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Ross Miller
Ross Miller,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 756
Experience:  Director (Litigation and Mediation) at Hilltop Solutions
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I bought two btl flats in 2004 but when I couldn't rent them

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Hello Ross, I bought two btl flats in 2004 but when I couldn't rent them out for £1300 pcm which is what is said on the survey, I got three estate agents round to look at selling them, then I discovered they were worth a lot less than I had paid. I was not alone, 9 of us bought 11 flats and we all started discovering that our flats were not worth what we had paid and they would only rent out for £650. We had all used the same mortgage broker, same solicitor and the same surveyor. Our mortgage applications had been altered and our signatures forged. I started telling the banks this in March 05, when I first started to realise what had happened. We subsidised the flats for as long as we could by using up our savings and re-mortgaging our home but by 2008 we ran out of money and the flats were repossessed. Both banks are still pursuing us for the shortfall even though we have shown them over 130 pages of evidence including a spread-sheet from the insurance company that supplied the solicitor with PLI, highlighting how fraudulently our solicitor acted but one of the banks has just written to me to say that their fraud dept feel my evidence is "too historic", how can they claim that when I have been telling them for 14 years?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I have just added the spread-sheet, we appear about half-way down, best regards, Mia
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Nicola

Hello thanks for the information, I am not on for long this evening but while I am here, can you tell me who forged your signature, what for and how you know this?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
So my husband and I signed a mortgage application form, sent it to the mortgage broker, he then sent it to a packager and from there it went to the bank. Three years after sending the forms, I asked the bank if I could have a copy and the 11 page document that they sent me was completely not in our handwriting and our signatures were forged. A lady who worked at the brokers admitted to having given me a career (I was a full time Mum at the time) but she denied increasing my income from £1187 pa to £11187 pa. However the handwriting was the same as the mortgage brokers. I hope this helps. What I really need to know is can the banks seriously say that my evidence of mortgage fraud is ‘too historic’ and how long can the banks keep chasing the debt?
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
My questions are: is it fair for a bank to say my proof of mortgage fraud is 'too historic' when I have been complaining about it since 2005, just because the original bank sold this toxic mortgage to another bank? And what is the time limitation on chasing a mortgage shortfall? Please, best regards,
Mia

Hi Mia, Thank you for the information and apologies for the delay. I am going to look into this for you. Can you explain to me what the difference is between the documents that you sent and the ones which had been forged? Additionally what affect did the difference have on the situation you are in now. Can you also tell me when it was you discovered that the documents had been forged? Thank you.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I filled in one application for one flat:
I did not put a profession for me because I was a full-time Mum, I said my income was £1187 pa and I said the rent would be £1200 pcm, the form the bank had said I was a Design Consultant, earning £11,187 pa and the flat would rent for £1300 pcm.
The mortgage for this flat was on a House 2 house scheme (again something that was chosen without our knowledge) and this meant that if the rent didn't get paid or did not cover the mortgage, the bank didn't care because we 'allegedly' had enough household income to cover any shortfall, but of course we didn't because that wasn't my income.
For the second flat, I did not put a profession for myself, and again I said my income was £1187 pa. A whole new 11 page document was received by the bank (different bank) and again I was a Design Consultant, with three years of income on display and that I was earning £11,887 pa and as none of this form was in our handwriting, our signatures were forged too. This bank did arrange the mortgage in proportion to the rental income, they told me (I have it in writing) that they agreed to £1000 pm mortgage payments based on the fact that the rent was 130% of the mortgage payment (in other words because the rent was going to be £1300 pcm), it wasn't is was only £650 pcm in both flats, hence we had to subsidise them until we could sort this mess out. We really thought that if we showed all of our evidence to the banks, they would sort these scammers out but all they kept saying was, "as long as you are paying the mortgages, we can't see a problem". I didn't want to just stop paying because I knew it would affect my credit rating and they were threatening to take my home.
The first flat belonged to the mortgage broker and had a gifted deposit.
The second mortgage is based on a commercial mortgage, had a gifted deposit and was tenanted at the time of sale, with the tenant only paying £650 pcm through a reputable letting agent.
We never saw the comparables for the first flat (the surveyor refused to supply them) but the bank did get them for the second flat, one was sold with a £60k hike in price over a few months, the second with a £80k hike over a few months and the third was not sold at the time of our survey.
I discovered the errors on the surveys almost straight away, I didn't even think about our mortgage applications until 3 years later whilst still fighting the banks, a friend who was also in the same position as me, said he was going to ask the banks for all the info they had on file for him and suggested i did the same and that was when I saw the fraudulent applications.
The effects of the flats not being worth the mortgage nor renting out for enough has meant we couldn't afford to sell them and we couldn't afford to keep them.

