Housing advice: homeowners in mortgage arrears
If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, it is important that you speak to your lender as soon as possible so they can help you to try and keep your home. Your lender must treat you fairly and consider any request you make to change the way you pay your mortgage.
Work out what you can afford to pay
Before you speak to your lender, make a list of all your income and monthly bills including any arrears you have with anyone else. Citizens Advice (external link) has a budgeting tool that you can use to help you with this or you can make an appointment to speak to them face to face.
If you have lost your job or you are too ill to work, check whether you have got mortgage protection insurance as this may cover your mortgage payments.
It is also worth finding out whether you are entitled to benefits such as working tax credit, child tax credit or council tax support.
Ways to pay your arrears
If you have got any money left over each month after paying essential bills, you could offer to pay some of this on top of your future monthly mortgage payments.
If your home is worth more than the mortgage, your lender might let you add your arrears to the total amount you owe and pay it back over the lifetime of the mortgage.
You could ask to reduce your mortgage for a period of time or take a repayment holiday where you stop paying for an agreed amount of time.
If you are getting benefits, you may be eligible for support for mortgage interest (external link). This scheme helps homeowners pay the interest on their mortgage.
If you can't agree a way forward
If you can't agree a way forward with your lender, they might ask the court for a possession order. This lets them sell your home and use the money from the sale to pay off the money you owe. Your lender must give you 2 weeks notice in writing before they apply to the court.
Get independent advice
You can get free independent advice from a number of organisations about managing your debts. These organisations can deal with the people you owe money to as well as your mortgage provider. They will also help you with budgeting.
You can get advice from:
- National Debtline (external link)
- Step Change Debt Charity (external link)
- Citizens Advice Bureau (external link)
- Shelter (external link)
- Money Advice Service (external link)