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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34106
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My mother is being threatened by a solicitor that if she doesn't

Resolved Question:

My mother is being threatened by a solicitor that if she doesn't pay £15,000 in settlement of a £24,000 claim then a charge will be taken out on her home with 8% interest applied to the full £24,000 until the property is sold and the bill settled. The home is jointly owned with my father. They have a very small mortgage still outstanding (circa. £20,000) and the property is worth approximately £350,000. My mother is 79 and my father 76. My parents have recently made a Will and changed the status of their ownership to tenants in common rather than joint tenants. The question is - does the tenancy status effect someone's ability to charge the property? i.e. if they reverted to joint tenants could my father block the charge given his legal entitlement to my mother's share of the property? This is causing my parents extreme distress.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What is the claim for?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This is where it gets a little complicated. I will try to be brief.

In 2006 my ex partner lent £25,000 directly to my brother - my brother and I were going into business and my brother used the money to buy shares in the company.

In 2010 my ex-partner threatened me with legal action to force the sale of our jointly owned property and recovery of the £25,000 lent to my brother. I was recovering from heart surgery and was unable to contest it so I signed a consent order to pay the £25,000 and sell the house. The business went bust and I was unemployed and unwell. I was unable to comply with the consent order to pay the £25,000 so my mother paid it for me. The house subsequently sold and that was that.

In January 2013 as a result of the business closure I was declared bankrupt. In the meantime I had recovered from illness and found a new job and was paid a bonus. In August and October 2012 prior to being made redundant I paid that bonus of £24,000 back to my mother. My mother had originally borrowed the money from her siblings, one of whom was her brother who was now dying of cancer. I felt morally obligated to repay my mother at the earliest opportunity which I did. I declared this to the Official Receiver in the bankruptcy questionnaire. The next thing I know I am being threatened with a bankruptcy restrictions order unless the money is repaid. I didn't have it but in any event didn't think is was fair to have to pay it since it was originally paid under a consent order with the court and the original debt was actually my rogue brothers anyway. I received a 4 year BRO and they then started to chase by mother for the £24,000. In their last 'without prejudice' letter they gave her until next week to accept a £15,000 settlement or they will seek a charge on the house at 8% interest....

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
For clarity - you went bankrupt soon after repaying your mother is that correct?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes - paid my mother in August (£18k) and October 2012 (£6k)and was declared bankrupt in January 2013. The bankruptcy followed a court case brought by Grant Thornton which I fully expected to win. The judgement hearing was on 17 August 2013 - after the £18k payment but before the £6k payment. I appreciate the technicalities but my mother was a wholly innocent party to this having helped me comply with the earlier consent order. I was punished with a 4 year BRO for being unable to repay them the money and now they want two bites of the cherry by recovering the money from my mother.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry but the the Charge can still be taken out (in the form of a Restriction) but will "bite" against your mother's share of the property alone - and there is more than enough there to cover the debt.
I am afraid that the BRO is a punishment for perceived bad behaviour - the money is being recovered to repay your debts in the proper order.
I am sorry - I know that this is not the news that you wanted - but legally they can indeed pursue your mother in this way
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please confirm then that the status of the 'tenancy' of the ownership of the property (tenants in common v joint tenants) would make no difference? It is a sad world indeed when what is morally correct is perceived to be bad behaviour....!

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Given the equity in the property then the basis on which your parents hold the property is of no real relevance
Clare
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