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Steps to take to prevent mortgage arrears from leading to an eviction

Lucy Graudus
Written by Lucy Graudus

Keeping on top of mortgage payments and arrears should always be your top priority; the last thing you want is to fall into arrears. Failing to make your mortgage payments could result in you being evicted and inevitably could lead to you and your family being homeless.

It’s important that you act right away, or it could snowball into a larger debt that’s harder to manage. Many lenders charge penalties if you miss payments. So, the sooner you deal with the problem, the more options you’ll have available to resolve it, and the less likely you are to lose your home over it.

Assess the situation you’re in

If you want to stay in your home, you need to find a way to stop these arrears from spiralling out of control, while also keeping up to date with future payments. You need to also look at whether this situation is long term (e.g. serious medical condition) or short term (e.g. you lost your job, but you’ll get another one soon).

Get help to tackle the problem

Don’t tackle a stressful situation like this on your own. The Citizens Advice Bureau and your local Money Advice Centre can go through your options with you. They can help you come up with a realistic, affordable solution and help you negotiate a repayment plan with your lender.

Speak to your lender

Explain to your lender the current situation you’re in and if you’re getting specialist advice to help you understand your options. If you’re uncomfortable speaking with them face to face or on the phone, you can write to them using our letter writing tool.

Alter your lifestyle to help improve your situation

Here’s a list of options to help you be able to cover these payments:

Negotiate a plan with your lender

Most lenders will expect you suggest a payment plan, rather than dictate one. Remember, your lender can’t automatically repossess your home if you fall behind on your mortgage payments. Legally, there are certain procedures that need to be followed first.

Make affordable payments

Keep paying as much as you can afford, this should help stop the arrears from rising too quickly. This will also show your lender that you’re trying your best to tackle the problem.

Other options

Another option is to sell your home voluntarily and move somewhere more affordable. Or, you could try to move your mortgage to another lender, but this will be tricky with arrears attached to it.

If you’re at risk of being evicted, the Home Owners’ Support Fund may be able to help you. Their schemes help home owners who find it difficult to pay their mortgage or loans secured against their property to stay in their homes.

If you are worried about repossession, call Shelter Scotland’s helpline or talk to an adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau or money advice centre as soon as possible.