Local borrowers may be in line for compensation
In 2014, Housing Rights represented borrowers in a successful high court case that challenged the practice of payment of arrears being automatically included in the mortgage installment, without borrowers knowledge or consent.
Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that this practice is likely to be in breach of its rules. It is to consult on new guidance on how lenders deal with clients in arrears with their mortgage. The guidance will cover remedies for customers who may have been negatively impacted by how their lender has dealt with arrears in the past.
Speaking about today’s announcement Chris McGrath, Solicitor with Housing Rights commented:
“We welcome today’s announcement from the FCA. We want to see an end to this practice in the mortgage industry. It is important that lenders can be held to account regarding practices that lack transparency and can lead to harm. Housing Rights hope that any award of compensation to those affected is proportionate to the negative impact that this would have on already distressed families.”
Housing Rights has assisted almost 5,500 households from Northern Ireland in mortgage difficulties over the past 3 years.
The charity is urging anyone worried about mortgage debt, or who feel they may have been impacted by this issue, to contact the Mortgage Debt Advice Service on 0300 32 30 310 for free independent advice.
Notes to Editors
Spokesperson available. Contact Frances on 028 9024 5640 for further information.
- Housing Rights is the leading specialist provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland. Established in 1964 the charity works to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems.
- Last year the organisation provided advice and assistance on over 43,000 housing issues.
- Housing Rights has operated a Mortgage Debt Advice Service on behalf of the Department for Communities since 2009.
- The 2014 case was brought to court by Housing Rights with the assistance of with funding from the Public Interest Litigation Support Project (PILS)
- Read the full judgment from Bank of Scotland Plc v Rea  NIMaster 11 (4 August 2014)
- Find out more about Housing Rights holding Bank of Scotland to account.
- Court repossession stats from the NI Court Service since 2013 (scroll to bottom of web page)
- Press release from FCA