If you own your home and are in danger of having it repossessed there is help available. The Scottish Government operates two schemes, as part of the Home Owners' Support Fund, to help owners who are experiencing difficulty in paying any loans that are secured against their property.
Under this scheme, the owner’s home is bought by either the Council or Orkney Housing Association Limited, and the household continues to live there as a tenant.
To be eligible for the scheme the owner must fulfill certain criteria. Further details can be found on the Scottish Government’s website, a link to which can be found in the related sites section of this page.
The Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau play a pivotal role in the progress of an application towards approval for the scheme and will ultimately act as agent for the scheme.
To be eligible under the scheme the owner must have failed to reach agreement with their lender on how to manage the arrears, and must have sought financial advice from an approved advisor, such as Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau (OCAB). In addition the value of the home must be no more than the maximum levels set by the Scottish Government. The owner must have been unable to make full payments for at least three months, and must be ineligible for help through other UK Government schemes. The owner must not normally own a home elsewhere, must have lived in their home for the last 12 months, and must not hold capital in excess of limits set by the scheme.
We will contact OCAB where an owner satisfies these and other conditions of the scheme. OCAB will provide money advice and if the household qualifies, will act as an agent for the scheme.
The purchase is partially subsidised by the Scottish Government and some additional funding may be available towards the cost of repairs. The scheme is administered by the Mortgage to Rent team at the Scottish Government who can provide further information. Applications are subject to Orkney Islands Council being able to finance the purchase and OIC requiring a property in the relevant area.
This scheme involves the Scottish Government taking a financial stake in the home. The owner still owns the home and continues to be responsible for maintaining and insuring it, but they are able to reduce the amount they have to pay their lender every month.
To be eligible under this scheme, the owner must meet the criteria for the Mortgage to Rent scheme. In addition, the owner must hold 25% or more equity in the home, must not have had a trustee appointed to the estate, have a capital and interest repayment mortgage and own a property that is above the Tolerable Standard.
Further information about the Home Owners’ Support Scheme and examples of how the schemes can be applied is available on the Scottish Government’s website, a link to which can be found in the related sites section of this page.
All landlords and creditors are required to notify the local authority if they intend to take action which may result in the tenant or owner-occupier becoming homeless. A Protocol on Section 11 has been developed in conjunction with Orkney Housing Association Ltd, Orkney Islands Property Developments Ltd and Orkney Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
On receipt of a section 11 notification, we will contact the tenant or occupier in line with our protocol on Section 11 and seek to refer to Orkney Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s money advice service / housing advice service. In addition we will offer a housing options interview and we will consider whether homelessness can be prevented, and provide support or make referrals to other agencies as appropriate. As a minimum, if this offer is refused, we will provide housing advice and assistance to them, provide information on their statutory rights in relation to homelessness and provide information on their housing options.
We will raise awareness about Section 11 with private landlords in Orkney at advice and information sessions, through the online Housing Options Guide, with leaflets available online and in various locations throughout Orkney and through the Landlord Registration Scheme.