Visits to website for mortgage trouble up 78%

A website provided by the Citizens Information Board for people finding it difficult to pay their mortgage or rent saw a 78% increase in visits last year.

Keepingyourhome.ie, established in 2009, received 136,047 visits last year, compared to 76,431 in 2012.

The number of visits to the site has been steadily rising — in 2010 there were 36,397, increasing to 56,222 the following year.

Director of the Irish Mortgage Holders Association, David Hall, said the website usage showed that more people were desperately seeking ways to hold onto their homes.

Mr Hall said he was concerned that lots of people in financial difficulty were not doing enough to deal with their situation.

Since July, banks have been sending letters to people in mortgage arrears claiming that they were being unco-operative.

“During the third quarter of last year alone, 1,830 repossession orders were issued,” said Mr Hall.

“There really needs to be a central one-stop shop so that people in all forms of debt get more than guidance; they get taken though the entire process.”

Mr Hall said that the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs) that was funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board needed to be put on a standalone statutory footing with an independent board and a dedicated chief executive.

The Citizens Information Board has statutory responsibility for Mabs, which is made up of 52 individual limited voluntary boards.

Mr Hall said it was good that people were accessing the website but they needed to do more than that.

“My message is very simple: Do not sleepwalk into repossession,” he said. “Go and get independent, impartial advice and representation if possible.”

Figures released by the Citizens Information Board also show there were just over 14m visits to citizensinformation.ie last year — up 37% on the previous year.

The website is the Government portal for online information on a broad range of subjects, including health, social welfare payments, housing, moving abroad and education and training.

Documents on medical cards, jobseeker’s allowance, renewing an Irish passport, rent supplement, and visa requirement were some of the most popular documents accessed last year.

Citizensinformation.ie went live in 2006 and grew out of oasis.gov.ie and the Citizens Information Database.

Other websites developed by the Citizens Information Board in response to changing economic circumstances include losingyourjob.ie and selfemployedsupports.ie and they have also experienced significant increases in user traffic.

Losingyourjob.ie received 135,423 visits last year — an 18% increase on 2012; and selfemployedsupports.ie received 127,025 visits — a 71% increase.


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