Laois County Council has €1.67million worth of home loans in arrears
Despite the improved economy, there were 840 Laois County Council mortgage holders still in loan arrears by the end of 2017, totalling €1.67million.
The latest report by Laois County Council's audit committee found that more money is needed to write off bad debts from unpaid mortgages.
The council set aside €150,000 to write off bad debts that year but was advised by its audit committee to increase the figure.
Gerry Murphy the Director for Finance said that they are working with people to avoid repossessing homes.
“€150,000 was insufficient but if we require additional funds we will do that. Since the downturn, some individuals had serious problems making repayments. We are working with people in arrears on restructuring their loans, agreeing lower repayments rather than repossessing them,” he said.
Speaking at the February council meeting and commenting on the Audit Committee's annual report, Mr Murphy said there is improvement.
“We have reduced our arrears by €43,000, we are out of recession, people are back working and are making payments. Over the last three years, we have seen an improvement yearly because of the economy and restructuring,” Mr Murphy said.
Shared ownership scheme 'like going up a cul de sac'
Shared ownership schemes are a thing of the past said Cllr Willie Aird at the meeting.
“People on shared ownership schemes had run into huge difficulties, but they are finished now. They were like going up a cul de sac, people were going nowhere. Houses are getting dearer and hopefully people are getting back into positive equity,” Cllr Aird said.
The Cathaoirleach Cllr John King said people's biggest fear was losing their home.
Cllr Brendan Phelan said people in debt were shown sympathy.
“People in arrears were dealt with as sympathetically as possible," he said.