Bankrupts’ homes targeted

Link: New body to protect rights of creditors

The launch of the new regime – the government’s most comprehensive move to give bankrupts a second chance – contained little comfort for many whose financial difficulties predate the legislative changes.

As many as 30,000 face seeing homes or pensions confiscated in circumstances where they would be safe under the new laws. Insolvency practitioners have reported receiving cases from the Official Receiver involving the repossession of homes ‘by the bucket load’.

John McQueen, chief executive of the Bankruptcy Association, said: ‘The Insolvency Service just see numbers but I have been there and met the families and seen the children and the tears when homes have been lost.

I could think like them but I prefer to be human.’

The Protracted Realisations Unit (PRU) of the Insolvency Service targets assets that did not contain value at the time of bankruptcy. The removal of family homes or lifetime savings years after bankruptcy has proved a highly controversial measure.

Malcolm Cohen, business recovery partner at BDO, said: ‘It conflicts with the debtor friendly environment the legislation seeks to create but I cannot see any way around it without the DTI risking potential claims for negligence from the creditors.’

Related reading