Mortgage Arrears: Simple Steps to TakeJames Trafford
If you get into mortgage arrears or anticipate that you may do so soon, then the best thing anyone can do is take immediate action. Resist the temptation to look the other way and hope it will somehow resolve itself – it won’t. Taking action is often the antidote to despair.
You can be in mortgage arrears by missing just a single payment. If only one payment was missing due to a minor error or mistake, then rectify the problem as soon as possible and take the necessary steps to ensure it’s not repeated. We all make mistakes.
If, however, the missed payment goes beyond one payment, or you anticipate it will, it’s strongly advisable to contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss the matter with them. You will find they are very approachable and will want to help you the best they can.
Contact your mortgage lender
There’s no need to be afraid to contact your lender. They have a lot of expertise in helping and advising people with repayment problems, and they will have a lot of sympathy for you, especially at present when many have suffered loss and pain. The worst thing to do is hide from your situation because you will feel isolated and under immense pressure.
Keep in mind that your lender does not want to take your property away from you, they want to help and advise you. Speak with them and be fully open and honest about your situation; this will help them give you the best possible advice.
Your lender must contact you in writing within 15 days of you becoming in arrears with payments. This letter will advise you of the following information:
- How much you owe
- What payments have been missed and the date(s)
- How much is still left on the mortgage to pay in full
- A plan of repayment and timescale
- Late payment charges are cleared
It’s important to note that your provider will work with you to make sure that they will do everything they can to help, and that repossession is the last thing they want to happen.
Steps you can take
Check to see if you have any insurance cover, like payment protection insurance. If your situation is to do with something like being made redundant or being unable to work due to an accident or sickness, you may get financial help from insurance cover. Sometimes this is known as Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance.
If you don’t have any private insurance cover for this, ask your mortgage lender to explore if your mortgage agreement has any cover for such an eventuality. You may have opted for a level of cover when you took out the policy, or it may have been a condition of the mortgage to start with. You may be surprised to learn that sometimes people have some cover in their mortgage agreement but didn’t realise it until they checked.
Alternative actions to take
If you were unsuccessful in discovering any insurance cover that could help you, then you can consider the following options.
Help from family and friends
Asking family and friends to borrow money is uncomfortable and not ideal, that’s for sure, but when it comes to missed mortgage payments, the situation is quite serious. Even if you are only successful in securing a part of the repayment amount, let your lender know this and offer what you can.
Cut back where you can
Go over your bank statements with your partner carefully and decide where you can cut back on your monthly expenses. Many are surprised to discover that they can make significant changes relatively easily.
A few examples: if you have two cars, can you take one off the road and SORN it so you don’t have to pay the running costs for it? Do you normally eat out regularly but think you should now cook more at home? Can you get a better deal with your utility companies?
If all else fails in trying to stem the tide of catching up with mortgage arrears, you can try speaking to your mortgage lender about maybe selling your home before it gets to the stage of having your home repossessed and harming your credit rating.
If you are currently going through the ordeal of being in arrears on mortgage payments, please keep calm as possible and keep in constant contact with your mortgage provider every step of the way, and maybe also with other support groups, to help achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.