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The coalition government has done a spectacular u-turn on the threshold level required before a creditor can apply a charging order on a borrower’s property.

Back in 2010 the coalition government hinted that the level of unsecured debt before a charging order would be considered would be set at £25,000 per creditor. Until now there was no fixed limit but they have stunned debt counsellors, vulnerable house owners and the debt management sector in general by setting the threshold to just £1,000. The new regulations came into force 6th April 2013.

Read more: New - £1,000 Payday Loan or Credit Card debt can now easily be secured on a debtor’s home


The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have just released details of the number of homes repossessed during 2012, which stands at 33,900 and is the lowest annual total since 2007. You can’t help asking though what the state of the market would be if interest rates were at the same levels as in 1991, when they were at their height with 76,000 repossessions, instead of the current nearly four year run of the Bank Rate being at 0.5%. 

Read more: So it’s all hunky-dory in the house repossession market, or is it?


The 2,000 registered bailiffs in England and Wales chase around 3.5 million enforcements, so there is an obvious need for this line of work. Unfortunately some act outside their powers and their activities have seen an increasing number of allegations of intimidation, bullying and aggressiveness on their part.

To have a bailiff call can be a harrowing experience, especially if they are looking to remove your property, so staying calm and making sure you don’t invite them in is essential. In some circumstances bailiffs do not have a legal right to enter the home and knowing this some employ a few tricks to do so. They are after ‘peaceful’ entry.

Read more: Bailiffs and the tricks of the trade used to gain entry


Bankruptcies are down yet again and in my view the reason is simple: with the Official Receiver’s (ORs) fee at £525 and the court fee of £175, totalling £700 people can’t afford the extortionately high costs involved in going bankrupt

Whilst some argue that bankruptcy numbers have been affected by Debt Relief Orders (DROs), first introduced back 2009, many wanting to do a DRO are barred from doing so because of the outdated and unrealistic qualifying procedure, set some nine years ago.

Read more: Don’t be fooled with the latest fall in consumer bankruptcy figures: thousands that need to go...


At last the government is to make changes to Insolvency law to remove the obstacles that banks say is the reason why they refuse to offer bank accounts to undischarged bankrupts.  Following the Insolvency Service’s recent public consultation it was revealed that nearly 20% of all bankrupts could not get their own bank account for the twelve months of their bankruptcy and were forced to operate on a cash basis or use someone else’s account

Read more: Time is running out for the banks who keep denying basic bank accounts


Good news: by proposing to take the court bit out of consumer led bankruptcy procedures we are now a step closer to making it easier for overstretched consumers to go bankrupt.

I welcome the proposed removal of the court process as  I feel it is an unnecessary requirement, reducing  the stress and financial demands faced by already overstretched consumers, and the time spent, especially of those living a considerable distance from the courts, some of which will only allow bankruptcy petitions by appointment and on certain days of the week.

Read more: Court process to be removed from bankruptcy procedure but will it help those that need to go...


Yes, unsecured debt, as in credit and store card debt, a personal loan, an overdraft or even a catalogue debt, is not unsecured if you own your own home. A secured debt is of course your mortgage.

Fall behind with say, your credit card payments and the lender, bank or credit card company can now apply to the court, as from 1 October 2012, to put these debts on your house, a bit like a second mortgage, at the same time applying for the County Court Judgement (CCJ). Think not? Then read the small print, and at the very end of several pages I daresay there will be some reference to it.

Read more: House owners be warned - There is now no such thing as unsecured debt!


The three concerns raised by the OFT about Hermes are pretty damning.  They are the key points in determining whether the customer can afford the repayments and fully understands the implications if they miss any payments. Read the full requirements (pdf 608kb)

I wonder what information was found to be held back?  Was it information such as non-payment will result in the borrower losing the vehicle? That it will be repossessed and sold to cover some of the debt outstanding?

Read more: Are some Log Book Loans now unenforceable following the latest OFT requirements placed on Hermes /...


I am well aware of some people’s views on consumers who are in financial difficulty. “ It’s their own fault, they could have said no and they are responsible for their own demise” They then boast, “I have  a current account, why should they be entitled to have one if they can’t be trusted with money?” Trouble is, some banks may take the same view as  until now the Co-op Bank and Barclays were the only ones prepared to offer bank accounts to bankrupts.

Read more: Do the UK Banks see Bankrupts as pariahs of society?


Credit Today posted an article on the 23 July called ‘CSA anger at debt and mental health guide.’

On the same day I replied with a comment that supported the Guide To Mental Health Debt that was produced by Martin Lewis.  My comment was initially sanctioned and then later removed.  I posted a copy again on the 24th but so far this has also not been accepted. Credit Today have as yet not responded to my query regarding their action.

Read more: Debt collectors brand MSE mental health guide 'harsh'



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