Housing Minister John Healey has revealed that new court rules coming into force on October 1 will mean mortgage lenders must inform councils when repossession action is started against residents in their local area.
Healey says the changes will ensure councils can take early action, rather than waiting for worried homeowners to call.
These moves are on top of Government action in the courts to demand lenders prove they have exhausted every possible option before applying for a repossession order.
Healey has also written to all council leaders saying that when councils hear from lenders taking repossession action against local people this should prompt them to offer advice or support for the residents.
He says: “We are tightening the rules to help protect those struggling with their mortgages. There is support available at every stage of the repossession process but often, local authorities are unaware of the difficulties faced by residents until it’s too late.
“Thanks to these changes, councils will now have the ability to take early action for local homeowners, and go to them with the help they need rather than waiting for their call.”
Latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed there were 11,400 repossessions between April and June this year – a 10 per cent drop on the previous quarter, and compared to a peak of 75,500 repossessions in 1991.