Many cities to help homeowners falling behind on mortgages more quickly
Municipalities and mortgage lenders will offer quicker assistance to people falling behind on their payments. Two experiments must show how the municipality can identify homeowners with payment arrears or people with debt problems sooner to prevent the issues from getting bigger.
Fifteen municipalities are taking part in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment experiments, which will start in January and last four years. The municipalities of Purmerend, Westland, Rotterdam, and Dordrecht, among others, will be able to contact someone as soon as they are two months late in paying their energy or water bill, health insurance, or rent. Mortgage lenders will notify the municipalities of Amsterdam, Arnhem, and Hollands Kroon, among others, if there are payment arrears of two months, after which they can contact the person to prevent problematic debts.
According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, people often struggle with money issues for a long time and do not know where to find help. That is why municipalities have been obliged to offer assistance since the beginning of this year, but that does not yet reach everyone. The Ministry hopes this will improve by teaming up with the banks Aegon and Rabobank in the experiments. According to the Ministry, this data exchange occurs in a targeted and careful manner, with due observance of the privacy rules. The Ministry hopes that more banks will join the experiments, a spokesperson said.
By approaching people earlier, the Ministry noticed that it is not always necessary to start a debt relief process. "In many cases, the problems can be solved with less drastic measures. It works to be quick, or so is the impression," the spokesperson said. Those involved look at, for example, what other (financial) problems may arise, "for example that something is not going well with the housing benefit," or whether a budget coach can help to put the administration in order.
Reporting by ANP.