There has been a sudden spike in the number of West Australians seeking legal help because they can’t pay their mortgage, with 112 people asking Legal Aid WA (LAWA) for assistance in January and February alone.

That compares to 301 people last year, and only 46 people in 2013.

Director of civil law Justin Stevenson predicted defaults would continue to surge in WA this year amid ongoing property price softness, unemployment and an end to interest-only loans.

Mr Stevenson said he was concerned not just for homeowners.

“Another area of concern is elderly people who are the guarantors of the loan, who find themselves subject to possession applications,” he said.

“Without assistance from LAWA, homelessness is a real consequence for these West Australians.”

LAWA has launched outreach facilities of the state-wide Mortgage Hardship Service in Perth’s worst affected suburbs – Midland, Merriwa and Baldivis.

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AAP