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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13329
Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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Hi I have a huge problem concerning a property abroad , due

Customer Question

Hi I have a huge problem concerning a property abroad , due to unforeseen circumstances we have been unable to pay our French mortgage and have fallen into arrears to the sum of 4000 euro . We have received a formal letter from the French bank requesting payment which we do not have , they have threatened to for close and sell the property at auction and recover the rest. We have a property here which is mortgaged with an endowment , the question I need answering is 1 can they take our property here to recover outstanding debt or take our endowment which matures next year. We are ourselves trying desperately to find a solution , one solution would be to take an early settlement on our endowment to pay off arrears or to go bankrupt . We have no funds to seek legal advice other than this. Any advice would be much appreciated
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.
The french banks are not geared up to deal with arrears. If you default by 90 days they will foreclose. If the sale fails to pay of the debt they can pursue you for the balance. A judgement in france would be enforceable here.

Whether they can force the sale of the endowment depends upon whether is is pledged to your uk mortgagee. If not then it can be used for any purpose. I would not cash it early if you can possibly avoid it. You will get better value by selling i on the Traded endowment exchange ( see here: ) or by pledging it to a bank as security for a loan.

Bankruptcy is not a good idea if you have equity in your house.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you for your last reply, so can we be forced to sell our property here, via the french bank to pay off the remaining balance once the property has gone to auction ? We can no longer afford the french mortgage due to wage cuts this is devastating to us,however this is about damage limitation at this point in time. The idea of cashing in the endowment to pay the arrears was only to buy us time to try and sell the property, which could take a long time.I understood that if bankruptcy occurred this would not affect yr property ? many thanks

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.
If your current house has any equity then a trustee in bankruptcy can force its sale to pay any debts due.

If the house is not worth anything because it is in negative equity or has only a very small equity they will let you keep it