The Big Issue – Stop House Repossessions

By July 14, 2009House Repossession

Being homeless because of house repossession can be the worst nightmare of them all, it is one thing to be in debt but another not to have a home at all.

The Big Issue ( has an interesting article which shows how devastating repossession can be with people still in debt after getting their house repossessed back in 1991.

Amazingly they are not qualified to get housing support straight away and are deemed “intentionally homeless through defaulting on their mortgage due to their own financial mismanagement” – seems harsh indeed. One might reasonably suggest that there was nothing ‘intentional’ at all about their situation and at the end of the day they are homeless and need support from the same councils and government they have paid so much tax to over the years. Some are lucky and are classified as “unintentionally homeless”. Can any of our readers help us with how to claim unintentional?

1991 – back when a swathe of people lost their jobs and interest rates were at 15.5% – ouch.

The Big Issue interviewed Melody Clarke (married with a child) was a victim of house repossession back in 1991 and whilst on the breadline every cent went back to pay the then £50,000 mortgage to the bank.

After repossession City Bank sold or auctioned their property for £27,000, so together with the Clarkes £29,000 which they had paid in mortgage payments during their time they thought the £50,000 plus interest had been paid off. Unfortunately, no, they got hit with a £70,000 bill. £70k in 1991… That’s a lot of money even to well paid City folk now… 18 years later!

The couple spent the next 12 years fighting the bill through the courts. 3 hours a day for 12 years later they did in fact win the battle, the interest upon interest, compounded interest was finally agreed at a more manageable £4,500.

IMPORTANT – Clarke is now a director of York Credit Union and states “I’ve never come across a case where the mortgage company has got the figures right. Invariably, they’re vastly overstating the debt. The trouble is most people just take their word”. Outrageous but we here at have seen this in the corporate world far too often, mistakes are made, hundreds of thousands or millions are and can be moved with a keystroke or one poor MS Excel formula.

We are a nation obsessed with bricks and mortar – hard not to be when your mate down at the pub just made a killing purchasing the house back in 1999. However 71% of UK households own their house (have a mortgage at least) compare that to 31% of Germans, 50% of Austrians and 55% of the French.

Lesson one – Fight the repossession and try to get the house sold privately (use an agent) before the auction. Maximise your house sale value.

Lesson two – Check the mortgage figures. Do you really owe that much? Does it add up? Ask multiple experts, someone excellent with numbers, a Microsoft Excel master is what you want. Don’t always believe the local accountant or surveyor.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • David Smith says:

    I am fighting for compensation for thr wrongful reposession of a house that I bought for myself and three children.I suffered a relapse of serious spinal injuries which meant I was unable to look after my affairs had an operation v. serious medication involved huge amounts of morphine etc.

    Although presnt at possession hearing did nothing to defend the action and claimant awarded full possession.Somthing odd then happened I paid all arrears on demand of £4500 money shortage not my problem was a small prop. developer and had sold a couple of units.I was allowed to stay in the property made the next two instalments but then everything stopped I did not collect rents due Id lost the use of one shoulder and was in immense pain. daily attendance at local hospitsal for physio.

    Lenders were an unscrupulous bunch had bought my mortgage from SPML and went straight for reposession. Never contacted me, evicted my tenants without notice, took the property and then did not correspomd for two whole years. Then they wrote to claim a shortfall. I had forgotten I even owned the property or that I had sold other properties and where they were.

    Also no memory of medical history still dont have all the facts but have asked my GP for a copy of my medical history. Claimant told court when seeking to get charge registered against another prop. that I was living in Birmingham under an alias. Also told court that their was first charge over the property when they had bought it for knock down price.

    Can I get compensation from these people in yout view?? Do they not have to follow proper procedure when reposessing?? Surely having accepted payment of arrears they would have had to get a new Order?

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