Concern at increases in repossessions

Friday 7th October 2016

Leading local advice charity, Citizens Advice Exeter, is expressing its concern at an increase in the number of repossession cases listed at Exeter County Court in the six month period ending 30th September 2016. This is in comparison with the same period last year.

 

Across all housing sectors, there was an overall increase of 6% in the total number of cases listed. Where a Citizens Advice adviser has assisted those facing repossession, they have avoided repossession in over 95% 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 six-months there were 285 cases listed for repossession, a 6% increase on the same period last year. The biggest increase is in local authority repossessions, up by 15.9%, or 15 households. There was also an increase across both mortgage (15%) and housing association (10.5%) sectors. In the private rented sector there was a welcome reduction of 26.5% on the previous year. There were, on average, 11 cases listed across all housing sectors each week.”

 

Steve explained:

“This upward trend across all sectors, excluding the private rented sector, is a worry. For the last few years we have seen the number of cases listed for repossession level out. 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 15% (or 6 cases) in mortgage cases is a worry also. We will be keeping a close eye on whether this trend continues over the rest of the year. 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 September

 

Sector 2015/16

Repossessions

2016/17 Repossessions Difference % Change
Housing Association 85 94 +9 +10.5%
Private 49 36 -13 -26.5%
Local authority 94 109 +15 +15.9%
Mortgage 40 46 +6 +15.0%
Total 268 285 +17 +6.3%