Housing Minister, John Healey, has no idea about repossessions

Have you read the latest from our current Housing Minister? According to BBC’s Radio 5 Live, John Healey says, “for some people, having their home repossessed, can be the best option”. What poppycock! And I can assure you, that’s me doing my best to be polite!

Have you read the latest from our current Housing Minister?  According to BBC’s Radio 5 Live, John Healey says, “for some people, having their home repossessed, can be the best option”.  What poppycock!  And I can assure you, that’s me doing my best to be polite!

I’m assuming he doesn’t know first hand what it’s  like to be so severely in debt that you face losing your home?  Or the sleepless nights so many people around Britain have, wondering how it all went wrong and what on earth they’ll do if they can’t provide a roof over their family’s heads? Mmmm, I didn’t think so.

So how is it, that he feels it appropriate, to make statements implying losing your home and being out on the streets is in anyone’s best option?

In my opinion, just having the knowledge and fear that your debt has got so out of control, that it jepordises the security of your home, can substantially lower the number of people experiencing reposessions.  How do we we make this effective?  One thing that might help would be to bring in earlier repossession proceedings, enabling the problem to be tackled before things get out of hand and families are left homeless on the streets.

What the government has done is put in place measures that seem to protect consumers struggling with mortgage payments – but in real life, these don’t really help. All they do is delay the evil day when the family finds itself on the street, because they don’t look at the family’s debt situation in the round.

Still following?  Let’s break it down to more simple terms – pay attention Mr Healey 😉  If you were struggling to make ends meet, what’s the last thing you’d fall behind with – month to month? Your mortgage, of course.  The most important security in your life, is the last thing you would ever place in jepordy.  So, meanwhile, you rob Peter to pay Paul, get behind with the gas bill, or your overdraft – or forget to pay that 0% credit card you had – which means the interest you pay, following the default, will whizz upwards to an eye-watering level and somewhere in between all of this, you hit rock bottom and miss a mortgage payment, or two, or three.

Taking into account the above synopsis, in my experience, I’ve found that when someone misses a mortgage payment, this is a symptom of much worse financial distress.  They probably have many other debts and are struggling across the board.  If you leave them till they’ve missed a number of mortgage payments – which is encouraged by the current system, then – in my view – it’s much more likely there wil be no alternative but actual repossession, and maybe homelessness.

Surely it’s preferable for repossession proceedings to be issued automatically the first time people miss a mortgage payment – and then immediately suspended whilst the homeowner puts in place a plan to repay what they can afford across all their debts?

It may seem harsh, but it will catch the average debtor much earlier in their crisis than the current system – forcing them to take action on all their debts whilst they can still afford to, and giving them both the carrot (of being safe whilst they repay what they can REALLY afford) and the stick (the possibility of losing their home remains) – keeping them motivated to climb back to financial security.

So, Mr Healey – start doing your job as Housing Minister properly!  It’s time for tough love and bitter medicine – not the palliative, terminal care you have been providing, which sees Britain with the highest repossession figures for more than a decade.”

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