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Clare11

Northern Bank "solicitors fees" re mortgage

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Hi everyone

I would appreciate any views you may have on this one.

 

Back in 1995 we took our mortgage out. Then in 2004 we left the Northern Bank and stripped them of all our business including the mortgage.

 

There was no other charged involved only £100 in "solicitors fees" which they took without our permission from a small account we held with them.

 

Recently I have asked the Northern Bank for a breakdown of the £100 in time/costs. I have done so on THREE occasions and always they have failed to do so!

In the mortgage contract way back in 1995 NO specific amount is mentioned.....only the following term is used.

"

"Once all the Secured Amounts have been repaid or paid to the Bank in full, the Bank will, at my/our request, release the security created by this Charge. I/we will first pay all costs in connection with the release of this charge.

 

 

In their last correspondence they sent the following "gibberish".

"The release of your mortgage required the Bank to execute a legal deed. This is not merely a "handling" exercise as you suggest. The legal deed referred to can either be a release of the Bank's charge if the land is registered in the Land Registry or a re-conveyance to the mortgagor if the premises are registered in the Registry of Deeds or have otherwise been demised to the Bank. All such legal deeds have to be prepared and executed by the Bank's own in-house solicitors. Until this legal deed is executed by the Bank clear title to the premises does not re-vest in the mortgagor. This is therefore a legal requirement, and not an arbitrary exercise by the Bank, when a legal mortgage is redeemed by the mortgagor. The fee charged is not excessive for legal work of this nature and we do not intend to refund the fee"

 

Now the £100 was charged THREE years ago and I think its an unreasonable amount for so little work.

£50 would have been ample way back in 2004?

What is deemed a "reasonable" amount for similar work today?

 

 

Like I said before they have ignored my request for the breakdown in time/costs for this work.

The jargon they use is not very "user friendly" ......obviously trying to frighten me off.

What would you advise I do?

Do I have a "leg to stand on"....smiles

I would love to hear your opinions on this matter.

 

Kind regards

Clare

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Hi Clare,

 

From the Mortgage FAQ's

 

You can not claim:

 

Interest normally due on the mortgage

Arrangement fees

Solicitors’ fees

Fees for arranging your own insurance

Higher lending charge

 

 

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Hi Mocha

I am still unsure.

Does anyone realise how little work is involved in "solicitors fees" ?

How can they justify the amount.

I have the following "inside" information from within the Northern Bank on what is all entailed in "executing a legal deed" which the Bank said is down to "solicitors fees"

Please read the following.

"The work done by the Bank's solicitors is that a Release of Mortgage form is printed by the Bank (as usual a template is used and relevant details inserted by any jobsworth) time spent on preparation - less than 5 mins. The release deed is then 'sealed' and signed by 2 signatories who will probably be The Secretary of the Bank and maybe another Senior Exec - time spent - less than 5 mins. Covering letter - less than 5 mins. Then sent to Land Registry where the staff there probably spend more time processing the release than the Bank would in preparing it. It is certainly not the big deal the Bank makes out and basically could be done by anyone with half an ounce of brain matter."

 

Then later I was told.....

"I spoke to my friend today and he confirmed what I said - job is done by basic clerical worker . Solicitor is not really involved other than one has probably prepared the document X years ago. The overall cost is minimal - I would continue to press for the breakdown of how the charges total £100 - you and I know they cant/wont do it.

 

So now you know why I am questioning the £100 charge to us in 2004

 

I'm thinking of confronting them in a letter with this info and ask them to prove otherwise.

 

As you know they have refused to give me a breakdown of time/costs for this £100 charge....its because they CANT!

 

I dont mind paying a reasonable amount but on this occasion I feel we have been ripped off!

 

I have also been advised that the following wording in my mortgage contract is a standard wording for an MEAF.

The Northern Bank said it is NOT an MEAF!

Surely the charge they levied IS an MEAF OR part of the MEAF, and it's covered by the FSA's ruling.

I can't understand why they seem to believe otherwise, as no other lender seems to have the same belief they do about things which should form part of the MEAF.

"Once all the Secured Amounts have been repaid or paid to the Bank in full, the Bank will, at my/our request, release the security created by this Charge. I/we will first pay all costs in connection with the release of this charge.

 

 

The more I read, the more confused I am getting.

 

I need advice......big time.

 

 

Anyone care to make comment on this matter?

 

Kind regards

Clare

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We too were stung for 'release charges' of about £60 when we redeemed our Northern Bank mortgage some 12 years ago. We were told it was for legal work etc.

This was in those happy days when Northern Ireland banks charged £4.50 to set up a direct debit, £8 to cancel one.

What really annoyed me was to have our house deeds checked by solicitor four years ago and to be told that the Bank had not removed their charge on the property at the Lands Registry.

At that time Northern Bank was owned by National Bank of Australia and squeezed for every pound it could make. Staff we had known for years were moved around or made redundant and NBA used 'our' millions to pay off the losses of the parent company.

I closed the Northern Bank account I had opened more than 30 years before. I also moved our house and car insurances. I know that many friends have done likewise. We'll not be back.

By the way, one seldom sees the Co-Op internet bank Smile mentioned. It pays 2% on current account balances and over the past four years we are totally satisfied with its service, although its savings rates are pathetic.

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