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Repossession threat for 1 in 35 homes

New figures from housing charity, Shelter, have revealed that at least one house on every street in England is now at risk of repossession.

The charity claims that the current level of unemployment combined with the increasing high cost of living, is placing households on a “knife edge”.

According to the report, which uses a combination of data from the Ministry of Justice statistics and census data from 2011, possession claims have increased dramatically between July 2012 and June 2013. A possession claim is the initial step in which lenders and landlords put in an application to the court before a possession order can be granted.

Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, was reported as the worst affected area with possession claims having increased by over 80% between July 2012 and June 2013. This was followed by 65.7% in by West Somerset and 50.8% more claims in Watford.

Shelter chief executive, Campbell Robb said: “This research shows thousands of families all over England are dealing with the devastating possibility of losing their home.

“It’s right we create a welfare system that’s fair, but Government changes to the safety net are leaving ordinary families exposed.”

In response to Shelter’s claims, a Government spokesperson said: “Our welfare reforms are ensuring that clear protection is in place, we’ve maintained the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme and our £470 million funding to councils means we continues to have a strong safety net against homelessness.”

But Mr Robb warned that under the new system a simple illness or job loss could leave families at risk of repossession. He continued: “We must protect the safety net so that if people fall on hard times they can get the help they need to get back on their feet.”

The current financial safety net referred to by Mr Robb allows any newly unemployed people access to housing benefit for 13 weeks. This will no longer be available under the new universal credit system, and according to Shelter, will put those in need at a greater risk of losing their home.

Julie Palmer

About the author

Julie Palmer

Regional Managing Partner

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Julie is a law graduate who qualified with Price Waterhouse in 1994. Julie joined Smith & Williamson in 1997 and became a partner in 2001. With Mike Stevenson, Julie set up Middleton Partners offices in Salisbury and Southampton, both of which are now part of Begbies Traynor.

Julie is a member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association and the None Administrative Receivers Association and is a Fellow of The Association of Business Recovery Professionals. Julie deals with all aspects of Corporate Recovery and turnaround work and takes all form of personal insolvency appointments.

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Insolvency Practitioners Association Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales R3: Association of Business Recovery Professionals ICAEW Business Advice Service Turnaround Management Association ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) ICAS | The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland