Householders in difficulties with their mortgages may be tempted by the prospect of having their borrowing taken over by a company which promises that they can stay in the property, paying rent, with the option of buying it back at a later date – but beware!

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has decided to act following numerous complaints against firms which made such promises and then evicted the previous owners. Further complaints have been made regarding the length of leases subsequently offered and the prices paid for the properties by the companies involved.

While the OFT decides what action to take, if any, homeowners who are in arrears with their mortgages should be aware of the risks of accepting from a lender an offer that appears to be an easy way out of their problems. Never act without the benefit of independent legal advice. Indeed, obtaining appropriate professional advice should always be your first step if you are in financial difficulties.