By Rebecca Gordon
Housing charity Shelter fear a spike in home repossessions as a result of the deepening recession. Speaking ahead of a conference tackling mortgage repossessions, Director Graeme Brown has urged lenders to back Government proposals to support struggling mortgagees.
According to Sheriff Court figures, there was a 20% increase in mortgage actions taken to court in Scotland in 2008-9 and a 50% rise in decrees granted, revealing a worrying situation for Scottish householders.
With interest levels at their lowest yet, Shelter believe homeowners may find difficulty keeping homes when rates eventually increase. Calling for radical action, Brown believes Government plans are only part of the picture;
“We need to see this as a wake-up call and not just about picking up the debris of yet another housing market crash. As first time buyer numbers plummet protections for homeowners must be matched by protections for tenants.
Unless we get a better balance in the housing market we are already sowing the seeds of the next boom and bust cycle.”
Allowing discussion of the Scottish Government’s Repossessions Working Group and the pending Home Owner and Debtor Protection Bill on mortgage repossessions, the conference included speakers Alex Neil MSP, Housing and Communities Minister; Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland; Kennedy Foster, Policy Consultant Scotland, Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Alex Neil, MSP believes the Scottish Government recognises its responsibilty;
“With an increasing number of families facing financial difficulties, repossessions across the UK quadrupling in only four years and forecast to increase by another 60 per cent this year, it is imperative that families are protected with the full weight of the law.
That is why proposals for a new law – the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Bill – to protect people affected by debt and at risk of repossession were recently published.”