A new scheme offering help to people at risk of losing their home due to mortgage arrears is set to launch in Doncaster following approval by Mayor Ros Jones and her Cabinet this week.
The Mortgage Breathing Space scheme will provide financial advice and interest free secured loans of up to £15,000 to eligible homeowners who are facing eviction. The scheme is being offered by Doncaster Council and St Leger Homes in partnership with Wakefield Council.
Although the number of owner occupiers threatened with eviction due to mortgage arrears in Doncaster is relatively low – between April 2017 and April 2018, 34 people approached the St Leger Homes Housing Options Team seeking advice related to their mortgage arrears – having access to the scheme will increase the options available to people at risk of losing their home.
Paul Tanney, Chief Executive of St Leger Homes, said:
“There are many reasons why someone may get into mortgage arrears – it could be due to a drop in income, ill health or some other change in circumstances – whatever the reason it’s important people speak out and get help before the situation puts their home at serious risk.
“By providing financial advice and an interest free loan, the Mortgage Breathing Space scheme aims to give people the time and support needed to help homeowners resolve their difficulties whilst remaining living in their own property.
“Whilst the number of people in this situation is thankfully relatively small, it is still important that we are able to give this assistance where it is needed. This scheme will help give us another option to help assist people facing homelessness and could make a real difference to families struggling in Doncaster.”
Glyn Jones, Deputy Mayor of Doncaster and Cabinet Member for Housing and Equalities, said:
“This scheme will provide homeowners with a potential safety net if they get into difficulties paying their mortgage. It will give them the breathing space they need so they can stay in their home and get back on track. If any household is threatened with eviction and homelessness due to mortgage arrears we urge them to contact St Leger Homes to see what support is available.
“Preventing people from becoming homeless and putting tailored support in place for those who already are homeless is a key focus. By working with St Leger Homes and other partners on initiatives such as the Mortgage Breathing Space scheme and supporting rough sleepers through the Complex Lives Alliance, we are seeing some real successes and making a positive difference in preventing homelessness locally.”
Residents wanting more information on the Mortgage Breathing Space scheme – or who need advice because they are homeless or at risk of homelessness – should call the Housing Options Team on 01302 736000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neither Doncaster Council nor St Leger Homes will take on any financial risk, as a result of this scheme. Any debt recovery will be the responsibility of Wakefield Council, and no debts will be incurred by Doncaster Council or St Leger Homes.
People will only be considered eligible for the scheme if there is a reasonable expectation that the applicant will be able to sustain home ownership in the longer term after the period of assistance provided by the loan; or where time is needed to allow for the sale of the property and a planned move to alternative accommodation.
To be offered this help, applicants must receive independent financial advice before progressing to a loan.
Any loan offers will be subject to the qualifying assessment criteria being satisfied. The lending policy requires that:
- The property must be owned and occupied by the applicant.
- The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
- The minimum loan amount is normally £2,000 and the maximum normally £15,000.
- The maximum loan to value of all secured lending (and including any Breathing Space loan) will not normally exceed 90% of the property value.
- Loan amounts outside of these limits may be considered according to individual circumstances.