No Title Deeds due to Struck off Solicitor

Hello All,

Apologies if this is in the wrong thread. Please feel free to move &/or edit.

I bought my house in 2007 (bonanza Boom time) with a 100% Mortgage from Halifax.

I received a letter from the Law Society in Dec 2011 saying my Solicitor had been struck off last year (2010) and the Law Society had taken over his accounts. It turns out my title deeds and all other legal documentation was never completed. I have sent all my details etc into a new solicitor (As per the Law Society letter) and I am waiting to hear back.

Is it not strange that my bank (Now Bank of Scotland) never copped this ? I did ring them but they couldn’t find my account ? They seemed to have difficulty understanding my ever so foreign Dublin accent !

Does anyone have any experience on this or advice ? Could I walk away from the house & it’s €100,000 negative equity ? How would this affect me when I do want to move or change Mortgages ? Thanks.

I can’t advise you on the legal issue of the title, but regardless of that, I can tell you that if you “walk away from the house & it’s €100,000 negative equity” as you put it - in other words, default on your mortgage - you can forget about ever being able to get a mortgage again. This regardless of the legality of the issue - no bank will ever touch you again if you do that. We are in for at least 10-15 years of obsessive attention to detail by lenders and zealous scrutiny by regulators: this is not a good time to walk away from your debts if you are hoping to borrow again in the future.

If the OP did walk away from their debt, and due to technicalities, could not be pursued by the bank through the courts, how would any other bank know of this, once the entry has passed through the ICB?

Just looked up

So I guess it is possible that the issuing bank could keep updating the ICB for the duration of your mortgage. Although maybe if you can get out of paying the mortgage, you could also force the bank to stop udating the ICB.

It’s common enough for the bank not to physically have the title deeds of your property when you draw down mortgage. Mortgage is usually issued on solicitor’s undertaking, and title deeds are held in trust by the solicitor for a period of time. During the “boom” unfortunately there wasn’t always a lot of follow up on these title deeds, and since banks didn’t forsee having to repossess a lot of houses it wasn’t seen as a massive risk. They were more interested in lending more money than following up on legal documents around existing loans.

As for your question regarding walking away from the house, I don’t see how the bank having the title deeds or not would influence your position there. My understanding is that it makes it difficult for the bank to take possession of the house and sell it on, but I don’t see how it would affect your requirement to repay.

I am not in any way qualified to advise, nor do I understand all of the legalities, but thinking about it logically the above is what I would have thought.

I raised a similar question here.

It seems as though this is one thing the 'pin hasn’t gotten its head around yet. Title is/is going to be a major issue.

The head is truely in the sand with this one from the reports I’m hearing.

As for having difficulty contacting your lender, stop paying the mortgage and someone will ring you soon enough. They’ll be able to tell you your account number then I imagine.

I’ve seen this before. It’s not a get out of jail free card. In fact, in the worst case scenario the solicitor may have failed to pay stamp duty and the client will liable for that also. As to whether you can walk away from the house the answer is no. You borrowed the money and you’re liable to repay it. Whether the bank got good security for its loan (or, for that matter, whether you yourself got good title) is entirely irrelevant. Defects in the mortgage just affect the bank’s ability to repossess the house under the mortgage itself. Should you stop making payments then they can simply pursue the balance as though it were a personal loan - and if necessary they can obtain a judgment mortgage against the house (or an attachment order against your earnings).

The fact that there is no mortgage registered is the banks problem, the fact that the title hasn’t been regsitered is your problem. Both are easy enough to resolve.

The bank gave you the money to buy the house, they asked for you to register the charge against your property (through your solicitor who undertook to do so). However unless it was a non-recourse loan they can chase you for some or all of it depending on the value of the security.

You would want your title sorted as you don’t want the bank chasing you for the full amount and the bank would want the mortgage registered as they dpon’t want to chase you for the full amount (assuming you don’t have it!)

Of course, if the mortgage was never registered against the title you could always take out a second mortgage on the same property. Although usually that’s the solicitor’s trick :slight_smile:

I’m happy enough with the house so I wouldn’t really look to get out of it, it’s just one of the first things people say when you mention it to them. If I had a crafty enough Solicitor I’m sure I could get away with it.

I just found the Law Society atrocious for telling me what to do next, there wasn’t any system in place for clients of Dodgy Solicitors. I have appointed another Solicitor & she sent me out the forms but even she didn’t seem to be able to tell me if I’d still be liable for her Fee’s or even get anything from the Solicitors Mutual Defence Fund (SMDF) A bit ridiculous if I get lumped with more fee’s after paying the Original Solicitor €2,000 !!