Difficulty paying your mortgage
If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage or think you might experience problems in the near future, we want to help you. It’s important that you don’t panic, but call us on 0800 953 0063 as soon as you can (calls will be recorded). We’ll be able to discuss your circumstances and will do all we can to help you resolve the problem.
We may be able to:
- Arrange a new payment plan with you that suits both of us
- Change the way you make your payments, or the date you make them
- Allow you to pay your mortgage over a longer period of time (to reduce your monthly payments)
We will give you full details on how these options work and give you time to consider any changes. If we can’t offer you any of these options we will explain why. We might agree to you remaining in the property to sell the property yourself depending on your circumstances.
In all cases we will:
- Give you reasonable time to pay back the debt
- Refer you to Money Advice Trust (MAT), if you wish us to, with whom we work closely. They give free, independent debt advice to people across the UK through their telephone and online advice services – National Debtline & Business Debtline. They are experts in helping people in financial difficulty, providing realistic and affordable ways of solving debt problems.
- Only start proceedings to repossess your home if we are unable to solve the problem with you.
There are other organisations you can approach for help and advice. With your authority we will work with them where possible.
Some organisations which may be able to help are:
Citizens Advice Bureau - See phone book or website for local branch - www.adviceguide.org.uk/
StepChange Debt Charity – 0800 138 1111- www.stepchange.org
National Debtline - 0808 808 4000- www.nationaldebtline.org
What can you do to help us?
- Tell us as soon as possible if you are having problems repaying your mortgage or if you think that you might experience problems shortly.
- Contact us on 0800 953 0063 as soon as you can (calls will be recorded).
- Seek debt advice if you would like help with managing your finances.
- Get back to us quickly, if we try to contact you.
- Make sure you keep any other people paying the mortgage, and anyone guaranteeing the mortgage, up to date with what is happening.
- Keep to the payment plan we agree with you, or tell us if there is a change in your circumstances which may affect the arrangement. If you do not make the agreed payments, we might have to go to court to get back any money you owe us, or to repossess your property.
- Check whether you can get any state benefits or tax credits which could help to increase your income.
- If you have an insurance policy, check whether it would help with your payments.
- Tell us if you move to a new address.
Costs and charges
If you are in arrears, we may charge you for our reasonable administrative and legal costs. We will tell you the amount you will have to pay. See our Guide to Mortgage Fees and Charges for more details.What happens if we can’t agree on a solution?
- If we can’t agree a solution with you, we may send a debt counsellor to see you to discuss your financial circumstances, and the cost of the visit may be charged to your mortgage account.
We may go to court to start proceedings to repossess your home. If proceedings take place, we strongly recommend that you attend court and that you seek independent debt advice. Starting court proceedings does not necessarily mean that we will repossess your home; we will keep trying to solve the problem with you. Repossession is a last resort. Before we repossess your home, we will suggest that you get in touch with your local authority to see if they can find you somewhere else to live.
- If we repossess your home, we will give you reasonable time to take your possessions from your home. We will try and sell your home as quickly as possible and for the best price we can reasonably get. The money raised from selling your home will be used to pay your mortgage and any other loans or charges. If there is any money left over, we will pay it to you.
- If there is not enough money from the sale of your home to repay the whole of your mortgage, you still owe us the amount that is left (this is known as a shortfall debt). We will tell you how much this is as soon as possible. If you bought your home with other borrowers, each of you is responsible for all the money borrowed. This is true even if you normally only pay part of the mortgage.
We will contact you within six years of selling the property (seven in Scotland) to arrange for you to pay back what you still owe. We will take account of your income and outgoings when we arrange a payment plan for this shortfall debt with you. But if we cannot arrange a suitable plan, we may go to court to get our money back and you may have to pay additional court costs. If a shortfall debt is not paid, it could affect whether you are able to get credit in the future.
- If you take out a mortgage with another person and your relationship comes to an end, your mortgage payments will still have to be paid. Both of you will remain liable to us for the amount outstanding. This means that even if you agree between yourselves that just one of you will pay the mortgage, the other will still be liable to us in the event of the required payments not being made.
- If you can no longer pay your mortgage, you may be thinking about handing your keys and property back to us. If you do this, you will still be responsible for paying the mortgage until the property is sold. If your house sells for less than you owe, your mortgage won’t be fully repaid and you will still owe us the amount that is left. Please talk to us about your situation before taking such action, there may be other things we can do to help.