Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Repossessions: the untold crisis

The guidelines put in place by the government to help families from being kicked out of their homes are often been ignored.

This blog already pointed out that mass repossessions in Britain are the "quiet national emergency", that is to say the -criminally- untold story of the economic crisis.

To give you an idea of the scale of the problem, this is how things have changed in the last three years.

In 2007, 27,100 families were chucked out of their homes for piling up mortgage arrears. In 2008 the number went up to 40,000, while the total for 2009 is expected to reach 65,000.

Remember the figures refer to the word 'families', meaning obviously that the number of 'individuals' affected is at the very least three times as large.

A few months ago the government brough in some rules to try and ease the situation. The "pre-action protocol" was designed to delay repossessions and present the struggling homeowner and the lenders with a number of alternatives.

Today a joint report by the Citizens' Advice Bureau, Advice UK and Shelter revealed that in too many cases lenders are ignoring the "protocol". It found in a third of recorded cases the lender had failed to comply with new rules and that "job loss and other loss of income were the most common reasons given for mortgage arrears, and low income households were the most likely to lose their homes".

Citizens' Advice Chief Executive David Harker said: "the safeguards already in place to protect people from avoidable homelessness need to be strengthened if they are to succeed in stemming the rising tide of repossessions".

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