Whilst I am unsurprised by Rupert Jones’s article in the Guardian stating FSA figures show property repossessions are on the increase, I am amazed twenty two people, who appear not to have been repossessed themselves, have commented so emotively on the subject. Even more remarkable is the fact only one person from the twenty two who had something to say laid any blame at the door of the banks.
If this cross section is anything to go by, the Guardian reading public feel the government and the banks have a lot to answer for but ultimately it is the individual who is to blame if their houses are repossessed. The commenting public simply believe “chickens have come home to roost” for the irresponsible mortgagees who have over stretched themselves by purchasing houses they could not afford. In more than one case these errant and homeless individuals are condemned for making a fuss over something which is not even a “life or death” matter and accused of having used yet more taxpayer’s money for personal “bailouts” of futile self created situations.
Financial self interest is well represented in these comments while only minimal amounts of sympathy, very little understanding and virtually no empathy are evident. Bearing in mind it is well documented most repossession cases come about as a direct result of loss of income, I find it extremely unpalatable to discover so many people feel at liberty to cast the first stone. I can only conclude this is because they feel secure in their belief losing a home through repossession is not something which happens to people like them. I can only wonder if opinions might alter if they were aware of the following;
· HBOS excluded me from all conversations about arrears on my jointly mortgaged home on the grounds that I am a married woman.
· HBOS went to court to obtain a possession order for my home based on a report from an HBOS appointed debt counsellor with whom neither my husband nor I have ever had a consultation.
· HBOS refused to discuss reduced payments or any other options when I discovered our arrears and instead applied for possession through the courts four weeks later.
· HBOS refused to allow me to agree a three year tenancy for my house with a revenue stream which covered my mortgage interest. This option was available six months prior to them forcing the sale of my home.
· HBOS forced a sale on our family’s home of ten years while fully aware of my husband’s health, unresolved grief from the loss of both his brother and mother from Motor Neurone disease and subsequent failure of his business.
· HBOS carried on with their plans to repossess in spite of knowing my husband was actively looking for employment since his business failed due to the economic recession and the demise of our business bank, Heritable.
· HBOS turned a mortgage with ten months of arrears into a £217,000 shortfall.
· HBOS seized a £150,000 share of the equity in my home they had no right to as they did not ensure I was advised to take independent legal advice from my husband when he raised capital against our home for business purposes.
· HBOS destroyed any chance of capital recovery for us forever yet still feel they can make regular demands for repayment of a shortfall they created by their actions.
· HBOS have continued to harass and victimised me for two and a half years over money they are fully aware we do not have.
I sit, as ever, in my kitchen wondering if the Guardian readership cross section is truly representative of the masses. If it is, what a shock the masses are going to receive if they, like me, fall foul of HBOS’s illogical, vindictive and discriminatory business practices. They say ones perception of any problem is determined entirely by where you are standing when you perceive it. I hope those who have seen fit to sit in judgement of the less fortunate may see fit to review their stance when they learn of my experiences at the hands of HBOS,
I won't be holding my breath.
I won't be holding my breath.