Wednesday 21 March 2018

Brendan Burgess: It's time we faced up to terrible reality of home repossessions

THE vast majority of the 600,000 families with mortgages on their homes are financially responsible and are doing their best to keep up with their mortgage repayments. Despite five years of economic depression, 15pc unemployment, a massive drop in income for the self-employed and huge increases in taxes and charges, only 12pc of mortgage holders are in arrears over 90 days.

This is not to suggest that those who are in arrears over 90 days are irresponsible. The vast majority are not in arrears by choice. They are unable to meet their mortgages through a variety of causes – unemployment, business collapse, illness and relationship breakdown. They would pay their mortgage in full if they could, but they can't.

But around 20pc of those in arrears over 90 days are either deliberately going into arrears or else they are burying their heads in the sand and not dealing with their problems. The current legal ban on repossessions is encouraging this irresponsible behaviour and is discouraging those borrowers from addressing their arrears. The longer a borrower delays addressing their arrears, the less likely that they are able to recover. The sad reality is that some borrowers only deal with their problem when they get summonsed to court for a repossession hearing.

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