Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Panic Here's How You Can Keep a Roof over Your Head; with a Quarter of London's Population Now Renting Their Homes, the Rising Cost and Cuts in Benefits Mean an Evictions Crisis, So Don't Leave It Too Late to Get Help

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Panic Here's How You Can Keep a Roof over Your Head; with a Quarter of London's Population Now Renting Their Homes, the Rising Cost and Cuts in Benefits Mean an Evictions Crisis, So Don't Leave It Too Late to Get Help

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

MORE than 58,000 households in London are at risk of eviction or repossession the equivalent of 1,126 every week as the capital's courts take up 17 of the top 20 hotspots for eviction notices in the country, That is according to analysis of Ministry of Justice figures by Shelter, which shows that residents in Newham are most likely to lose their home, followed by Barking & Dagenham, Southwark and Hackney.

Experts warn that a quarter of the capital's population are now tenants and with soaring rents and benefit cuts meaning rising arrears courts in London are "overstretched" and struggling to cope with demand.

Calls to Shelter's advice helpline for Londoners facing homelessness have hit 480 a day sharply higher than three years ago from people facing eviction or repossession.

Anyone concerned about their rental arrears spiralling out of control should seek advice early, whilst homeowners should begin preparing for future mortgage rises now Bank of England officials expect interest rates to rise as soon as next year.

"We're hearing from a growing number of people who've reached crisis point and picked up the phone, often with the court papers in their hand," said Liz Clare, helpline adviser for Shelter. "It's natural to hope mounting bills and arrears will go away, but the best thing to do is get expert advice straight away. There's absolutely no shame in seeking help and a specialist adviser can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel."

FACING REPOSSESSION? Talk to your lender immediately the sooner you do so, the better your chances of keeping the roof over your head. A lender who sees you are being proactive and open about your finances may offer a month's reprieve from repayments, allow you to pay off arrears in instalments, or lengthen the term of your mortgage.

You may have to put together an official proposal to your lender about how you will deal with mortgage arrears. …

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