The council's Housing Options Centre, at Phoenix House, Welford Place, can offer help to homeowners who are facing repossession.
A nationwide 'mortgage rescue' package offers three options to homeowners who qualify for the scheme:
- Shared ownership: where homeowners can sell a share in their property to a housing association to reduce mortgage payments;
- Shared equity: where homeowners can take out a loan from a housing association to cut mortgage payments;
- Sale and rent back: where homeowners can sell their property to a housing association and then rent it back.
Such schemes can ease the burden of mortgage repayments, and also mean homeowners can avoid the expense, emotional stress and upheaval of moving home.
The Department for Work and Pensions is also changing the waiting period for claiming Income Support for mortgage interest repayments – from 39 weeks to 13 weeks.
Some people may be able to get mortgage interest relief even sooner than that – you might only have to wait eight weeks to get mortgage relief if you have been abandoned by your partner, for example.
Staff at the Housing Options Centre can also accompany people to court and introduce them to lay advocates. They can assist with paperwork and help complete defence papers.
Before things get that far, though, Housing Options staff can advise struggling homeowners on how to talk to and negotiate with their mortgage lender. There may often be room for manoeuvre.
If it is not possible to prevent repossession, staff can investigate whether a homeowner will then be made homeless. If so, they can assist with finding accommodation.
If someone is given a notice of repossession in 56 or 28 days, staff can allocate ‘insecure accommodation points’ to indicate that the person is in imminent housing need.
Advice Centres in Leicester
Housing Options Centre
1 King Street (public entrance in Welford Place)
Telephone: 0116 252 7008
Shelter Housing Aid And Research Project
13 Welford Road
Telephone: 0116 254 6064
Community Legal Advice Centre
1 Bishop Street
Telephone: 0845 456 0074
Revenues and Benefits Service
22-30 Wellington Street
Telephone: 0116 252 6944
Welfare Rights Service, telephone advice line: 0116 225 4888
Leicester City Council tenants' advice line: 0116 252 7007
Leicester Money Advice