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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Home repossession task force welcomed

On the day when the Northern Ireland Court Service released the latest NI repossession figures, local advice charity Housing Rights Service (HRS) has welcomed the establishment of a Repossession Task Force looking at this problem. The Taskforce met for the first time last week and is due to produce a report detailing the extent and nature of the repossession and negative equity problem by the end of June 2014. HRS is represented on the group.

Nicola McCrudden HRS Policy Manager commented: “While we welcome today’s small reduction in the number of cases going before the Courts during 2013, there have been high levels of repossessions here over the last five years.  We hope the Task Force will bring much needed focus to this issue as too many families are losing their homes or just about meeting their monthly mortgage costs. We worry that an increase in interest rates could have devastating consequence for homeowners already struggling to get by. The Task Force must be solutions focused and consider practical measures which will help to keep people in their homes.”

Housing Rights Service operates a Mortgage Debt Advice Service and provides emergency representation at Court.  By the end of December 2013 over 1800 households struggling with mortgage debt had received help from HRS.

Ms McCrudden’s advice to people worried about paying their mortgage is to get advice “The key thing we say to people in housing debt is that there is help available - it really is never too late to get advice. If someone has Court date for a possession hearing it is very important to attend. We appreciate that this can be daunting, but we have specialist advisers based at the High Court who can assist people on the day of their hearing free of charge.”

People experiencing difficulty with mortgage or secured loan debt can contact Housing Rights Service on 0300 3230310 or visit their advice website

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For further information contact Claire at Housing Rights Service on 90 245640

Spokespersons will be available for comment

  • Established in 1964 Housing Rights Service (HRS) is the leading specialist provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland.  The charity works to achieve positive change by protecting and promoting the rights of people who are in housing need in Northern Ireland.
  • In addition to the Mortgage Debt Advice Service HRS, provided advice and assistance on over 37,000 issues related to housing during 2012/2013
  • The charity also provided representation at nearly 1,300 court hearings.
  • In August 2011 Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland announced continued funding that will allow the Mortgage Debt Advice Service to operate until 2015.
  • The latest repossession statistics are available to download