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Government Mortgage Support helps Save Home Owners From Repossession

Housing-Market / UK Housing Jun 06, 2009 - 01:35 AM GMT

By: Submissions

Housing-Market Fewer people are losing their homes, due to measures introduced by the government to support homeowners during the current economic climate.

A total of 17,054 orders against mortgage defaulters were issued by the courts from January to March 2009, compared to 29,771 in the previous quarter – a reduction of 43 per cent – according to National Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice today. The figures also show a drop of 13 per cent in the number of claims issued since the last quarter of 2008.

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, said:

‘The government has taken decisive action to support homeowners and protect vulnerable families from the threat of repossession.

‘Although there is no room for complacency, today’s figures demonstrate that active intervention works and that problems can be resolved without ending up in court. We will continue to do all we can to help lenders and borrowers work together to find solutions.

‘We urge households at risk to talk to their lenders and seek advice as soon as possible. There are in-court advice desk schemes providing advice.’

Homeowners facing mortgage repayment problems can benefit from recent schemes introduced by the government. These include:

  • The Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme which enables eligible borrowers to reduce their monthly mortgage interest payments to affordable levels for up to two years to help them get back on track with their finances if they suffer a temporary loss of income;
  • Changes in eligibility criteria for Income Support Mortgage Interest for homeowners getting Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit. Where they have a mortgage, those benefits may include an additional element called Support for Mortgage Interest, which assists the homeowner with the interest on their mortgage;
  • Mortgage Arrears Pre-Action Protocol, developed by the Civil Justice Council and approved by the Master of the Rolls. This applies to all cases since 19 November 2008. It sets clear guidance on the steps that lenders are expected to take before going to court and makes clear that applying for repossession must always be the last resort.
  • Housing Arrears Pre-Action Scheme pilots where the local social landlord has agreed for the court to send a letter to the tenant, before a claim is issued, inviting them to a meeting with a free legal advisor at the court to discuss ways to avoid legal action;
  • The Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme, where duty legal advisers are available to anyone - regardless of income - who has a hearing listed in court on that day; and
  • Mortgage Rescue Scheme, for homeowners who would be eligible for help under homelessness legislation from their local authority if they were repossessed.

By Ministry of Justice

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