Thursday 8 December 2016

Increase of repossessions to 60 per week 'deeply troubling' - homelessness charity

The figures are a significant increase on the same period last year

Cormac Fitzgerald

Published 06/08/2015 | 12:50

Repossession orders have increased by 200pc since last year Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Repossession orders have increased by 200pc since last year Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

A leading homelessness expert has warned that the huge rise in the amount of home repossession orders could lead to a big increase in homelessness.

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Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy with Focus Ireland, said there will be more homeless people unless something is done to address the issue.

New figures from the Courts Service show that there were nearly 1,000 home repossession orders granted in the first six months of 2015.

The figures show that there were 60 repossessions for each week the courts were sitting this year.

There were 900 repossessions in total from the 26 Circuit courts of the State between January and June of this year.

This compares with 313 for the same period last year, and 191 in the first six months of 2012.

Some 616 of the circuit court repossessions were primary dwellings while 238 were for other houses, such as buy-to-let homes and holiday homes.

Mr Allen has called the figures 'deeply troubling'.

"These sort of figures make us deeply concerned that we're going to start seeing owner-occupiers presenting as homeless," he said.

"The homeless services are already at breaking point with what we're dealing with and this will only make things worse," he said.

Mr Allen said that currently only the banks' interests are being taken into account in repossession cases, and a body needs to be set up to assist newly evicted people so that they don't slip into homelessness.

"We need a rapid re-housing body that can inform people of their options before they have to knock on the door of the local authority saying that they have nowhere to go," he said.

The Cork Circuit Court had the highest number of repossession orders in the first six months this year, with 123 granted - 91 for primary dwellings and 32 for others. Dublin Circuit Court had one 116 repossession orders - 77 for family homes and 39 for others.

Sligo had to lowest amount of repossession orders granted. There were just seven in the entire county, all for buy-to-lets or others.

There were 586 orders granted in the first quarter of this year and 314 in the second quarter. However, the courts sat for less time.

Repossession orders have been increasing year-on-year for the last number of years, with a significant rise in the first half of 2015.

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