Consequences of Repossession
How it Affects Families and Children - Research Findings
High rates of mortgage repossession continue to be a major problem in Britain. Due to high interest rates,
Association of Mortgage Lenders is worried that more people are going to go through repossesson hell.
Between 1990 and 1998, almost half million households faced the grim reality of loosing their family homes. It
affected 1.3 million adults and children. By late 1990s, although the economy was widely regarded as back on track,
almost 650 houses were still being repossessed every week in as late as 1998.
Researchers explored the impact the experience of repossession had on people, especially households with both
adults and children.
Although most families were rehoused in social housing, researchers found that the overall experience was
extremely distressing and enduring social, psychological and health consequences for both parents and their
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The main findings were:
- The experience of repossession was distressing enough on its own. It was compunded by the stress from
administrative processes and procedures of the lenders, the courts and local authorities.
- Although most people tries extremely hard to find a solutionto their problems, they remembered long after
this painful experience how hey did not have any control on events. They felt a profound sense of loss for long
- Where the repossession occured due to mortgage arrears, families faced long-term poverty and substantial
debt. Women suffered more when repossession was a direct result of marital or relationship breakdown
- Repossession had consequences in 6 main areas of peoples' lives. It altered: their social status and
identity; their personal and family relationships; their health and well-being; the quality of their lives;
their future hopes and aspirations; and the lives of their children.
Repossession is no doubt a traumatic, emotional and stressful life event that most people do not wish on their
enemies. But this is sad reality that some people and their families have to go through for various
Here is a direct quote from one respondent interviewd by researchers. This was a typical response of many
"What is going to happen to me? When I go into court are they going to suspend it again, are they not
going to suspend it again? If they don't, what am I going to do? Where am I going to go? Am I going to end up
on the street? Am I going to come back from somewhere and find my furniture in the garden? You know - what's
going to happen? The fear of the unknown."
How can things be improved?
Researchers came to a conclusion that the effects of mortgage repossession on families are so great that
repossession should be avoided wherever possible, and all alternatives should be explored.
The message is simple: If you feel vulnerable then try your best to avoid your house being repossessed. Seek
experts who can help you in this situation.
Say No to Repossession!
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About the Report:
Report titled 'Losing the family home: Understanding the social consequences of mortgage
repossession'' by Sarah Nettleton, Roger Burrows, Jude England and Jenny Seavers, is published for the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation by York Publishing Services Ltd. More on this report can be found by clicking at this
link: Report link