Citizens Advice Scotland say that both mortgage lenders and landlords should be more flexible in dealing with late payments and arrears. The comments come in response to figures released by the Scottish government today which show an increase in home re-possessions in Scotland.*
In a statement, CAS Chief Executive Kaliani Lyle says,
"There is no doubt that there are owner occupiers who are struggling with their finances because of the recession. One of the worrying trends at the moment is that mortgage companies and other lenders are becoming much more harsh in cracking down on late payments. There used to be an element of common-sense in this; if a home-owner was in temporary difficulty and defaulted one or two payments, the lender would often give them some leeway. That is happening much less now. and some lenders are moving to start the re-possession process much more quickly as soon as people fail to make a payment. We would call on mortgage companies to go back to being more flexible. In everyone's interests, re-possession should be a last resort, not the first option.
"But while it is true that some home-owners are facing these problems, it would be very wrong to forget that the majority of people who are suffering are those on low incomes. This includes people living in rented accommodation - both in the private and the social sector - where landlords often display the same harsh approach to late payment as the mortgage lenders do to home-owners. The point is that, whether you own or rent your home, the spectre of homelessness is devastating, and has no place in modern Scotland."
For interviews and further information, call Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010.
* These statistics are revealed in a document published today (4 Sep) by the Scottish Government, entitled 'Operation of the Homeless Persons Legislation in Scotland: 2008-09' It is available at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/Recent