New group to fight for struggling homeowners
A NEW group has been formed to fight for debt write-offs for struggling mortgage holders at risk of losing their homes.
The Defend Our Homes group, which is made up of lawyers' group New Beginning and TDs from the United Left Alliance, has called for payments to be reduced in line with ability to pay, and wants write-downs for those with huge mortgages.
It has also called for a write-down of mortgages to reflect current house prices to help those in negative equity, while it also maintains that sub-prime lenders should be taken out of the market.
Negative equity is when the value of a house is less than the mortgage taken out on it.
Dublin South Central TD Joan Collins said the prospect of eviction had become a reality for many households.
"We are calling for repayments to be reduced in accordance with ability to pay -- which should be determined by an agency that is independent of the Government and the banks," Ms Collins said.
Dublin North TD Clare Daly said people should have mortgages written off.
"They should also have the option of remaining in their home as tenants with the rent set at ability to pay.
"Alternatively, they should be entitled to seek social housing elsewhere if they want to," she said.
Defend Our Homes rejected any notion that there was a "moral hazard" in assisting homeowners.
Latest figures from the Central Bank reveal more than 55,000 people -- over 7pc of all mortgage-holders -- have been behind on their mortgages for more than three months.
Around 800 repossessed homes are now held by financial institutions.
The league will convene a national meeting to respond to a government report expected at the end of this month on further solutions to the mortgage crisis and has promised a plan of resistance to repossessions.
It is launching a website to co-ordinate the campaign and provide people with information and advice.