Mortgage possession claims have risen by 37% in Q1 from the same period last year, the Ministry of Justice has found.
This follows a 3-year period of stability before an initial increase in Q4 2018. Mortgage orders, warrants and repossessions have grown by 42%, 19% and 11% respectively relative to Q1 2018.
Ruban Selvanayagam, co-founder of Property Solvers, and author of the stop repossession guide, said: “Despite historically low interest rates and a much stricter approach to lending, this data demonstrates that the risks of falling into mortgage default never really went away.
“Although it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause, we often find that illness, unemployment, divorce or excessive consumer debt all come into play. The truth is that any of us could fall into such a situation.”
Selvanayagam highlighted that it’s important for borrowers to understand that they have more rights than ever before and there are several ways to get the situation resolved.
The North West of England, namely Pendle, Blackpool, Hyndburn and Wyre, saw an elevated frequency of mortgage possession claims compared to other regions. Luton, Liverpool, Croydon and Birmingham were also in the highest 25.
He added: “Lenders are governed by the Mortgages and Home Finance: Conduct of Business Sourcebook and must adhere to what’s known as the pre-action protocol. This essentially means that they have a legal obligation to treat homeowners fairly and discuss their financial situation in an honest manner.
“As a borrower, you must also be given a sufficient amount of time to clear your arrears.
“We always urge people to communicate regularly with their lender. Burying your head in the sand will only make matters worse. If you can pay down at least some of what you owe and work towards clearing the arrears, you’ll be okay.
“Remember also to contact organisations like Citizens Advice, Shelter, National Debtline and the Debt Advice Foundation. Although often under-resourced, they are accustomed to dealing with these types of issues every day and can often provide a workable solution.”