The Housing Government recently announced that £20 million would be made available to Local Authorities to help ensure that mortgage repossession remains the last resort for struggling homeowners.
Oldham Council has been awarded £104,770 from this fund which will now be used to provide support to prevent people losing their home. It is predicted that a higher number of people will be facing problems paying their mortgage in 2012.
According to latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lending (CML), a total of 36,200 properties were repossessed in England during 2011. The CML forecasts that a further 45,000 homes will be repossessed due to mortgage arrears during 2012.
One way the Council is helping is the Mortgage Rescue Scheme aimed at vulnerable homeowners who are facing repossession. Residents receive advice and support to help them keep their home. Under the terms of the scheme a housing association may buy your home from you and then you become a tenant and pay rent to continue living there.
Since the launch of the initiative in 2010, 35 households have been ‘rescued’ in Oldham, with a further 10 cases in the pipeline. If you would like to find out more about the Mortgage Rescue Scheme ring 0800 954 2789.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Regeneration, said: “Oldham, and the country as a whole, is experiencing the toughest economic challenge we have faced for many years.The knock-on effect means, through no fault of their own, residents are losing their jobs and risk falling into arrears because they do not have the money to pay their mortgages.”
“If you find yourself in this predicament I would urge you to contact your lender as soon as possible. They may be able to consider a temporary payment holiday, reduced payments, or an extension to the length of your mortgage to reduce your overall payments.
“However, as a Council we are also doing our bit to help homeowners to stay in their properties, as we do not want to see anyone lose their home. The Mortgage Rescue Scheme offers a lifeline to eligible homeowners who have exhausted other options. If you think we can help, please get in touch.”
There are also a number of places for you to go for help:
- The National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) has produced a booklet that provides clear advice to homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments. The booklet, “Are you worried about your mortgage?’ can be downloaded from the Oldham Council website athttp://www.oldham.gov.uk/downloads/file/116/advice_if_youre_worried_about_your_mortgage_payments or you can request a copy by phoning 0161 770 3961 / 4158.
- The Court Desk Service at Oldham County Court offers free advice and representation to anyone who has a repossession hearing. You are advised to turn up to court at least 30 minutes before your court hearing and ask to see the Court Desk Advisor. You should also take along all relevant paperwork. Figures show 87 per cent of households which have used the service have had their repossessions stopped.
- Oldham CAB provides advice on mortgage arrears and other debt problems. They hold a drop-in service at Access Oldham in the Civic Centre every Monday to Friday from 9.30am – 1pm & 2pm – 4pm. They also hold advice surgeries at a number of libraries & other community venues. For details of these sessions, please ring 0844 847 2638 (from a landline), 0300 330 0650 (from a mobile) or go to their website at www.oldhamcab.co.uk