Plan to help Northern Ireland homeowners in danger of repossession

The social development minister Margaret Richie is due to announce a rescue plan for homeowners in Northern Ireland facing repossession.

Over the past six years, repossessions through the courts have risen in Ulster by more than 60 per cent.

Ms Richie is due to meet the Belfast Council of Mortgage Lenders to discuss potential ways to help struggling borrowers.

The Belfast News Letter reports that she asked mortgage lenders: "Please be patient. Please be understanding. Take a long-term approach and work with me to bring about solutions that may be less attractive to you in the short term, but may ultimately benefit you in the long term."

One aspect of the rescue plan includes allowing borrowers to sell their homes to Housing Associations as part of sale and rent back schemes.

Housing Associations can also purchase the outstanding mortgage and convert it into rent which the borrower then pays back.

Yesterday Jonathan Craig, a member of the assembly, called for non-profit mortgage rescue schemes.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice released in May showed that the number of repossession orders for people in Northern Ireland was up by 30 per cent in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2007.

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