Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 13:18 UK

Couple keep home in landmark case

A Shropshire couple have won a landmark ruling which will let them stay in their home.

Paul and Amanda Jackson, of Ferndale Road, Shrewsbury, entered a sale and rent back deal with a company in 2005 after getting into mortgage arrears.

But two years later they faced eviction after the firm - Repossessions Stopped - failed to keep up with its mortgage payments on the property.

A judge at Birmingham County Court has ruled they can stay there and pay rent.

Property for life

The sale and rent back firm had promised the Jacksons - who had lived in the home since 1985 - that they could stay there for life, the court heard.

But the court heard the firm paid only £63,000 for the property, despite it having a market value of £100,000.

Judge David Worster made the ruling on 22 June following a two-day hearing in January.

The judge ruled they could stay in the property for life by either taking out a new mortgage and becoming the owners, or through renting the property from the mortgage lender who had repossessed it.

He said when they died, their children could inherit the tenancy.

'Stolen'

Mr Jackson said: "We took that option [sale and rent back] to provide security and safety for our family as we didn't want to lose the home we had lived in for more than 20 years.

"But when we were served with the eviction notice we felt as if everything was being stolen from us."

Housing charity Shelter, which brought the case to court on the family's behalf, said it believed it was the first ruling of its kind.

Its principal solicitor John Gallagher said: "This is a huge and important victory for not only the Jackson family but everyone who is tempted by these sale and rent back schemes.

"I would urge anyone having mortgage difficulties to seek independent advice from Shelter, a Citizens Advice Bureau or other debt counselling organisations before contacting these kind of companies."

Repossessions Stopped could not be contacted.



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