A recent Times column by Stephen Gerlis, a District Judge at Barnet County Court, looks at the risks people in debt face, and the powers that creditors and courts have to take steps to recover that debt.
With 10,000 people going insolvent every month, a 65% rise in mortgage repossessions, and the UK’s population in a combined £1,300bn of personal debt, the county courts are kept busy.
Interest rate rises mean higher monthly mortgage repayments and, with these increased expenses not being offset by similar rises in incomes, people face an increased risk of losing their homes.
Once a creditor has a judgement against a debtor, they can seek to enforce that judgment against any property owned by the borrower, from personal possessions such as cars and laptops, to the ultimate sanction of forcing the sale of their house or flat, even if the property is jointly owned.
This is by means of a Charging Order which puts a notice on the property confirming that the creditor has a charge against it. In this situation, the property cannot then be sold or mortgaged unless the debt to the creditor is paid off first. Ultimately, a creditor can take the ultimate step of forcing a quick sale of the property by auction.
In such a situation, what can a debtor do to prevent the loss of his or her property?
Debtors have the option of consulting their local Citizens Advice Bureau to organise repayment of the debts, entering into an Insolvency Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) by which the creditors agree to regular, often discounted payments being made, or bankruptcy.
The worst thing to do in such a situation is nothing. Many lenders will be sympathetic provided the debtor is open with their financial problems and is willing to take steps to deal with the situation.
In addition, debtors have the option of selling their house quickly. Molae Properties can buy your house quickly for cash, within 7 days, and help you avoid the threat of repossession.
Ignoring debts and forcing your mortgage lender to sell your property by auction means you may not receive the full amount the house is worth. With the solution offered by Molae, you can even rent your house or flat back, and remain in your home.