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Can we keep our heads down?


Sue72
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We may have a buyer for our home in Spain and I would very much like to return to the UK to be nearer to my children.

 

Unfortunately we have had to drop the house price so low that we will pretty much just cover the mortgage and there won't be enough left to settle our debts in the UK as we had hoped.

 

We have defaulted debts in the UK that will become statute barred in two years. I'm worried that by moving back we will suddenly be bombarded by debt collectors. Is there any way that we can stay under the radar?

 

We will need to rent, as we won't have money to buy, but we'll hopefully have enough cash to pay six months rent up front. Will the agency still need to do a credit check? Can they do a check if we ask them not to?

 

Will looking for employment result in a credit check being done? How about obtaining an enhanced criminal records check? I will need one of those.

 

What other things would flag us up?

 

We could, once we find jobs, start some kind of payment plan, but it will be many many years until we can clear everything which means we will probably never ever be able to build a credit rating again as we are getting on a bit. I am really hoping we can hang on until the debts become statute barred or we win the lottery and can clear the lot. Wishful thinking, I know.

 

The debts are all unsecured and there are no CCJs. However I'm worried that if a CCJ is taken out when we return, we won't have the money to settle it. Presumably creditors can apply for a CCJ at any time?

 

Alternatively we could just stay in Spain and hope for the best, but if we don't return soon it is very unlikely that my husband will find a job if we return in a couple of years. The longer we stay away, the more difficult it will be.

 

If we had any way of paying the debts, I would happily do so, if only to be free of the worry and guilt, but we are just not in a position to clear them.

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It will much depend on the type of work you apply for if the employer will make a CRB check and or credit file checks.

As to what creditor may, can do will be dependant on the age/status of the debt.

 

Letting agents will do credit check and are unlikely to go forward if you refuse.

 

As soon as you apply any finance base product/ mobile phone/utilities account the information will enable creditors/dcas to trace you.

 

To rebuild a credit profile is harder now than ever before, pontential creditor looking at far longer periods of Good ++ credit management often up to 5-6 years.

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As soon as you rent/buy - put your name on the electoral roll - apply for utilities - council tax.. then your credit files will be updated with any new information.

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You can refuse to let the letting agency do a credit check on you if you have any kind of dispute (how they react will be a different matter), but the consequence of that is that they may ask for a bigger deposit up front or 3-6 months in advance. If you get house insurance on credit or car insurance on credit then that may alert others too.

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Thanks. We would hopefully be able to pay six months rent up front. I wouldn't be looking to take anything on credit at all. Never again!

 

I guess it is pretty inevitable that we will be chased. I now need to work out how best to cause delays in anything actually happening. I've just been looking around the forum for the procedure to follow, but haven't yet found it. I think I start by asking them to prove that we owe the money. Is that right?

 

The debts were defaulted four years ago. I guess demands were sent to my husbands previous address after he had left there. I don't understand why we were never contacted at our Spanish address as the bank was aware that I was living in Spain, yet never contacted me regarding the joint accounts and continued to give credit to my OH although it was clear he was struggling to pay. A phone call to me would have alerted me to the situation that I was unaware of.

 

There is nothing on our credit files to indicate that we have left the UK so they could still be sending demands to the previous address at the moment.

 

The debts have now been sold on. Who would I need to ask to prove the debt, the bank or the DCA?

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The DCA, but personally I would leave well alone until you are actually contacted by them, is there PPI on any of the accounts?

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Regarding letting agents and credit checks, they almost certainly will credit check you, but different letting agencies have different criteria for potential tenants with credit problems. Some will refuse a tenancy just for missed payments, others will ignore anything but a CCJ. Even with adverse information on your file, some will still offer you a tenancy, but request additional up front payment (could be as much as the 6 months in advance you mentioned, I'm afraid) or request a guarantor. Something to watch out for on that front is that almost all LA's now charge a non-refundable referencing fee, which can seriously mount up - our last one was £95 per person! Before they started doing this, I've always found that calling them and asking what their criteria is would avoid the need for pointless applications, but since it's been introduced they won't tell you because it's in their interest for a few people to apply and be refused (because they get to keep the fees, they reference 3 couples at £200 a pop and they've made £600 without even having to leave their desk!)

 

The usual way round this is to rent direct from the landlord - Gumtree is a good site for locating private rents, as is the local paper/website in the area that you want to live. The downside of this (as I have personally discovered more than once) is that times are tough for everyone at the minute, and not all private landlords a) Keep their houses in great condition and b) can afford to fork out for essential maintenance the minute it's needed. My experience is that it's usually the less well off landlords who go down this route, as it means they get to keep the full amount of the rent you pay, rather than have to pay a management fee to a letting agent. You may find yourself stumping up the cash for boiler repairs for example, then having to negotiate with the landlord to recoup the cost over a period of time.

 

It's also essential to ensure that your deposit is protected in one of the DPS schemes if you go down the private landlord route...again, speaking from personal experience only, it's much harder to get a deposit back from a landlord than it is a letting agency.

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No PPI and yes, I wouldn't do anything until I had to. What would be likely happen if I ignored them completely?

 

Great information LaughingGirl. Unfortunately we do have a couple of CCJ although they have been settled. I wasn't aware of them until recently, but have managed to pay them. I suppose they would still go against us. There's a lot of info there that I hadn't thought of or wasn't aware of. Thanks.

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No problem at all, Sue. The whole lettings game has changed a lot over the last five years. Do you know anyone local to where you're moving? Some local knowledge can be very useful when it comes to landlords/agents to avoid.

 

I've got a CCJ, and it didn't seem to make one iota of difference to our application - however, I also know that despite the £190 in referencing fees that I paid our letting agent, they neither contacted my previous landlord, or my or my partners employers, just (bizarrely) our personal referees, so I think it's quite safe to say they didn't credit reference us either. £190 for two 30 second phone calls - nice work if you can get it, eh? I'm sure our landlord would be delighted if he knew!

 

As far as the debts go, I'd second Brigadiers advice - wait until they contact you. Do you even know who currently 'owns' the debts if they've been sold on?

"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

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We would probably be moving to an area that we don't know, so, no local knowledge.

The two debts on my file seem to have been sold on to Mkdp Lip. My husband also has defaults from First Direct, Amex, Preference cards and Lowell Portfolio.

Those letting agent fees are extortionate!

I wonder if it would be worthwhile trying to get a credit check here in Spain and showing copies of that. I suppose there are credit reference companies here. The record would at least show that we haven't got any bad debts in Spain where we've been living.

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It might be worth looking to see if there is any local online forums, and asking on there to see if anyone has any advice on who to avoid. Almost every town has one notoriously dodgy landlord. :|

 

How long have you been in Spain? Just curious, because if it's more than 6 years and none of the debts have been linked to your address there, you may well not have a problem to begin with...I've never known a letting agent ask for more than 6 years address history.

 

That's nothing, when it comes to fees - one of the LA's we originally looked at wanted £135 per person!

"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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I'm not sure that you're going to have a problem in the first place if nothing is linked. What address are you using to get your credit reference files?

"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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At the end of the day, they're going to ask you for your last 6 years address history - not your last UK address. The only problem that I can see is that they might want more money up front because they can't actually run a credit check on you, as such.

"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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That's encouraging. At least we'll have a chance of finding somewhere. I'll be able to get a reference from a rental agent here which may help too. Thanks.

 

Fingers crossed the house sale goes through.

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Good luck, I really hope everything goes smoothly for you. Let us know how you get on, or if you have any problems. There seems to be a few people moving back from Spain at present, so your experiences could be helpful to them.

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"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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