Extra help for struggling homeowners to avoid repossession

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have cited the comprehensive range of Government help, lower interest rates and greater lender tolerance and understanding as the key reasons why repossessions are running at half the rate of the last recession. 

The Government has put in place a comprehensive range of support for struggling homeowners, and more than 330,000 homeowners have received help and advice with their mortgage in the last year alone.

The Government has also tightened the rules on lenders so they must prove they have exhausted every possible option before seeking court action.  Last year, the number of repossession court orders fell by a quarter – and every region of the country saw a fall in repossession court cases.

But the CML has also warned that the pressure on homeowners will remain throughout 2010. 

So the Minister has today dedicated an extra £2.5million to the Government’s campaign to help anyone with mortgage worries to seek advice and get a grip on their finances.

In September, the Government launched the “It’s Your Home” campaign, to encourage struggling homeowners to get the help they need and avoid losing their home.

Advertisements have appeared nationwide, and in 86 repossession “hotspots” identified at greater risk due to higher levels of unemployment and repossession court orders, pointing to the help available for those with mortgage worries.

This has led over 140,000 households to go to www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp for advice – a third of whom have used it to develop personal action plans to tackle their financial worries, working out how to talk to their lender and what Government help they can benefit from.

Concerned homeowners can also call the National Debtline free on 0808 808 4000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0808 808 4000      end_of_the_skype_highlighting for help and support.

And working with the Government, Citizens Advice offices across the country have run over 100 public events in the “hotspot areas”, so local people have been able to drop in for free mortgage help and advice, with displays and stalls set up everywhere from libraries and supermarkets to schools and hospitals – and even a local zoo.

But with the pressure set to remain on families, Mr Healey has confirmed that the Government will build on the success of this campaign and extend it through the year, with an additional £2.5million funding to advertise the mortgage help website and National Debtline’s free number, to encourage struggling homeowners to seek the help they need.

John Healey said:

"With the pressure on homeowners set to remain throughout 2010 we must keep the Government support in place. Cutting that special help now would put an end to these special efforts now would put more families at risk of repossession.  So today I am extending the Government’s campaign so people know they can get free impartial and practical advice, both online or over the phone.

"We’ve pulled out all the stops with Government support to help people avoid losing their home.  More than 330,000 families have had help and advice with their mortgages over the past year, which is one reason why repossessions are running at half the rate of the last recession.

"I would urge anyone facing money worries not to bury their head in the sand, but to go to our repossessions help website or call the National Debtline to get help in keeping their home."

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