent discount on our fees, subject to terms and conditions.