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Legal advice regarding a property abroad - desperate please help

(17 Posts)
PoptartPoptart Wed 27-Mar-13 17:53:11

A very long and complicated story but DP has a property abroad (UAE) and we desperately need some legal advice about repayments and possibly having to default on the mortgage. He has been in touch with the bank over there and so has his company on his behalf (a major international company) but the bank are so unhelpful and unreasonable. They basically told him that if he misses a payment then there will be an arrest warrant the next time he sets foot in the UAE and they will also chase him through the courts over here in the UK. He has tried to renegotiate the mortgage repayments and the mortgage term to what we can afford but they just flatly refuse to negotiate at all! They are simply demanding the full payments every month which we will no longer be able to afford in a few months time. We could afford about a third of what they are demanding each month and have offered to extend the term from 15 years to 25 years in order to pay the full amount owing but they say no. We don't know where to turn and it is making us sick with worry. I have called a few solicitors here in the UK for advice but no-one seems to have the expertise to help us. I've spent hours googling for advice and spoken to Citizens Advice but not been able to find out anything useful. Can anyone point me in the right direction for some help with this please? I am so scared DP will end up facing the UAE courts or we will have to sell our house.

Bakingnovice Wed 27-Mar-13 18:04:27

Didn't want to read and run. Don't know what to suggest other than perhaps all you can do is put in writing all your proposals re repayments and wait and see. Presumably there must be others in a similar situation? Will the bank not just repossess if payments stop? Hope you get some answers. Have you tried contacting a lawyer in the uae for advice?

PoptartPoptart Wed 27-Mar-13 18:16:05

Yes the bank will repossess if payments stop (and that would be fine by us - it would actually be a relief!) but the massive problem is that it is in quite a lot of negative equity (approx 100k). DP brought it off plan 4 years ago and at the time it was estimated to be worth double the outlay by now. But since the recession etc, the value has dropped massively and that is why we are in such a mess with this. Lawyers in the UAE don't want to know as none of them want to go against the bank (the bank is Government owned). Such a mess

babybarrister Wed 27-Mar-13 20:00:46

Land overseas is regulated by the law of the jurisdiction where it is located. Be quite clear therefore that you need advice from UAE lawyers in relation to what will happen in UAE - i am sure that the UK Embassy will have a list of lawyers.You also need clear advice as to whether other countries in the region might take action against your DH if there is an order from the UAE courts - whilst the UK does not view failure to pay a mortgage as a criminal issue, clearly USE does. Your DH does not want to find himself extradited from another jurisdiction which shares a similar system to the UAE...

In relation to any civil order for a debt which might be made against you in the UAE in respect of the negative equity if they repossess the property, it is possible that the UK might enforce such an order. If so, the UAE bank would no doubt seek to placing a charging order against whatever assets it could find - including your property in the UK. I should make it clear that I am no expert on enforcing debts between the UK and the UAE - do some googling as to whether there are any conventions in force but remember that even without a specific agreement an application can be made to the English court to enforce an overseas order.
I have a feeling MOSagain has worked in the UAE so she may be able to assistsmile

RedHelenB Wed 27-Mar-13 20:29:54

Could he cope with never visiting the UAE again? If they do pursue you through the British courts then you would have to go bankrupt - have you property or assets in this country?

RedHelenB Wed 27-Mar-13 20:31:39

Is dp a British national btw?

babybarrister Wed 27-Mar-13 21:01:02

www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=2db7b8ab-afab-42c9-8ee3-99c00144d495

No reciprocal agreement but enforcement clearly possible

babybarrister Wed 27-Mar-13 21:04:30
PoptartPoptart Wed 27-Mar-13 21:05:34

Thanks all so much for your replies, I really appreciate the help.

Yes, DP is a British national and lives here in the UK but he still works for a company based in the UAE so has to make frequent business trips there. But even if he resigned and got a new job in the UK we are worried that they will still pursue us for the full amount and yes we do have property here in the UK in joint names.
The reason this all seems so unfair is that we have been trying desperately to negotiate with the bank but they simply refuse to budge and are demanding full payments each month. It seems crazy - you cant get blood out of a stone and we cant pay what we don't have! We have tried to negotiate lowering the monthly payments by increasing the mortgage term but they refuse. We have said that they can repossess the property and we will pay the negative equity over a period of a few years but they refuse. We are backed into a corner here and I simply cannot find anyone who can give us solid advice about what to do.

