Deceased father, bankruptcy and land charges from 30 years ago! HELP!

by Readers Question

9 months ago

Deceased father, bankruptcy and land charges from 30 years ago! HELP!

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Deceased father, bankruptcy and land charges from 30 years ago! HELP!

My father (who died 20 years ago) owned a piece of land in Kent. There are 10 separate charges / creditor’s notices on the land dating from 1975 to 1987 related to bankruptcy.

My mother applied to the Land Registry for an official copy of the Creditors Notice and Bankruptcy Inhibition for the charges, however they state they do not hold copies of those documents.

We are finding it impossible to get any information at all on the creditors’ names or amounts involved.

We are looking to either sell the land or gain planning to build a house, however we need to deal with these charges in the first instance. If we were to put an advertisement in the Gazette, would this be sufficient to apply for the charges to be lifted if no creditor comes forward?

If you have any advice or can recommend someone who may be able to investigate and get this sorted for us, it would be very much appreciated.

Dulcie



Comments

Tim Rogers

9 months ago

I'm sure one of the legal eagles will correct me if I'm talking rubbish, but, if the original charges were prior to or to do with a bankruptcy, wouldn't they all be removed / nullified by the bankruptcy process after 1 year? Further, as your father is deceased some 20 years are not all his debts void by this time?

Puzzler

9 months ago

It's not totally clear from the post whose bankruptcy it was. If it was your father, the land may well have been taken by the Official Receiver to offset the debts in which case it's not yours. If it was his, why was it not paid off and the land transferred on his death? The chances of being able to pay the charges and recover the land after 20 years seems very low. The Land Registry may be able to tell you who owns it now, or maybe the Office of the Official Receiver? The debts would only be nullified if he had nothing left with which to repay them (otherwise everyone would do it!). I am not a legal expert though, and will be interested in the outcome.

Puzzler

9 months ago

I have just re-read your post - if you do own the land with the existing charges, you need to get a specialist solicitor to deal with it. You will need one in any case to sell, I don't think it will matter to planners as you don't have to own land to apply for permission but obviously you don't want to waste money. In the case of the charges, the solicitor will know how to find them, I believe if they cannot be found, s/he will apply to court for them to be set aside. S/he may suggest that an indemnity policy be purchased against a future claim. I don't think you can do this yourself.

Michael Mathews

8 months ago

"Adverse Possession" (Squatter's Rights) get the land free of any Encumbrances.

Does the land still belong to you father (deceased)? Is the registered proprietor still your father? or was it inherited by your mother?
If you have been in Possession of the land for over 10 (in the case of registered land) or 12 years (in the case of unregistered land) without the express permission of your father (who couldn't give you permission if he had passed away), then you could claim "Adverse Possession" (squatter's rights) over the land and have it transferred, for free, into your name, free of all encumbrances (they would give you the land without any charges etc attached).
Jeffrey Shaw, a copious contributor to Landlordzone.co.uk (Nether Edge Law solicitors 01142687638) would be best placed to advise you on this as Adverse possession is his speciality. Generally I would expect him to be best placed to advise you in any mess such as you describe!
https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/forum/conveyancing-questions/35460-private-telephone-advice-from-jeffrey-2011-ed?34638-Private-telephone-advice-from-jeffrey-2011-ed=

Be advised: secured debt (mortgages etc) survive any bankruptcy. The Official Receiver would only sell the land if, after having 100% paid back all secured debt or charges, there would be money left to pay back creditors. If the Official Receiver sold the land they would have to pay the secured debt off first, then take their fees, then pay anyone else owed money in the bankruptcy.

I believe, "lost" chargeholders / creditors can be removed from the Land Registry's register if they can't be found and a court agrees.


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