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Natwest Arrears/Shoosmith letter/tenanted property


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Hi,

I'm experienced in dealing with DCA's with regard to credit cards but I now have a problem with natwest mortgages. I believed myself to be three months in arrears (of which I paid one month on Friday sent by recorded post BTW). the reason I'm in arrears is not a lack of affordability under normal circumstances but the property in question is tenanted and I have had a succession of very unfortunate events happen inclusing collapsed ceilings, burst boilers, faulty electrics, dead dishwasher not to mention two months void. This has led to a very tight financial situation as you can imagine. I run my own business and foresee being able to put this right soomer rather than later and in fact am lookign to sell the property to the current tenant who wants to buy.

 

I received a letter from shoosmiths this morning saying that I must pay all arrears by 23rd March and every subsewuent month must be on time or they are instructed to commence court proceedings. It turns out from the figures they are quoting I am 5 months in arrears (not counting the payment made on Friday)

 

I cannot afford to pay this amount as it stands and I am late in paying my mtge every month because the tenants rent does not come in until the 7th of the month and my mtge is due at the end of the previous month of course

 

My question is this......

 

How do I approach Shoosmiths on this - I am very used to the beligerent and frankly dismissive way that normal DCA's act - is this going to be the same experience. Is there any point in expalingin all this and askign for more time to pay or will I have to jump through hoops I&E etc (there's no need for this as I say in normal circumstances I'm fine.

 

After nearly 3 years of dealing with credit cards I thought I was hardened but this has knocked me as I know these are not empty threats - I just need to know what my best course of action could be.

 

Really appreciate any thoughts.

 

Thanks

 

GIB

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Shoosmiths are solicitors, not a DCA, so hopefully they will behave a little better.

 

Don't be pressured into paying the entire arrears up front, you do not have to do that. If they proceed to court and you can make the current mortgage instalment (CMI) plus something towards the arrears (which will clear those arrears before the end of the term of the mortgage), the worst that will happen is that a suspended possession order will be granted. If it is the first time you are in court, and there is equity in the property (over 50k is usually a benchmark), then you may be lucky in gaining an adjournment on terms.

 

You are not obliged to provide them with an I&E, though if you are making an offer to pay over a period of time, then it makes sense to include one. If you make an offer, do so in writing and remind them that under the pre-action protocols they should respond to you in writing and give a reason for any rejection.

 

You're right, they are not empty threats, however, they won't be able to take your house without a long struggle ahead of them - albeit one which you will ultimately pay for as your contract will indicate they can charge you for their legal fees. It is far better to make an offer that you feel is reasonable and that you can stick to. You could also ask your tenant to put his offer to purchase in writing and start the ball rolling on that score - if the case does end up in court, it will be good evidence that you are trying to resolve the matter.

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  • 1 month later...

We have just had a truly horrendous time with Shoosmiths/Natwest mortgages and I'm still waiting for them to respond to my complaints. We have a residential property which until last year was let long-term, sadly our tenant died last April and the house wasn't in a state to be let again until September. Having also lost my regular income last March, we were unable to pay the Natwest mortgage until a new tenant moved in (a fact which we kept them fully aware of but they ignored and we had to borrow money from our parents to pay the arrears after stressful demands etc.).

We eventually made a payment arrangement last November but then my husband's business experienced a downturn (we're both self-employed) and we couldn't meet the arranged payment. Wrote to Natwest asking to pay arrears over the next 12 months and to extend the mortgage term by a year so regular payments didn't need to be made. Had a letter back saying we couldn't have a 'payment holiday' due to arrears and that account would be referred to solicitors. They had our financial statement/proposal but when I phoned they said they couldn't find it and nothing I could do except wait for solicitors to contact us.

When we got a letter from Shoosmiths, I phoned and they were extremely unhelpful, demanding payments they knew we couldn't make, refusing to accept that we had made a proposal, they even said we didn't have permission to let the property and I had to email a copy of the Natwest permission letter. In the end, they said I would have to wait for court proceedings but they reassured me that the tenant wouldn't be contacted until court proceedings had been issued.

Two days later, we got a letter from our letting agent saying Shoosmiths had wrote to the tenant and advised him that he needed to find somewhere else to live as the house was being repossessed! He had just verbally agreed to renew the tenancy but not actually signed. Several phonecalls and emails to a very rude man at Shoosmith's and trying to make a complaint to Natwest, we're no further except the tenant has moved out meaning we have absolutely no way of paying the mortgage.

It seems to me that Shoosmith's have acted to get the property vacant, so it would be easier to repossess. I had to ask them three times in writing to confirm that the property was not and had never been the subject of court proceedings, by which time it was too late. They refused to accept any payment other than the regular monthly amount plus £10, which they knew we couldn't afford. We had to borrow again to get them to stop harassing us.

My advice would be to make sure you keep every single bit of correspondence - don't deal with them by phone but get a named email address, so you have a record of everything.

Also, I think they have breached the mortgage pre-action protocol but I don't know much about it and am researching at the mo. I'll post any useful info I find but if anyone else has any advice it would be much appreciated.

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