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If my limited company goes bust, will I lose my house?

If your company finds itself insolvent and going bust, as a director, you will be protected by limited liability. Limited liability means that the company directors’ finances are separate from that of the company. It means that if a company was to enter into liquidation, the directors’ personal finances will be protected. Generally, this means any personal properties wouldn’t have to be sold, however, if a personal guarantee has been signed, an asset, such as a house could be sold.

How could I lose my house?

The protection of limited liability means that during a liquidation, any personal assets such as a house will be protected. But there are some circumstances during a liquidation that could force a director’s hand to sell their property.

Personal guarantees

If the company has a poor credit record, or has not been open that long, it may be difficult to secure any finance loans. Providers may ask the company director to sign a personal guarantee as a form of security, so that the loan can be approved. If the company then finds itself insolvent and in need of liquidation, if the loan in question cannot be repaid by the process of liquidation, then the creditors in question can call on the personal guarantee in order to get repaid.

Directors loan account

It’s common for directors to have a director’s loan account. This is an account that the director can use to take money out of the company as a loan, as well as loaning money back to the company. Either transaction has to be repaid at some point and accounted for just like any other loan. If a company enters liquidation whilst the director has an overdrawn director’s loan account, owing money into the company, then a personal property could be sold in order to refund the overdrawn account.  

If you’re guilty of wrongful or fraudulent trading

During a liquidation procedure, the insolvency practitioner investigates the conduct of the director. If they find that the director is guilty of wrongful trading and have deliberately been adding debt to the company, or other misconduct such as removing assets from the company, they could be in breach of the insolvency act and potentially become personally liable for the company’s debt.

How we can help

If you’re worried that your company may be facing financial difficulty and you’re concerned about the prospect of losing your home, we can help provide, confidential advice on your situation. From here we can help give you the available options on what would be best for your personal finances and the company’s.

  • Continue to trade – If there is a genuine chance that you could save the company, either through the protection of a formal repayment plan, or restructuring the company. A Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), would give you protection from your creditors whilst entering you into a monthly repayment plan. An administration, would also give you protection against your creditors, whilst giving the company the opportunity to keep trading at least temporarily.
Find out more about Company Voluntary Arrangements here

In summary

With the protection of limited liability, a director’s personal assets are safe, even if their company enters into liquidation. However, a director could end up losing their house if they’ve signed a personal guarantee to secure a loan, or if they have an overdrawn director’s loan account, owing the company money. If a director is found guilty of misconduct, through wrongful or fraudulent trading, they could also be held personally liable for the company’s debt.                     

Case Studies

Authored by Kelly Burton

Silcox Coach Company

Kelly Burton • Automotive • Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

Pembrokeshire-based Silcox Coach Company, which operates school transport as well as local bus services, has been placed into administration today.

Despite attempts by administrators from Sheffield-based Wilson Field to secure a buyer with various interested parties, the 134-year-old company, which operated a fleet of 65 coaches and buses from its base in Pembroke Dock, has now ceased trading.

Insolvency practitioners Kelly Burton and Joanne Wright from Wilson Field Limited were appointed by shareholders after the company experienced financial difficulties and as a result all 92 staff jobs have been made redundant.

However, in the region of 50 staff have been re-employed by Edwards Coaches of Pontypridd who have been granted the local authority contracts previously operated by Silcox.

Kelly Burton, director and insolvency practitioner at Wilson Field said:

“Silcox Coaches was a fourth generation bus and coach operator and over the years provided various forms of transport services latterly focussing local authority community bus routes, school services, coach hire and coaching holidays.

“The company had an excellent reputation within the industry, the local community and its clients. Initially there were a number of parties interested in buying the business and assets and we had hoped to save all the jobs of the loyal workforce. Sadly, despite our best efforts none of these came to fruition. On the positive side, Edwards Coaches of Pontypridd have re-employed approximately 50 of those staff.”

As well as office accommodation in Pembroke Dock, Silcox also occupied a small travel office in Tenby and  a large bus and coach compound near the offices in Pembroke Dock.

Edwards Coaches is the largest family owned coach company in Wales employing over 500 staff and operating 260 vehicles. It currently operates National Express coaches from Haverfordwest departing daily to Cardiff, Heathrow, Gatwick London and various other destinations plus transportation for over 8000 students to school or college each day from bus depots all over South Wales.

It also operates coach holidays for 80,000 passengers a year across the UK and Europe and operates The Edwards’ Red Dragon coach which is the official carrier of the Wales Rugby Team.

Travellers who have booked and pre-paid for a holiday with Silcox may be entitled to a refund and should contact either Bonded Coach Holidays (BCH) e-mail: bch@cpt-uk.org or The Confederation of Passenger Holidays UK (CPT) Tel: 020 7240 3131.

Authored by Kelly Burton

Designer Recliners Limited

Kelly Burton • Manufacturing • Administration, Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

A Sheffield furniture manufacturer and upholster has relaunched offering a smaller, more specialised range of products.

Anico Interiors Limited, which included reclining chairs for the elderly, had suffered cash flow problems and issues with profitability.

Designer Recliners Limited, managed by director Nick Wall, has purchased the assets and business of Anico saving all 11 jobs.

Andy Wood and Robert Dymond from Sheffield business turnaround experts Wilson Field were appointed joint liquidators on 8 June and advised on the sale of the 14-year-old company, based on Orgreave Crescent at Orgreave Industrial Estate, as a going concern.

Andy Wood, associate director and insolvency practitioner at Wilson Field said:

“Historically, the company offered a wide range of products but has now streamlined its offer to customers and cut out some unprofitable lines, as well as re-vamped its web site.

“Directors took advice from Wilson Field with the business sold to new company Designer Recliners Limited as a going concern, safeguarding all 11 employees’ jobs. The new company will offer the same service and standards under the same management team but focus on a smaller range of specialised products.”

The company employs skilled staff including upholsterers, seamstresses and cutters and was set up in 2002 by Nick Wall.

Beverley Horton

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    Usman Khan

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    mark dangerfield

    star_rate star_rate star_rate star_rate star_rate

    "Brilliant, straight to the point, answered my questions promptly A+"

    EdM-56

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    "Christopher Callaghan at Wilson Field help me and my business. he alimented an extremely stressful situations and explained to me every step of the way in a way that i understood. thank you. 100% recommend Christopher and Wilson Field"

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