New mortgage rules ‘will protect struggling homeowners’

Homeowners who fall behind on their mortgage payments look set to be given greater protection under new rules being put forward by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Coming on the back of the FSA’s own research that found many specialist lenders are using heavy-handed tactics when dealing with mortgage holders who have fallen into arrears, the regulator has now proposed the introduction of new rules that aimed at clamping down on unfair charges and, ultimately, repossession.

In particular, the FSA’s latest consultation proposes that mortgage lenders must not add early repayment charges onto any arrears charges, nor must they levy monthly charges should they have reached an agreement with their client over how arrears are to be dealt with.

Lenders would also be required to keep a log of all records relating to their customers’ arrears for at least three years, thereby giving consumers more support in cases where they feel they have been unfairly charged.

Announcing the new proposals, the FSA’s Lesley Titcomb said: “Lenders need to be in no doubt of their obligations to customers who fall behind with payments and must realise that such circumstances are not an opportunity to create further profits.”

Homeowners in Enfield are to benefit from a new £2 million government grant, made available to help them tackle their arrears and avoid repossession the Enfield Independent has reported.

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