Concern at big increase in Housing Association repossessions

Media release
Tuesday 9 August 2016

Leading local advice charity, Citizens Advice Exeter, is expressing its concern at a 46% increase in the number of Housing Association repossession cases listed at Exeter County Court in the quarter-ending 30th June 2016. This is in comparison with the same period last year.

Across all housing sectors, there was an overall increase of 21% in the number of cases listed. Where a Citizens Advice adviser has assisted tenants facing repossession, they have avoided repossession in over 90% 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 quarter there were 142 cases listed for repossession, a 21% increase on the same period last year. The biggest increase is in housing association repossessions, up by 46.8%, or 32 households. There was also an upward trend across all other housing sectors where we have seen increases across both mortgage (27.7%) and local authority (8.1%) sectors, and the smallest increase of 5.5% in the private sector. There were, on average, 11 cases listed across all housing sectors each week.”

Steve explained:

“The increase in housing association repossessions comes on top of increases last year and, whilst difficult to fathom, we know that 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 advice from us as early as possible.“

Steve continued:

“With historically low interest rates, the increase of 27% (or 5 cases) in mortgage cases is a worry. We will be keeping a close eye on whether this trend continues over the coming months. It is important that homeowners think about the impact an interest rate rise in the future would have on their ability to keep up with mortgage payments and start to plan now. We have seen evidence showing that one in five homeowners are at risk of arrears if there is an interest rate rise in the future.”

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 and East Devon District Council for funding this service.”

Repossession trends in the period 1 April – 30 June

 

Sector 2015/16

Repossessions

2016/17 Repossessions Difference % Change
Housing Association 32 47 +15 +46.8%
Private 18 19 +1 +5.5%
Local authority 49 53 +4 +8.1%
Mortgage 18 23 +5 +27.7%
Total 117 142 +25 +21.3%

ENDS