Written evidence submitted by Andrew and
We, Andrew and Julie Peffer are submitting this
Formal Submission following on from our first Formal Submission
printed on Tuesday 21 July 2009 and published by the Treasury
Select Committee on Saturday 8 August 2009.
Since the Formal Submission published by the
Treasury Select Committee in August 2009 our three properties
have sold, two of which went at auction. The Lenders and all those
they employ have created a huge shortfall leaving us with a continuing
mounting debt, although many people are under the impression,
repossession is the end of the Borrower(s) liability. We have
been advised to go bankrupt, why should we, we have done nothing
wrong, illegal or fraudulent. By doing so, other creditors owed
will lose their money; this cannot be right when the situation
could have been avoided by the Lenders in the first place.
In the conclusion it was mentioned previously,
there were no Government bodies to help during these trying times
and that is why we had to turn to the press. This became steadily
worse, the Government bodies set up are supposed to be fair to
the Lender and the Borrower(s), in reality, they are only there
for the Lender.
As human beings we need a financial infrastructure
as it is our every day existence, Lenders and Government bodies
are aware of this. If Government bodies set up to investigate
issues concerning repossession find Lenders at fault it would
end up costing them not millions, but billions, what better way
to solve the issues than convince the Borrower(s) Lenders are
whiter than white, this is an easy way out and cannot be right.
Unless a person has been through a repossession
one will never understand what actually does go on "After
the Court Stages of Repossession", this though we would not
impose upon our worst enemy. We feel by keeping the Treasury Select
Committee informed via these submissions they have an insight
into the problems the repossessed face, after the Courts grant
lenders a Possession Order, then radical changes can be imposed.
We now carry on from our previous submission
with a further list of issues and the new protocol rules which
are not adhered to.
1. Certain Financial Institutions will state,
they have not taken Government funding; in effect they all have
in one way or another. Considering what has been ploughed into
the system to keep the Institutions going it would have been a
lot harder for them to survive, this was to benefit everyone but
in reality has only helped the Financial Institutions. One example
of this, not all Lenders passed on interest rate cuts.
2. Lenders should never expect the Borrower(s)
to subside their profits via the Variable Interest Rate, especially
when the Government have set interest rates at an historical low
of 0.50% and are urging Lenders to be more responsible. Yes we
are all aware when signing the Terms and Conditions Variable Interest
Rates can change; if this condition was taken out nobody would
be advanced a mortgage as this does not suit Lenders. The Variable
Interest Rate should never be a license for Lenders to print money.
Comments from Lenders are, they are not connected to the Bank
of England Base Rate (or the LIBOR rate), yet every time the Bank
of England Base Rate goes up, the Lenders increase their rates
as well. In August 2009 to November 2009 a mortgage payment increased
by £278.00 per month.
3. Financial Institutions are quick enough to
quote Terms and Conditions if a payment is late, yet when they
shut their branches early due to snow there is no leeway. The
Borrower(s) is/are informed, you should have got the payment in
sooner and a charge is levied. The self employed have to carry
on regardless, it is not being clever, they have to feed themselves
and pay bills.
4. If the Borrower(s) is/are self employed Lenders
should never make statements, it was your decision to become self
employed and that is not our problem. Lenders have no qualms in
taking self employed on in the first place and they would have
had to have passed the correct criteria.
5. Lenders, Solicitors and Debt Agencies never
suggest the Business Debt Line to self employed people, other
organisations do not deal with the Small Business Man. Trying
to get through to the Business Debt Line at times is impossible,
on the odd occasion when it is possible a message states they
are busy, try calling back later. Self employed are forgotten
people where repossession is concerned but on occasions they need
advice as well.
6. When self employed people query Income and
Expenditure Forms sent to them which never takes into account
a Small Business Persons situation Lenders or their Solicitors
never respond. It is frowned upon by all concerned when the self
employed attempt to submit their own Income and Expenditure Form.
7. Lenders use standard letters, although they
may issue their final decision in say August 2009 they still state
at the end of November 2009 there are still ways in which they
can help. If the Borrower(s) write back and ask what they can
do; they refer the Borrower(s) to their letter in August 2009
when their final decision was given. Why state this when they
do not mean it. Standard letters should be adapted and certain
paragraphs taken out instead of misleading people.
8. Due to Lenders having selective memory they
only want to communicate over the telephone, this way they can
say to any Judge, the Borrower(s) said this and the Borrower(s)
said that. If the Borrower(s) issue instructions for communication
in writing only this must be adhered to, when this happens the
Lender should from that point on never write to the Borrower(s)
stating, they have not indicated their personal circumstances
when in fact the comment is untrue and the Borrower(s) had kept
the Lender fully informed by letter, maybe once or twice a month.
