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250,000 in mortgage distress with many at risk of homelessness

The vast majority of homeowners facing repossession are trying to handle legal proceedings without the help of solicitors or other supports.

A study of the experiences of people coping with mortgage distress estimates that 250,000 adults and children are living under the threat of losing their home.

File photo.

Most of the properties are long-standing family homes, with more than half (56%) of those surveyed being in the property for over ten years and a further 36% for over 20 years.

Most (66%) said that if they lost their home, they would not be able to afford to rent privately, leaving them at serious risk of homelessness.

Yet despite all that is at stake, more than 80% have not retained a solicitor to represent them in court and almost 60% had not even sought help from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

Lead researcher, Cecilia Forrestal, of the Community Action Network said people in mortgage distress felt shame, mistrust and isolation.

“People are overwhelmed by the reality they find themselves in. They can not afford legal advice and do not trust that it will work for them against the strong legal representation of banks and vulture funds,” she said.