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January 16, 2009    

Additional support for homeowners in danger of repossession

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by Gill Montia
Addition support for homeowners in danger of repossession

Government measures aimed at helping homeowners in danger of repossession come into full effect today.

Up to 6,000 households in England could benefit from the £200 million scheme, which allows housing associations to buy the homes of people with serious mortgage arrears and rent the properties back to the previous owners, at a price that is affordable.

Eighty local authorities were already offering the support, which has now been rolled-out across England, while in Scotland a similar existing scheme is being extended.

The Welsh Assembly has its own package in place and in Northern Ireland, plans are under development.

The sale price will be based on an independent valuation and priority will be given to families with small children, the elderly and people with disability.

In addition to providing stability for those made vulnerable by the economic slowdown and housing market crash, the scheme could curtail the activities of some unscrupulous sale-and-rent-back firms that have been accused of exploiting those in financial difficulties.

According to housing minister, Margaret Beckett, the Government is also looking at ways of helping a much wider group of people, such as households where there were two working members but one has been made redundant.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, around 75,000 homeowners could be repossessed in 2009.

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