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Defend Our Homes: New group aims to have mortgage debt written off

A new group has been set up to fight for struggling mortgage holders faced with losing their homes.

The Defend Our Homes league has called for payments to be reduced in line with ability to pay, while those with huge mortgages should have them written off and be allowed to stay on in their homes on a rental basis.

The group is made up of TDs from the United Left Alliance, the legal group New Beginning and Irish Homeowners Unite.

Dublin South Central TD Joan Collins said the prospect of eviction has 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.

Ms Collins and Ms Daly have submitted proposals to the Interdepartmental Group on the Mortgage Crisis on behalf of the League.

They have also called for a write-down of mortgages to reflect current house prices to help those in negative equity, while they say sub-prime lenders should be taken out of the market.

The interdepartmental group is due to report to the Government at the end of September.

Latest figures from the Central Bank revealed more than 55,000 people were behind with their mortgages by more than three months - more than 7% of all mortgages.

Around 800 repossessed homes are now held by financial institutions.

The league will convene a national meeting to respond to the Interdepartmental Group report and has promised a plan of resistance to repossessions.

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It is launching a website to co-ordinate the campaign and provide people with information and advice.

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