More than 100 homes repossessed in Horsham since 2008 crash

More than 100 homes in Horsham have been repossessed by mortgage lenders in the last ten years, following the 2008 financial crash.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice also reveal that renters have been hit hard by the weaker economy and austerity measures.

Mortgage lenders repossessed 147 homes in Horsham between the start of 2008 and March this year, most commonly for unpaid mortgage payments.

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However, the rate has slowed markedly in recent years, with only two repossessions in the last twelve months. At the peak of the crisis, 32 homes were repossessed in 2008 alone.

And renters have also been affected, with 312 evictions from private and social rented properties over the last ten years, mostly for unpaid rent.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “Every day at Shelter we hear from people who suffer in silence while they struggle to keep up with housing payments, and come to us in desperation when the court papers finally land on their doormat.

It’s natural to feel helpless in the face of mounting bills, but getting expert advice as soon as you start having trouble with housing costs can make the difference between a family losing their home and keeping it.”

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Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UKFinance, who represent mortgage lenders, said the situation had improved for homeowners in recent years.

She said: “The number of mortgages in arrears is at its lowest level since records began, while possessions remain at a historic low.

“This has been helped by low interest rates and lenders supporting borrowers through periods of temporary financial difficulty wherever possible.

“As ever, customers should not hesitate to contact their lender if they anticipate any payment problems and want to discuss what options are available. Repossession is always a last resort.”

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Lenders who repossess homes must have a court order to do so, while landlords seeking to evict tenants can either go through the courts or apply for accelerated possession - a quicker process, but one in which landlords sacrifice money owed to them.

In the first three months of 2018, there have been seven claims by mortgage lenders to repossess homes in Horsham, a rate of 12 in every 100,000 households.

Eviction threatened 62 renters, with claims for possession from landlords or housing associations at a rate of 105 in every 100,000 households.

Across England and Wales, over 180,000 homes have been repossessed by mortgage lenders since the start of 2008 - nearly 36,000 in that year alone. Between last April and this March, this dropped to 4,400.

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Evictions from rental properties peaked in 2015, when 43,000 homes were repossessed by landlords. In the last 12 months, 35,000 evictions have been ordered.