not quite... as is revealed in the sunday times, an hitherto obscure but increasingly 'popular' (popular with the banks that is) technicality in the comsumer credit act allows the unlocking of precisely such assets to pay off relatively small bills, even of around £1000. around 97000 such orders were made by the courts last year and the two most enthusiastic users of this legislation are nationwide and northern rock. such repossessions are not included in the statistics of the council of mortgage lenders.
up to now the only safeguard against such proceedings has been the county court requirement to apply for a judgement in advance. now it seems that next year even that barrier will be removed, and it can only be to the detriment of the ever-struggling homeowner (and that can be almost anyone nowadays). one firm of accountants described the procedure as "a horrible shock".