9. Lenders should read up about a Borrower(s)
before putting in writing incorrect facts. For example, stating
the Borrower(s) was/were transferred to interest only type payments
when in fact an account had only ever been interest only type
10. With the amount of charges imposed upon
the Borrower(s) Lenders should be made to send important documents
by Recorded/Special Delivery when there is a time limit to respond
in connection to contents within the letter(s) sent, for example
in 7 days. Postal Strikes are not an excuse.
11. Repossession can happen to any person in
any walk of life and can be for a multitude of reasons. Local
Authorities and organisations set up by the Government should
always understand the repossessed are still Tax Payers and be
12. Although there are Government Schemes, if
your Lender does not participate in for example the Homeowners
Mortgage Support Scheme you are left out in the cold. No matter
what schemes are put in place there will always be repossessions.
13. Under new Government directive Lender's/Solicitor's
must inform the Local Authorities proceedings for possession of
a property has started. When the Local Authorities refer you to
an organisation they should never make statements to the Borrower(s)
to the effect, what do you want us to do about it, it is obvious
the repossessed are about to be homeless and as sated, although
they may be homeless, they are still Tax Payers.
14. The Borrower(s) should be able to inform
the Council they may become homeless, even if they have not been
to Court. Just because there are Government Schemes to help keep
the Borrower(s) in their home in many cases this is delaying the
inevitable. Under present rules you cannot submit a Homeless Application
until 28 days before the Borrower(s) has/have to vacate the premises.
If the Local Authorities have an application before it goes to
Court this would be on the understanding the Borrower(s) may not
become homeless, at least they would be aware of the situation.
We fully understand this would cause more work but 28 days is
not enough time.
15. Lenders should have explored all avenues
whether it is over the telephone or in writing before contacting
their Solicitor. If an option has never been suggested it should
never be through the Solicitor in the first instance, this gives
the impression the Lenders want to wash their hands of protocol.
16. Lenders should never have the right to send
a full and final response then ignore the Borrower(s) on new issues
that arise. The agreement is a two way affair the Borrower(s)
should not ignore Lenders, likewise Lenders should never ignore
17. When a Solicitor is appointed by a Lender
they should never in their first correspondence be adopting psychological
violence towards the Borrower(s) (who at that point is becoming
distressed with the whole situation) by stating, any losses their
client suffers due to a shortfall they will be liable for and
Solicitors or Debt Agencies will be used to recover the monies,
after all the Borrower(s) has/have not even been repossessed at
this point and no valuations have been conducted. Solicitors are
quick enough to mention about shortfalls but quite conveniently
it slips their mind to inform the Borrower(s) their client are
duty bound to obtain the best possible price for the property.
18. If the unfortunate happens and repossession
takes place the wording on an Order of Possession is as follows:
"1. The defendant give the claimant
possession of (address) on or before (date).
Then at the bottom of the Order of Possession
there is a paragraph headed:
To the defendant. The court has ordered
you to leave the property by the date stated in paragraph 1 above.
If you do not do so, the claimant can ask the court, without a
further hearing, to authorise a bailiff or High Court Enforcement
Officer to evict you (In that case, you can apply to the court
to stay the eviction; a judge will decide if there are grounds
for doing so.)
19. It does not help when Government bodies/Lenders
contradict each other on the true meaning of Voluntary Possession.
In light of Note 18 a person would have been to Court and given
a date to vacate the property. Therefore attending a Court Hearing
is not deemed as Voluntary Possession if you send back the keys
on the date set by the Judge. People assume you have to wait for
a Bailiff to evict you and until that time, sending the keys back
on the date set by the Judge is Voluntary Possession, this is
totally wrong. Voluntary Possession is deemed to be making yourself
20. Voluntary possession and what is deemed
to be making yourself "intentionally homeless" requires
21. Should the Borrower(s) try and go down other
avenues to secure a place by renting privately it must be pointed
out an Agent will do a Credit Check, if you are not honest in
the first place it will come out later. Once an Agent knows your
situation in full and then promises to get back to you that call
22. With the present system in this country
Lenders are allowed to wash their hands of the situation once
they have a Possession Order by handing it over to a Managing
Agent and selling as quickly as possible at whatever cost, this
cannot be right. Changes should be implemented to protect the
Borrower(s). Lenders will state, if the Borrower(s) does/do not
pay any shortfall they will lose, not true, they are happy to
sell at a loss as they will use Insurance Companies, Debt Agencies
and even wait for the Borrower(s) to get back on their feet by
waiting in the hope they acquire something in life, ie inheritance
then swoop like wolves.
