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McCann calls for more support for advice sector on mortgage defaults

19 February, 2013 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Féin MLA and Housing spokesperson, Fra McCann has stated that in light of figures released by the Housing Rights group on mortgage defaults he intends to raise the seriousness of the matter in this weeks Social Development Committee meeting and will be calling for increased support to the advice sector.

Speaking today Mr McCann said:

“The figures released by the Housing Right group indicate a growing number of people facing difficulty with mortgage repayments. This is leading to increased repossession and a strain on those who are facing the possibility of mortgage default.

“Currently there is no one, uniform system to help those in need and it is at the behest of each individual lender to decide what course of action to take in the case of defaults occurring. 

“The department has stated that the budget to deal with the issue of advice in this matter has increased over the past number of years but I believe this in no way goes far enough to meet with the demand. Advice is essential in helping in this matter.

“Given the growing crisis in mortgage repayments advice centers are currently stretched to the limit and those working in this sector are stating they are only reaching a fraction of those affected due to the demand. It is clear that more needs to be done. 

“This is extremely concerning given the lag in many mortgage deals which following a 3 to 5 year grace period will readjust to a different and mostly higher repayment rate. From the peak of the housing boom in 2007 these deals will now be reaching their end.

“In the absence of a mortgage relief scheme Sinn Féin have been on record both in the Assembly and in the Social Development Committee in arguing for a well funded advice sector to deal with the increased need for mortgage advice. This sector will also need to be prepared to deal with the consequences of the proposed welfare reform bill which will see many thousands more people needing the services of the advice services.”

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