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Act now – There is help out there
Release date: Wed, 19/09/2012
Homeowners who are running into difficulties in meeting their mortgage payments are being urged to seek help at the earliest possible stage.
Bristol City Council is advising any borrower struggling with their financial commitments to contact its Housing Advice team in order to discuss what options and assistance might be open to them in resolving their situation.
At present the city is not seeing a significant rise in the number of home re-possessions. But changes to benefit payments this year, the ongoing recession and the prospect of further job losses mean there is a risk that this could change. And the authority is highlighting the help and advice available to homeowners and is calling on borrowers experiencing problems to seek help.
Councillor Anthony Negus, Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration, said: “The most important advice to someone if this situation does occur is to act immediately to stop the situation becoming worse.
“Help is available from a range of agencies out there and addressing the situation at an early stage reduces the risk of losing your home.”
The council is also urging homeowners to talk to their lender and not to ignore any payment problems. Mortgages are 'priority debts' which means that you should pay them first as otherwise your home could be repossessed.
Homeowners should pay what they can and contact their lender as soon as they start having payment problems. Lenders may:
- Agree to change or lengthen the term of your homeowner’s loan
- Accept reduced payments from you in the short-term
- Add your arrears to the amount you borrowed
- Reduce your monthly mortgage payments for a certain period
- Spread the repayment of the total amount you owe
- Offer you a better loan rate
- Allow you time to sell your home.
The law also says that lenders must treat you fairly and take all your circumstances into account.
Homeowners who run into payment difficulties may also be eligible for help through the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, a nationwide initiative that helps to prevent vulnerable families losing their homes and experiencing the trauma of repossession. You could be eligible for financial help to stay in your home.
Further information is available by visiting the council’s website at http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/mortgage-advice-householders or by telephoning the advice team on 0117 352 6800, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org