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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

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A benefit that helps homeowners to pay the interest on their mortgage changes to a loan today.  Local charity Housing Rights is urging households who may be affected to get advice.  The charity’s helpline is already dealing with calls from homeowners who get the benefit, called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), who are unsure what the changes will mean for them.

Local charity Housing Rights is urging homeowners with interest only mortgages who do not have a repayment plan in place to contact them for free advice.

The call comes on the back of concerns expressed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that a significant number of interest only customers may not be able to repay the capital at the end of their mortgage.  According to the FCA nearly one in five mortgage customers have an interest only mortgage. 

Ursula Toner, Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights, commented:

A key part of Housing Rights’ work is assisting clients struggling to meet their mortgage payments, or dealing with arrears. In recent weeks, two research papers and one policy consultation have been released which consider how such arrears can be most effectively addressed.

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Repossession, Research

The Bank of England today announced the first rise in interest rates since 2007. In the wake of the Brexit referendum last June, the Bank of England reduced the cost of borrowing to 0.25%, but today's announcement brings the interest rate back up to 0.5%. The people who will be most adversely affected by this increase are those households with variable rate mortgages.

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Repossession

Regulations converting Support for Mortgage Interest to a loan have recently been passed. We take a look at how the new payments of SMI will operate for claimants.

Loans for mortgage interest

All payments of SMI made on or after 6th April 2018 will take the form of a loan.

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Benefits, Repossession, Welfare Reform, Affordability

Homeowners who receive government help with their mortgage interest payments are likely to suffer a financial blow when the amount they receive reduces.

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Benefits, Repossession, Welfare Reform

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is the collective name given to the financial help with mortgage interest payments which can be made to certain benefit claimants.  SMI can also help with the costs of certain loans secured on a property. 

SMI can be claimed by people who are in receipt of

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Benefits, Repossession, Welfare Reform, Affordability
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For many years, Housing Rights has provided housing advice to people entering and leaving custody in Northern Ireland’s three prisons. The housing advice in prisons project is funded by NIHE and the Northern Ireland Prison Service and is an essential way of preventing homelessness on release and sustaining tenancies for these vulnerable members of society.

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Benefits, Repossession, Social Tenancies, Homelessness, Adviser

Carmel Ferguson discusses an England & Wales Court of Appeal judgment which considered the question of when a residence should be treated as an individual’s principal home.

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Repossession, Case law, Legal

Housing Rights has been providing specialist advice to homeowners at risk of repossession for many years. One of the avenues open to certain people facing repossession is an argument that the loan they’ve entered into has created an “unfair relationship”. Solicitor Chris McGrath discusses how this argument can work as it is important that those advising in respect of mortgage lending have an understanding of the remit of the unfair relationship provisions

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Repossession, Practical tips, Case law, Legal

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