FOUR Kilkenny households have had to return the keys of their homes to the County Council after they failed to meet the repayment plans put in place.
The figures which came from a parliamentary question revealed that the local authorities pursued borrowers through the courts on at least half the occasions when they were repossessing homes. In the other two cases the home owners voluntarily returned the keys to the county council.
It was revealed recently that Kilkenny County Council expects about 40 local authority houses to be repossessed in the coming year.
The Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, said that the local authorities have been dealing actively and sympathetically with the mortgage arrears crisis. He highlighted that the rates of interest paid on loans offered to local authority residents to buy their homes were more than 1% lower than the rates charged by commercial banks.
“The single most important advice for any borrower facing difficulties in meeting repayments – whether their mortgage is with a local authority or private institution – is to engage early, actively and constructively with their lender to seek to achieve an agreed solution,” said Minister Hogan.
Cllr Marie Fitzpatrick, (Labour) who is the Chairperson of the housing committee assured people that the council would not put them out on the streets. “If people aren’t in a position to pay their mortgages the council will do everything they can to support them. Chances are that if someone surrenders their house to the council, the council will rent the house back to them.”
Cllr Fitzpatirick said that she was aware of a lot of people who were looking to surrender their houses to the council because they simply cannot make the mortgage repayments that they have agreed to. “A lot of people are to the pin of their collars trying to make repayments. People aren’t able to do it, they have lost their jobs, the country is in dire straits,” said Cllr Fitzpatrick.