MOSagain Thu 28-Mar-13 15:57:22

I'm sorry to say that I think that is the case that the will issue an arrest warrant. I used to live in the ME and heard numerous tales of things like that.

E320 Mon 01-Apr-13 12:57:02

Just had a few ideas about this:
a) when your husband is in UAE on business, does he stay at the property?
b) did he need to register as resident, when he was living there full-time? If yes, has he de-registered?
c) could you sell the property?
d) could you let the property?
e) if either c or d were possible, would your husband's company be interested in buying or letting the property for visiting staff (save on hotel bills)

Xenia Mon 01-Apr-13 17:32:14

They have been locking people up forever for not paying debts in Dubai. I would treat this very seriously particularly as bb above says they will enforce in the UK UAE court orders and he would be unwise to travel to that region in the meantime in case he is arrested. Out there it is a bit like it was in the UK in the Victorian age where here in the UK we had debtor's prisons. It is a ruthless enforcement very different from UK mortgage lenders.

Have you tried things like letting out the property out there to help with the rent? Selling it yourselves as that may get you less of a loss than if sold as a repossession? Both taking on second jobs to fund the shortfall?

LIZS Mon 01-Apr-13 17:34:26

Do bear in mind that even if this were in UK a lender would still pursue your dh for any shortfall on repossession.

Living Tue 02-Apr-13 09:13:05

I know a little about UAE law (I work in law in the GCC, just not UAE). The bank is able to be unflexible if it wants to be and default is a criminal offence (although this is being reviewed at the moment - it may change). You need to find some UAE lawyers who are prepared to sort out the mess for you but no one is going to be able to 'negotiate' with the banks.

Personally I'd recommend him staying out of the country until this is sorted out. Them issuing the arrest warrant does not mean that he will be successfully prosecuted but he will be arrested and, even if released on bail, will not be able to leave the UAE.

I doubt the lawyers are refusing it because the bank is government owned. The lawyers will be refusing because you have limited chance of success and they have concerns about getting paid.

They may or may not pursue through the English courts for 100k (I assume GBP not AED). Depends a lot on what assets you have that they could claim again i.e. whether it makes commercial sense to do so. If you have no assets in the UK advice to the bank would usually be to not bother as a judgment in its favour costs money but doesn't actually achieve anything. This assumes they wouldn't do so out of principle.

If they do push English court proceedings, I believe a court will allow you to negotiate payment plans post judgment but check this. Also note that you will most likely also have to pay the costs of the legal action (again check with somone who knows English law) which may be substantial. You are much better, if at all possible, trying to find a way to get hold of the money to pay it off here.

Basically, you owe 100k and need to work out how to pay this. The bank can negotiate on payments but it doesn't have to. This is not nice and this is not a good situation to be in but you need to face it.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 02-Apr-13 09:26:40

Who advised you and DH on the original purchase? Was this aspect of UAE law explained by them?

I think you are trying to apply Uk practice eg negotiating repayments to a situation in a different jurisdiction, which won't work.

Xenia Tue 02-Apr-13 09:27:35

I agree with Living. You want to try to find some ways to sort this out. He is your partner not your husband so it is his issue really, not yours. Sounds wise advice not to return to that region or anywhere near it as he will then be trapped out there even if released from prison. If you cannot let the property to raise more money yo could perhaps sell it? He could use the proceeds to pay as much of the mortgage as he can and he will have had charge of the sale process and get more than if it is repossessed. Then you are looking at the £100,000 shortfall only as the debt if they will not instead accept lower repayments and you both cannot find ways to earn more money to pay the shortfall. Mind you if you pay some of this and you are not married to him make sure you and he have a written agreement about it.
Could his employer loan him the money - some do - he could perhaps negotiate a £100k loan from his employer, sell the property and pay off the debt in full and then repay the £100k with interest although perhaps they would not. I have certainly seen smaller loans from employers to help out employees in the UK or may be family coudl remortgage a UK house to pay off the £100k shortfall.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 02-Apr-13 09:28:55

If your DH's company is supportive, could they structure a loan or salary advance to help?

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