Councillors to discuss extending mortgage scheme to help older homeowners

​PR ref: 6182

Date: 01/03/2016

Wakefield councillors are to discuss extending a mortgage support scheme to offer advice to older residents at risk of losing their homes.

Concerns have been raised that some older people in the district with interest only mortgages do not have the money to pay back some, or all, of the money they originally borrowed, at the end of their term. These residents are not eligible for help under the current project.  This means they could face repossession and eviction.

Councillors meeting on March 8 are being asked to consider a recommendation to help residents by extending the Council’s Mortgage Breathing Space scheme.

The programme was originally set up to help people in sudden financial difficulties, through illness, or the loss of a job, to get an interest and repayment free secured loan to clear arrears on mortgages.  Giving help in this way gives time for owners to consider their alternatives and plan.

It is now being proposed that the scheme is extended to include homeowners aged 55 and over.

A loan could help stave off the immediate threat of eviction, and would give people time to consider their options such as repaying the loan, selling their property or using an equity release scheme to stay in their home.

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills said: “It is a concern that older people in our district could be at risk of losing their homes.

“Councillors will consider if extending the scheme would help people facing such a traumatic situation and also as a way of preventing homelessness.”

The recommendation to councillors is that anyone applying for a Breathing Space loan would need to receive independent financial advice before their application was accepted. This is so they can consider their longer term options.