Tag Archives: repossession

IVAs: Help Avoiding Repossession

Responding to the latest figures from the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders), debt management company Gregory Pennington has stressed the role which debt solutions addressing unsecured debt can play in helping people avoid repossession.


Released on May 15th, the CML’s figures show that 12,800 repossessions were carried out by first-charge mortgage lenders in the first quarter of 2009. “Compared with many predictions, these figures are relatively low,” said a spokesperson for Gregory Pennington. “Indeed, the CML itself has used the word ‘pessimistic’ in reference to its own estimate of 75,000 repossessions throughout 2009, and has recently revised this figure downwards to 65,000.

“It’s good to see lenders and borrowers working together to keep the figure as low as possible, but it’s important not to become complacent. There were still around 23% more repossessions in Q1 2009 than in the previous quarter – and 50% more than we saw in Q1 last year.

“Looking ahead, the repossession figures for the rest of 2009 are by no means set in stone. They depend not just on the state of the economy and the forbearance shown by secured lenders, but on the attitude of borrowers and unsecured lenders alike.

“In this recession, many people are suffering multiple ‘shocks’ at the same time. With 2.2 million unemployed and many others dealing with reduced wages, homeowners are also facing the issue of falling equity. While there’s no direct link between low (or negative) equity and repossession, this is limiting many homeowners’ ability to access ways of dealing with their debt – from debt consolidation loans and remortgaging to downsizing to a smaller property.

“It all underlines the importance of finding a solution that addresses a borrower’s priority and non-priority commitments at the same time. A founder member of DEMSA (the Debt Managers Standards Association), Gregory Pennington has 15 years’ experience of dealing with lenders of all kinds.

“Secured and unsecured lenders alike clearly have a thorough understanding of the problems consumers face today. They understand the link between secured and unsecured debt problems.

“Secured lenders know that many of today’s borrowers are facing complex financial problems, trying to deal with unsecured debts as well as secured.

“Unsecured lenders, in general, appreciate that a homeowner’s secured debts must take priority – and that repossession is unlikely to improve the borrower’s chances of repaying their unsecured debt.

“This is one reason unsecured lenders will often agree to the terms of an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement).”

A solution that’s designed to address the concerns of everyone involved, an IVA can help unsecured lenders recover as much of their money as realistically possible, and can help borrowers avoid the need to focus on their mortgage / rent at the expense of their unsecured debts. Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) achieve this by calculating how much the individual can realistically afford to repay per month after they’ve taken their mortgage / rent payments and other essential expenses into account.

“Even so, we always emphasise that entering an IVA is a serious step, and is by no means suitable for everyone facing debt problems. Depending on their situation, different homeowners may be better advised to consider alternative solutions to their debt problems.”

Via EPR Network
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Tackling Unsecured Debt Can Prevent Repossession

Responding to the 2008 repossession and arrears statistics released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), debt specialists Debt Advisers Direct have stressed the relationship between unsecured debt and mortgage arrears.

“As the CML reports, there were 40,000 repossessions in 2008,” said a spokesperson for Debt Advisers Direct, “and a further 219,000 mortgages ended the year more than three months in arrears.

“For many of those people, however, the problem lay not in the cost of their actual mortgage payments, but in the cost of servicing their unsecured debts. Charging significantly higher interest rates than mortgages, unsecured debts can easily ‘snowball’ to the point where borrowers simply can’t keep up with them – where their monthly payments barely suffice to pay off the accumulating interest.

“Unsecured debts can also be alarmingly easy to take on. Credit cards and store cards in particular allow significant levels of debt to accumulate gradually: people who would hesitate to take out a £2,000 loan can find they’ve acquired £2,000 of debt on a number of cards without even noticing it.”

This combination of high interest rates and ease of access has left many homeowners with unsecured monthly debt repayments that take up some or all of the funds they need to service their mortgage debt. Unless they take steps to address this, it can end up leading to repossession.

“There are ways of reducing the burden of their unsecured debts,” the spokesperson continued. “Many people successfully negotiate with their unsecured lenders – either on their own or through a professional debt management organisation – asking them to accept lower payments, freeze interest and/or waive charges, to ensure that servicing their unsecured debts doesn’t take up funds they need to stay on top of their mortgage payments.

Others find that their unsecured debts have passed the point where negotiation is a realistic option: “In 2008, some 106,000 people in England and Wales turned to insolvency (bankruptcy or an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement)) as the only realistic path out of debt – and experts such as KPMG believe this figure could easily grow by 50% this year.

“For the majority of homeowners, an IVA offers distinct benefits over bankruptcy. Like bankruptcy, an IVA lets them write off the debt they can’t afford to repay, and will have a severe impact on their credit rating. Unlike bankruptcy, however, it will allow them to retain ownership of their property.”

This is what makes it a particularly interesting option for homeowners who worry that their unsecured debts could end up costing them their home: “An IVA requires substantial commitment, as they will need to make regular payments towards their unsecured debt for five years, but those payments are designed to be affordable.

They will be calculated to take up the individual’s entire disposable income – the money they will have left after taking into account their essential monthly expenditure, such as food, petrol, utility bills and (most importantly) mortgage payments.

“So a homeowner in an IVA will be required to contribute all their disposable income to their IVA for a full five years, as well as releasing some equity halfway through the final year of the IVA to maximise the amount they can pay their unsecured creditors.

“However, they’ll know they’re protected from any legal action by their unsecured creditors – including attempts to make them bankrupt – and they’ll know their outstanding unsecured debts will be written off at the end of that period. Most important of all, they’ll know the budget they’re following is specifically designed to ensure their monthly mortgage payments will be met.”

“The important thing is to take action in time, as soon as their unsecured debts reach unmanageable levels. An IVA is a legal procedure that requires the approval of creditors who collectively ‘own’ 75% of the debt in question – in general, the sooner an individual speaks to an Insolvency Practitioner about an IVA, the better their chances of gaining that approval.”

Via EPR Network
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