Now There’s Even a House Prices Crash Calculator

After years of talking up the property boom and the ‘you can’t lose with property’ articles in the media, the newspapers are now full of doom and gloom about the future of UK house prices.

The reality may be that a housing market depression may be caused by nothing more than the fact that we all start to believe that house prices will fall, we don’t put our houses on the market and we don’t try to move home.

This means that house prices will fall and those affected most will not be those who can ride out the storm and stay put in their homes, but those who are facing repossession.

This Is Money the website arm of the London Evening Standard have even published a price crash calculator so that if you aren’t scared enough already, you can truly frighten yourself into worrying about what your house will be worth if prices fall the same way they did in 1992!

The threat of negative equity however is now a very real one and millions of people will find it impossible to refinance their mortgages and will be forced onto their lenders’ top standard variable rates.

Does Alistair Darling Want You To Be Repossessed?

Maybe the Government, along with the usual middle class do gooders at the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Shelter actually want you to be repossessed and lose your home?

Surely, that can’t be right?

Yet the Scottish newspaper the Sunday Herald Reports today the following:

“Prompted by concerns raised by Citizens Advice, Shelter and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, chancellor Alistair Darling announced last week that he has asked the Office of Fair Trading to investigate potential consumer detriment in the sale-and-leaseback market.

A spokeswoman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders said: “While we welcome the review, it is disappointing that no immediate action will be taken to regulate sale-and-leaseback schemes.

“Homeowners in difficulty may currently be considering selling their property through these schemes at a discounted value, without an independent valuation of their home, and with no real security of tenure.”

Whilst it is true that there are some rogue rent back traders out there (especially those offering to pay 100% of market value who in reality keep at least 40% back for many years), this Government is expert in knee jerk politics.

So many of the laws that have been passed since Labour came into power seem to be a reaction to scare stories in the tabloids.

The reality of the sell and rent back scenario is that it gives homeowners a last resort to keep their homes when all else has failed.

If the Government legislate against that last resort because a powerful lobby of middle class people feel that that they need to legislate against other people having the right to sell their homes for less than market value in order to stay in them, the outcome (like that of many of their policies) will be exactly the opposite.

CAB and Shelter may talk the talk but they won’t offer you a home when you are repossessed and evicted.

As for the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) – well who do you think supplies the financing and re-mortgaging for sell and rent back companies?

Is Alistair Darling (or any other of the wealthy Islington-ite Labour Government) going to provide you with a nice Council House or put you to the top of the housing list when you are repossessed?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

If you are thinking of selling and renting back make sure that you do the research and ask for references from other sellers when dealing with a rent back buyer.

Real Life Repossession Cases – Mrs B vs Kensington Mortgages

In order to help other home owners who are facing repossession, we are going to start posting actual cases.

These will be based on situations faced by people who have contacted us but of course, names and identifying information will remain hidden.

Case #1

Mrs. B
Location: Wakefield
Value of Home: approx £500,000
Total Mortgage: £108,000
Lender: Kensington
Second Charge: None
Loan Arrears: £24,000

Mrs B contacted us after receiving a Bailiff’s Warrant for Possession from her local county court on behalf of her lender, Kensington.

She had followed standard procedure to ask the court to allow her to pay her substantial arrears over 2 months. For this she used the Court Form N244. Because her court was busy the judge could only hear her case late on Friday morning, repossession by bailiffs was set to take place at 11am on Monday.

Normally, if a homeowner asks the court to help agree a repayment plan with their lender the judge will recommend that the lender accepts the plan and will suspend the repossession.

However, the judge can only suggest this to the lender.

In Mrs B’s case, the judge took on board the extenuating circumstances (serious illness in the family, coupled with a very low mortgage compared to property value and no other lenders involved) and urged the lender’s solicitors to ask them to accept the payment of £24,000 arrears over a 2 month period.

This is a large sum of money, but also a very short repayment period for the lender to agree to, and Mrs B was able to show that she could make these payments.

However, the lender refused the Judge’s recommendation and stated that only arrears payment in full before the bailiffs arrived on Monday would be acceptable. This was lunch time on Friday.

Unfortunately, Mrs B didn’t contact us until late afternoon on Friday.

If she had contacted us earlier we would have been able to arrange a cash buyer for her home with an option to buy it back later. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to even get ID documents to a solicitor before the repossesion was to take place on Monday morning.

To make matters worse, Mrs B had made a payment of £5,000 on the Friday morning, which instead of being money she and her family could use to find rented accommodation after the bailiffs repossessed her home, would only slightly reduce the overall amount owed to her lender, especially once the lender had added on its legal fees, penalties and costs of selling her home at auction, probably with a very low reserve just to cover their costs.

If you even think you might be facing a similar situation in the near future, seek advice now, because like Mrs B, you might believe that just paying arrears when you go to court will be enough to stop your lender from repossessing your home.

Increasingly, lenders are unwilling to accept arrears repayment arrangements because they fear that by not repossessing today and getting their money back, that your property may not be worth enough to cover your mortgage and loans if there is a property crash.

For more information on the repossession process visit our website Stop Repossessions Org

Sub Prime Lender Kensington Pulls No Punches in Home Repossessions

In the last few weeks we have had numerous calls from desperate homeowners who have gone to court to try and make an arrangement to pay off their mortgage arrears and ask the judge to suspend a possession order.
Kensington Logo
All of these callers have said the same thing.

The Judge asked the lender’s solicitors to speak to their client (the lender) to be lenient and agree a repayment plan. The answer comes back – a resounding ‘No’. The lender will only accept full arrears paid or repossesssion.

When asked the question ‘Who is your lender?’ the answer in 99% of cases has been Kensington.

Kensington are well known on the online forums for their heavy handed tactics and the huge charges they add as soon as a borrower misses a payment.

This sudden rise in calls for help regarding Kensington repossessions seems to suggest that maybe Kensington are looking to get as much cash back from their borrowers as possible before house prices (and their asset values) tumble.

After all, when faced between paying high inter bank interest for their money or bringing in cash from troubled borrowers via repossessions (and charging them high fees for the privilege) which would they choose?

The fact is that if you must borrow from a sub prime lender then read the small print carefully and make sure you can stick to the monthly payments – the consequences of not doing so are ever more likely to result in your home being repossessed.