Thank you for the information, what a situation! Firstly, keep on at the banks and tell them you are going to involve a solicitor should it not get sorted out, hopefully they make decide to move on this but keep at them. More importantly, despite you continuing efforts with the bank, I think legally you are going to have to pursue the company who forged the signatures, from what it looks like, they have altered your income so that you qualify for the mortgages so adjusted the documents accordingly. No professional acting reasonably would assume that you have made a mistake and just "forgot" to add a "1" on your salary figure. What you are going to have to do is instruct a representative. You can firstly, see if there are any financial expert at the local citizens advice who can help. However, it is likely that you will have to instruct a solicitor. You will need to present all of the evidence you have to them and build a case around your evidence. They will be able to make a claim against the company for the sums which you cannot reasonably be assumed liable for .

I hope this information has helped. You can find a local solicitor who deals with this on the law society webpage which is;

 

https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

 

I would be obliged if you could Click to “accept” the answer and leave me a 5 star rating (this will not cost any extra). This will tell the website that I have responded to your question, you can, of course, continue to ask any follow up questions free of charge.

 

Kind regards

 

Ross

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you Ross, do you not think I am out of time to bring a fraud claim if this happened in 2004 (15 years ago)? What is the time limit on fraud? Because if you think that 15 years isn't too long, then surely the bank was wrong to say that my evidence was 'too historic'?

That is something I did consider, and you may be out of time however, you get 3 years or 5 years to make a claim (depending on how the claim is classified), but, this rule can be set aside depending on when you reasonably became aware of the fraud. So for example if you only discovered that the papers were fraudulently singed last week then there is no way you could have Brough a claim before this time and the clock is reset. However, if you knew 15 years ago then sadly, yes you will be out of time. The courts view is "why didn't you complain when you found out"? This is to stop people pursuing money based on a historic fact. In relation to the bank it may sound odd, but they are not bound to any legal statute for how long they have to look at fraud, however, it is likely that they will follow the standard law that is why they are saying it is "too historic" because they will not be able to claim legal fees. However, you could say to the bank that you only recently became aware of this so it is still "in time" to be legally considered.

I hope this information has helped.

I would be obliged if you could Click to “accept” the answer and leave me a 5 star rating (this will not cost any extra). This will tell the website that I have responded to your question, you can, of course, continue to ask any follow up questions free of charge.

 

Kind regards

 

Ross

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Sorry Ross, I just have one last question, how long does the bank legally have to chase the mortgage shortfall, I read somewhere that it is 12 years from when I was three payments behind on the mortgage, or is it 12 years from the repossession date or 12 years from the date the flat was sold?

It would be 12 years from the date of the original shortfall, so the 3 months you were behind. This is under section 20 (1) of the Limitation Act.

 

I hope this information has helped. You can find a local solicitor who deals with this on the law society webpage which is;

 

https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

 

I would be obliged if you could Click to “accept” the answer and leave me a 5 star rating (this will not cost any extra). This will tell the website that I have responded to your question, you can, of course, continue to ask any follow up questions free of charge.

 

Kind regards

 

Ross

Ross Miller,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 756
Experience: Director (Litigation and Mediation) at Hilltop Solutions
Ross Miller and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you very much Ross for all of your help, you have been extremely helpful.

Thank you, all the best moving forward.