Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 12:43 UK

Repossessions: Your stories

Home repossessions are a hot topic at the moment and some of you have got in touch to tell us about your experiences.

From your comments, it appears that the current financial crisis has made keeping up mortgage payments on your homes increasingly difficult.

Here is a selection of your stories.

CHARLES OKWALINGA, 46, LEWISHAM, LONDON
Charles Okwalinga
Charles wants to return to renting from the council to stabilise his finances

Charles Okwalinga moved into a council house in Lewisham with his wife and kids which he ended up buying, enticed by the government's right-to-buy scheme.

But he secured a bad mortgage deal and has struggled to meet the payments.

Threatened with eviction for more than a year now, he is desperate for government help to sell his house.

In 2000 I was looking for a bigger house for my wife and two daughters and we found a three-bedroom council house in Lewisham.

Four years later, we bought the house through the government's right-to-buy scheme.

The government discount was very attractive. We paid 15,000 and the government put in 16,000. That left us with a mortgage of about 167,000.

We had to pay interest at 9.8%, which I was advised was the best I could get at the time because of credit problems, as neither my wife nor I were working.

To meet the payments, my wife worked part-time at a doctor's surgery and I started to run my own catering business.

We just about coped for three years, but then the amounts we had to pay started increasing.

I tried to change mortgages, but I was told I couldn't do so, as my credit rating hadn't improved.

After a lot of arguing, tears and begging, they accepted the sum so we could carry on with the repayments. But even this was a struggle

Charles Okwalinga

Family and friends started to bail us out as we began to have problems.

We were first threatened with repossession in July after we had built up three months of arrears.

In court, it was decided we could continue the repayments and stagger the outstanding payments.

We paid most of it, but irregularly, so in March this year, the court granted the lender repossession.

Hanging on

We were about to be evicted in June - it was the date of eviction - and we appealed in court.

Although we were refused, a housing adviser present told me to offer the lender a lump sum to reduce the arrears as a last-ditch attempt to help us stay put.

In July, we went to the company with 5,000 of the 8,000 we owed them.

After a lot of arguing, tears and begging, they accepted the sum so we could carry on with the repayments.

We are really struggling three months into this arrangement and are only kept going by our son, who has started working at Transport for London and contributes to our payments.

We are hoping for a respite. Perhaps the housing association could buy the house back from us and we could become tenants once again. We are just barely hanging on.

We're dreading that if we don't meet our payments, they'll throw us out.

The return on our mortgage was a bad deal. I regret taking it and wish we'd taken a fairer mortgage or stayed renting.

MARK RIGBY-JONES, 53, NORWICH
Mark Rigby-Jones
Mark's sure the house he bought, but can't pay for, will be repossessed

Changes to Mark Rigby-Jones's private life triggered a period of turmoil from which neither he nor his wife have recovered.

A recurring eviction court battle has worn down both him and his family, with no end in sight.

Having just managed to sell our previous house, which was nearly repossessed, I didn't feel like buying another one, but was convinced by my wife to do so.

We ended up getting a sub-prime mortgage as I couldn't verify my income at the time, having just started as a cleaning supervisor.

My wife and I bought the 195,000 house in Norwich in October 2006 with a 75% mortgage, paying interest at 7.25%.

At the start, we were able to keep up the payments between my wife's job as a classroom assistant and mine at Norwich airport, where I was earning 14,000 a year.

I haven't been able to pay for four months as my hours at work were cut as there are less Spanish flights coming in
Mark Rigby-Jones

Everything changed last February when my wife and I separated, she lost her job and we fell 1,800 behind on payments.

Even with my 27-year old daughter chipping in, we were three months behind by April, when the mortgage company filed with the courts, where we ended up in June.

It seemed a little excessive to be taken to court for such a small percentage of the loan.

Insistent interrogator

I am living in my partner's property and my wife and I aren't speaking, which makes matters worse.

I haven't been able to pay for four months now as my hours at work were cut as there are less Spanish flights coming in and I have lots of other bills to pay now.

The risk for my wife of not having somewhere to live is quite high and I think the house she's living in will be repossessed.

I have spoken to the lender and told them we cannot make up the payment but they keep ringing and asking the same questions again and again.

Now we're about 2,800 behind and will be going to court in six weeks.

"SAM", 29, HARROW, LONDON
O.M.
"Sam" wants to avoid benefits and become a chartered accountant

Sam found a buy-to-let deal in Birmingham that turned out to be too good to be true.

He chose voluntary redundancy after being threatened with repossession through the courts when he had racked up 15,000 in debt.

He is now bankrupt.

Sam is not his real name.

In 2005 I was living with my mother in Hendon, London, and was working as an accountant.

I was earning 20,000 a year, as well as receiving income from two buy-to-let London properties.

I spotted a deal in a property magazine, for five flats in Birmingham's canal area, effectively for the price of just four.

It was irresistible so I bought the flats in December with a 90% mortgage.

Each property was 145,000 but cost me 20% less with the discount, so I could pay my mortgage deposit with the money I had effectively saved - with money left over.

I then had to pay 500 a month for the interest on each property's mortgage, but that should have been fine as they said I could get a rent of 750 a month.

That turned out to be rubbish. The maximum rent I could get was 600-650 and some of that went to the estate agent.

It was also much more difficult to rent the flats out and some were empty for a month, others for two.

I feel totally disappointed. I've lost everything. It's so sad.
"Sam"

After six months, I was struggling because some of my tenants were not paying me regularly. By April last year things were looking dire.

I owed the lender 15,000 from the last six months. I was threatened with compulsory repossession.

Exactly one day before they were going to take me to court, I went for voluntary repossession for all five.

Benefits beckon

I went bankrupt in December 2007. I had three properties in London which I managed to sell, but had borrowed too much.

I wish the government had better protection for consumers as I had got my original mortgages for the Birmingham flats in minutes. Government should stop these unscrupulous deals.

I feel totally disappointed. I have lost everything. It is so sad.

I am an accountant, but may not be able to work for five or six years, as that's how long I may remain declared bankrupt.

I cannot get a skilled job. I may have to use the benefits system, which I have never done and don't want to.

I may have to get housing benefit or income support soon. This is the saddest part of it.



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SEE ALSO
Ministers plan repossession help
19 Oct 08 |  UK Politics

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