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Families desperate

THE fallout of the January 2011 floods is ever present for residents of the Lockyer Valley as more and more residents face losing their homes.

Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor George Nathan said there was an emerging trend of home repossessions in the valley, with his service assisting at least seven families facing eviction.

"The problem we are seeing at the moment is that people are simply leaving it too late to get assistance," Mr Nathan said.

"By the time we are involved, in some of the cases we aren't able to offer assistance.

"There were lots of jobs lost after the flood and people were working through their savings and now they have come to the end of them.

"A lot of people aren't aware that there is some compensation available and eligible people can receive up to $20,000 from the Department of Communities for mortgage payments."

He said families and residents in this situation must seek help sooner rather than later.

"If you receive a letter from a financial services provider requesting you pay the arrears you should seek assistance immediately," he said.

"If you wait and do nothing, chances are you will receive a notice of default pursuant to section 88 of the National Credit code.

"If you continue to do nothing, there is a high chance you will lose your home."

Mr Nathan said there was some protection for residents facing repossession of their homes.

"The financial service provider must issue you with a default notice and can't proceed without it. At this point consumers have the right to lodge a dispute with the ombudsman," he said.

"Once a dispute is lodged with the ombudsman, all actions are placed on hold until the dispute is resolved and this is where we can help, negotiating with banks and lenders.

"There is more protection for consumers now than most people realise."

LJ Hooker Gatton and Laidley principal John Boyd said there had been a noticeable difference in the amount of mortgagee and possessions sales coming across their books.

"Before the flood we were lucky to have one every three months now we have up to 10 a month," he said.

"The shame of it is that the cost of living has risen in relation to fuel, power, water and rates.

 

"There are ways for people to avoid losing their homes and it's about talking to the right people when they get into difficulty, talking to their banks."

Residents facing eviction or requiring assistance phone Moneycare in Gatton on 5462 2610 or in Laidley on 5465 1889.


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