Help with mortgage debt

Find out what to do if you’re struggling to pay your mortgage and are in arrears

You mustn’t ignore any problems you’re having paying your mortgage as this could lead to your home being repossessed. Mortgages are ‘priority debts’ which means you should pay them first.

Talk to your lender

You should pay as much as you can and then speak to your lender.  Your lender 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

Many lenders have agreed to wait at least three months before taking action to repossess your home but this should be a last resort. The law says that lenders must treat you fairly and take all of your circumstances into account.

Advice and help

Talk to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for more help and information.

Find out how to avoid repossession on GOV.UK.

Read the advice from the National Homelessness Advice Service on what to do if you’re worried about your mortgage.

Talk to one of the local debt and money advice agencies.

Help paying your mortgage

Mortgage protection insurance

Mortgage protection insurance can cover your payments if you’ve lost your job or you’re too ill to work, so check with your lender to see if you have it.  Contact your insurer as soon as you can to make sure they can start payments.

Income Support

If your income is low then Income Support can help you pay the interest on your mortgage as long as you’ve been receiving it for at least 13 weeks.  It can’t help with repayments of the mortgage itself or any endowment or pension policy connected to your mortgage.

Income Support will only help pay the interest on mortgages up to £200,000.  If your mortgage is more than this then you can still use Income Support to help you but you’ll have to cover the costs of the additional interest yourself.

If your mortgage also covers the cost of buying a car or providing a business loan then only the part of the mortgage associated with buying your home can be covered by Income Support.

Other benefits

Other benefits such as Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Council Tax Benefit can help to raise your income which will make paying your mortgage easier.  You should contact your local Jobcentre Plus or use our benefits calculator to find out what benefits you’re entitled to.

Homeowner’s mortgage support

If your household income has dropped then you could be entitled to homeowner’s mortgage support. This might be because:

  • you had two part-time jobs but now only have one
  • your hours have been cut or you can no longer work overtime
  • you or your partner lose their job and your household now relies on one income

Homeowner’s mortgage support will allow you to delay some of your monthly interest payments for up to two years.  This will allow you to get your finances back on track, but you'll have to pay it back eventually.

The risk with Homeowner’s mortgage support is that your debt will be increasing but your home may go down in value while you’re making lower monthly repayments.  This could result in negative equity where your mortgage is more than the value of your home.

Repossession

If your home is about to be repossessed, you should get immediate financial advice from the one of the local money advice agencies.

If there’s no time for this you must go to the court hearing and speak to the duty solicitor who will represent you.  If you don’t go to court then the judge may have no option but to repossess your home.

Find out more about repossessions on GOV.UK.