Shelter says schemes to help homeowners are making a difference

Nia Williams

December 15, 2009

Arrears are still high with 395,000 loan accounts in arrears, a sixteen per cent increase on the same period last year.

Shelter director of policy and campaigns Kay Boycott said: “These figures reflect the fact that schemes to help struggling homeowners are making a difference on the ground and, most crucially, helping people stay in their homes.

“Our new report out today shows that in eight out of ten cases where people got free legal advice through court desk schemes they avoided immediate repossession. This is why Government must keep funding free independent advice in court and we welcome the additional funding announced today. Free advice at point of possession should be a right that continues even after the recession ends.”

Whilst many of the support schemes introduced by the Government are working well, a new report today from Shelter, CAB and Advice UK shows the pre action protocol – new rules which aims to ensure lenders only take court action as a last resort – has failed to be implemented in a third of repossession cases.

“Our report shows there are still too many people falling through the net and they are often the very people who need help the most.

“Job loss is the most common cause of mortgage arrears and with 2,000 people losing their job every day we still have work to do to ensure that we save as many people as possible from repossession.”

“The only way to close these gaps is to make sure all lenders fully comply with the pre action protocol. We also need a fundamental review of the private and state safety nets, and more flexible powers for courts to help borrowers stay in their homes.”

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