23. Agents should always have the right software
when advertising properties. For example, if they are only set
up for residential properties, they should not be allowed to advertise
commercial properties resulting in a commercial building being
advertised in a residential section.
24. Agents should never be allowed to describe
a terraced shop as a detached house, apartment or studio flat
also a detached warehouse/production unit as a 1 bedroom detached
house, this goes against the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.
25. When an Estate Agent is reported to Trading
Standards that a property is mis-described, they should never
find any excuse not to prosecute the Agent when there is compelling
This has been highlighted on occasions due to
a property being advertised in the same manner in December 2009.
This was reported to Trading Standards around five to six weeks
after it was first advertised in the residential section as a
one bedroom detached house. The Agent is now unable to market
the property on their own web site due to not having the right
26. Trading Standards are meant to be there
to protect the consumer. If the Borrower(s) reports an Agent under
Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 and subsequently the Agent informs
Trading Standards the Lender would not consider an offer this
does not give Trading Standards an excuse to inform the Borrower(s),
the Agent would be able to convince a Judge the Lender would not
consider an offer. In effect Trading Standards are implying an
Agent has the right to do just as they please if the Lender does
not consider an offer. An offer not being considered has nothing
to do with the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.
27. When Agents place an advert in the local
paper as repossessed in the corner with the company name visible,
they are suggesting the business has ceased trading, when in fact
it could be completely the opposite where the property has been
repossessed and the company is still trading. In effect, Agents
doing this are destroying that business and yet there is no Law
to say or so we are advised they cannot do this.
28. It is a conflict of interest when Managing
Agents use their own subsidiary companies to do valuations and
taking the property to their own Auction House.
29. If a property is to be marketed properly
it should remain on the net and not be taken on and off for no
apparent reason, it should be imperative this happens when the
Managing Agent's subsidiary company takes it to Auction as at
this time it is only advertised for a very short time before the
30. Estate Agents are supposed to do weekly
checks for insurance purposes, anyone can say they have been to
a property and checked it, but do they have hard evidence.
31. Why do some properties stay on the net for
months on end once they have been sold ie seven months after sale?
32. If the Borrower(s) reports the Lender to
the Financial Ombudsman Service the Borrower should not be strung
along for months on end only to be informed, they cannot fine
or punish Lenders without any explanation, what good are the Financial
Ombudsman Service if they are unable to fine or punish Lenders,
we feel they are only there for the Lender. When a case gets too
complicated to handle it is just pushed to one side due to time
constraints, which is not the Borrower(s) problem.
33. The Financial Ombudsman Service should be
given more powers to protect the Borrower(s) against Lenders "After
the Court Stages of Repossession" when there is compelling
evidence, after all what repossessed can afford to seek Independent
Legal Advice and eventual Court Action which is the nonsense that
is thrown at them by Lenders and any organisations set up by the
34. The Government have policies in place to
help people stay in their homes but more should be done to protect
the Borrower(s) from psychological violence that is adopted by
Lenders, Solicitors, Managing Agents, Estate Agents and Debt Agencies
"After the Court Stages of Repossession". We are not
for one moment accusing every one of them using psychological
violence towards the Borrower(s) but when Lenders will do nothing
to those they employ in the sale of the property and subsequently
hold the Borrower(s) responsible for all costs even when those
they employ are clearly at fault this leaves it open to corruption.
35. When contacting Lenders under the Subject
Access Request they should provide all requested documents.
36. On asking for full break down of charges
of Repossession Package/Estate Agents Fees/Solicitors Costs etc
these should be itemised, not just on the statement as a lump
sum which is never forthcoming from the Lenders.
37. On the issue of monthly charges, for example
£100.00 per month arrears fee, we feel is extortionate. Lenders
are now getting round the charges issue by issuing leaflets stating
many of them are variable; therefore they appear to be able charge
what they like.
38. The repossession process should be more
open by Land Registry publishing all properties sold on the net
and not excluding repossessed ones.
We are not implying the Borrower(s) should be
able to walk away from their responsibilities but this issue of
selling repossessed properties needs a complete overhaul, if the
Lenders want to sell the property cheap why should the Borrower(s)
take the blame. The agreement was signed by the Lender as well
as the Borrower(s).
We are aware the contents of our Submissions
will not go down well with Lenders and certain organisations set
up by the Government. When you have been Tax Payers for 35 years
and feel as though you have been dragged through the gutter and
other repossessed are saying the same, the Authorities have to
be aware. Unfortunately there will always be repossessions; the
only way to protect those in the future is to act now.
As Tax Payers the repossessed deserve better
representation, "After the Court Stages of Repossession".
We would like to thank the Committee for allowing
us to submit a further submission.