Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Charity warns of repossessions rise

The number of houses repossessed could rise, a charity said

The number of houses repossessed could rise under proposed Government changes, an advice charity has warned.

Struggling householders may lose £200 a month in financial support from October, the Housing Rights Service added.

The number of legal actions for repossession fell slightly from April to June this year compared to the same period last year. There were 929 cases this year. The Government is proposing that income support for mortgage interest be halved.

Ursula Toner, advice services manager with the charity, said: "We fear that the changes the Government has proposed could lead to an increase in possession proceedings. For a number of our clients this change could mean receiving up to £200 less per month.

"This will mean they will not be able to meet their mortgage obligations and ultimately could face losing their home."

Chancellor George Osborne wants to reduce income support for mortgage interest from its current level of 6.08% to the Bank of England average rate, currently 3.09%, from October.

The rate was frozen at 6.08% in late 2008, although interest rates have since fallen significantly.

The Chancellor announced the change in June to put the payments on a more "sustainable" level and to better reflect mortgage costs.

According to the Northern Ireland Courts Service there were 700 mortgage cases disposed of from April to June this year. There were 929 writs and originating summonses issued, compared to 954 during the same period the previous year and 612 in 2006.

Northern Ireland Social Development Minister Alex Attwood has called for the introduction of a mortgage rescue scheme. In July he said 1,800 households had been handed repossession orders in the last financial year.

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