Concern at 12% increase in Housing Association repossessions

Media release
Thursday 21 April 2016

Leading local advice charity, Citizens Advice Exeter, is expressing its concern at a 12.9% increase in the number of Housing Association repossession cases listed at Exeter County Court in the year-ending 31st March 2016. This is in comparison with the same period last year.

Across all housing sectors, there was an overall reduction of 18% in the number of cases listed. Where a Citizens Advice adviser has assisted clients facing repossession, clients have avoided repossession in over 85% of cases. Exeter City Council, in partnership with East Devon District Council, has provided financial support for this essential service.

Steve Barriball, Citizens Advice Exeter Chief Executive, said:

“We have at least one adviser present at the Court each Tuesday morning to advise and advocate for clients. In the last year there were 596 cases listed for repossession, an 18% decrease on the previous year. However, there has been a significant increase in housing association repossessions, up by 12.9%, or 24 households. This bucks the trend across all other housing sectors where we have seen significant reductions across both mortgage (55.2%) and local authority (19.4%) sectors, and a further decrease of 14.5% in the private sector. The number of repossession actions by Exeter City Council was down by 26.7%. There was an average of around 12 cases listed across all housing sectors each week.”

Steve explained:

“The increase in housing association repossessions is difficult to fathom. Often landlords are frustrated at the lack of engagement by tenants when they start to build up arrears. If this is left unchecked it can result in repossession proceedings. We would recommend that any tenant in difficulty speaks to their landlord and gets early advice from us.“

Steve continued:

“With historically low interest rates, now is the time for homeowners to think about the impact an interest rate rise would have on their ability to keep up with mortgage payments and start to plan. We have seen evidence showing that one in five homeowners will fall into arrears when interest rates rise. Access to money and debt advice will be essential to help prevent large numbers of people falling into problem debt.”

Steve finished by saying:

“I am grateful to our staff and volunteers for providing this essential service to families and households facing repossession. We are also grateful to Exeter City Council for funding this service.”

Repossession trends in the period 1 April – 31 March

 

Sector 2014/15

Repossessions

2015/16 Repossessions Difference % Change
Housing Association 186 210 +24 +12.9%
Private 96 82 -14 -14.5%
Local authority 293 236 -57 -19.4%
Mortgage 152 68 -84 -55.2%
Total 727 596 -131 -18.0%

ENDS