Consumers who face losing homes ‘should seek free advice’

UK householders who face having their homes repossessed amid the economic downturn have been urged to seek free, independent advice at their local Cit…

UK householders who face having their homes repossessed amid the economic downturn have been urged to seek free, independent advice at their local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

The CAB has reminded the public that it has experience in helping people deal with more than 100,000 mortgage and secured loan arrears and preventing some 5,000 people from becoming homeless in the past 12 months.

In addition to seeking out local CAB experts to help with such problems, the organisation has offered some recommendations to householders to prevent their situation from worsening, including making mortgage payments a top priority.

They also suggested people let their mortgage lender know if they are facing problems, because just stopping payments without explanation can make a situation worse. Lenders are expected to treat their customers fairly and should be willing to talk about an affordable repayment arrangement.

Some people may be entitled to government help if they face repossession, as the centrally-run mortgage rescue scheme allows some of those in such a situation to sell their home but continue to pay rent to live there.

Mortgage payment protection insurance is another measure people could take, as this can help those who suddenly lose their job or are stricken by illness or injury – which could be invaluable coverage during straitened times.

Chief executive of CAB Gillian Guy said: "You have a greater chance of staying in your home if you seek advice and take action as soon as you think you're having problems."

Last month, HML's regional forecast found that terraced properties are the most likely to be repossessed, with such homes accounting for 40 per cent of all reclaimed dwellings this year.

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