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:
- Check if you have mortgage payment protection insurance and if so, check your policy carefully
- Reduce your expenditure by cancelling unnecessary subscriptions (e.g. satellite TV)
- Switch to cheaper energy providers to cut costs of your gas and electric bills
- You may be able to shop around for better life insurance and contents insurance deals
- You might be able to reduce the size of your monthly mortgage payments to be more affordable
- Work extra hours at work, or consider taking on a second job
- Apply for help paying the interest on your mortgage
- See if you qualify for benefits or tax credits
- Rent out a room or let out your home
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.
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.