Page last updated at 01:05 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Home repossessions 'set to soar'

For sale sign
There are legal proposals to bring in better protection against repossession

Home repossessions are set to soar as interest rates start to rise again, Shelter Scotland has warned.

The housing charity has predicted that homeowners just managing to hold onto their home may be unable to continue when costs increase.

Charity director Graeme Brown said mortgage actions taken to court have risen 20% in the last year.

The Scottish government said a proposed new law should help to protect people and help them avoid losing their homes.

At a conference on tackling mortgage repossessions, Shelter Scotland will commend those proposals and urge lenders to give the planned law their full and unequivocal backing.

Unless we get a better balance in the housing market we are already sowing the seeds of the next boom and bust cycle
Graeme Brown
Shelter Scotland

Sheriff Court figures show that increasing numbers of people are facing losing their home in Scotland. The statistics show a 20% rise in mortgage actions taken to court in 2008-09 and a 50% rise in decrees granted.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Mr Brown said: "Radical action is needed at a time when more families than ever are losing their homes. Without that repossessions are set to soar.

"But improved safety nets at a time of recession, is only one part of the picture. As first time buyer numbers plummet, protections for homeowners must be matched by protections for tenants.

"Unless we get a better balance in the housing market we are already sowing the seeds of the next boom and bust cycle."

'Practical help'

The conference provides the first major opportunity to discuss the recommendations of the Scottish government's Repossessions Working Group, published earlier this year, and to hear about the Home Owner and Debtor Protection Bill on mortgage repossessions which has now started to go through the Scottish Parliament.

Housing and Communities Minister, Alex Neil said: "Proposals for a new law - the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Bill - to protect people affected by debt and at risk of repossession were recently published.

"This legislation will provide practical help by ensuring for the first time that all action for repossession is scrutinised by the courts to ensure every reasonable alternative to repossession has been considered by lenders, and that they have acted appropriately.

"It will also make it easier for borrowers to make representations to court. I hope the bill will continue to attract broad support from across the political spectrum."



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SEE ALSO
Council house boom for Scotland
26 Jun 09 |  Scotland
The rules of repossession in Scotland
24 Oct 08 |  Business
Property boom 'over in Scotland'
15 Feb 08 |  Scotland

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