Increase in houses being repossessed

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MORE and more Wiganers are being affected by the threat of having their house repossessed according to the latest figures.

Landlords’ possession claims have increased by 20 per cent from December 2010 to December 2011, according to figures released by the Ministry of Justice.

The news comes as the Wigan Branch of the CAB confirmed that County Court helpdesk activity increased by 48 per cent during the same period.

In 2011, 575 possession claims were issued to Wigan County Court by landlords, of which 415 led to a claim being issued.

During the same period Wigan CAB reported that they saw a 30 per cent increase in the level of arrears reported (both rent and mortgage) to the sum of £484,134.

However, while the numbers are worrying, the CAB say that of the people who accessed their help desk at Wigan County Court, 79 per cent kept their property.

Chris Harris, the District Manager of Wigan CAB, said: “The service is extensively involved in trying to prevent repossessions. In addition to our debt casework and advice given through our bureau services, we operate a County Court Help desk, provide financial literacy advice and support to those threatened with homelessness, and we are working in partnership with Wigan and Leigh Housing’s Advice Centre to operate a homelessness prevention service.

“For those people facing potential homelessness through repossession, we provide easy access to help and advice through our texting service – if they text HELP to 8702.”

The CAB lists the following advice for those affected:

Visit a free advice provider and rationalise your income,

Go for a benefit check to see you are getting full entitlement,

Budget – distinguish between need and want,

Don’t be panicked into offering the lender more than you can afford,

Go to the possession hearing – there is a helpdesk at court to advise you.