Redbridge is home repossession hotspot, says charity

Redbridge has the 10th-highest rate of home repossession claims in London, according to a housing charity.

In 2011/12, 380 claims for Redbridge properties were put in by mortgage-lenders – over four claims per 1,000 homes in the borough.

Shelter used government statistics to calculate a table of hotspots, which also included neighbouring Barking and Dagenham and Newham.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said the combination of rising unemployment, high living costs and high house prices heighten the risk of repossession.

He added: “The journey from being a homeowner to becoming homeless is frighteningly swift, with just one small thing like a wage cut, a health problem or a job loss meaning that a family can no longer meet their mortgage payments.”

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Mortgage lenders file repossession claims to take a property if a homeowner cannot, or will not, keep up with repayments.

They must take all reasonable steps to avoid court proceedings before making a claim.

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But court proceedings do not necessarily lead to a home being repossessed as the court must first grant an order and eviction can be prevented.

Overall, repossession claims are falling in Redbridge, with this year’s 380 claims below 2012/11’s 410.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “We are pleased that repossession claim figures in the borough are decreasing.

“It should be remembered that the number of claims issued does not mean that repossession will take place in all cases.

“However we would urge anyone struggling with their mortgage to seek early help so that repossession is a last resort.”

If you are struggling with mortgage arrears, you may be able to negotiate with the lender and avoid repossession.

The Mortgage Rescue Scheme and loans from the Mortgage Repossession Fund are also available.

Redbridge Citizens’ Advice Bureau offers free money advice and advocacy services, with free legal advice, are available at Romford County Court and Bow County Court.

For advice, visit the Housing Advice Centre in Clements Road Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm and Wednesday 1pm to 4pm, or phone 020 8708 4002/3.

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