Trouble paying your mortgage
How we can help if you're having difficulty paying your mortgage
What we will do
If you haven't already been in touch with us, we'll contact you as soon as possible to discuss your situation. We'll consider your circumstances and 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).
- Arrange for a field agent to visit you and discuss ways of managing your finances. The cost of the visits will be charged to your mortgage account.
We will provide you with 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 will give you reasonable time to pay back the debt.
- If you wish we will refer you to Money Advice Trust (MAT) 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.
- We will only start proceedings to repossess your home if we are unable to solve the problem with you.
If we cannot offer any of these options we might agree to you remaining in the property to sell it yourself.
What you can do
- Let us know straight away if you are having problems repaying your mortgage or think that you might experience problems in the near future.
- Talk to Money Advice Trust (MAT), who will be able to offer you free, independent advice. They have helped many people to find realistic and affordable ways to solve their debt problems - this is why we have chosen to work with them. You can call MAT direct on freephone 0808 808 4000, or talk to them on webchat at www.nationaldebtline.org. If self-employed then call them direct on freephone 0800 197 6026 or talk to them on webchat at www.businessdebtline.org.
- Make sure you keep other people responsible for the mortgage (and anyone guaranteeing the mortgage) up to date with what's happening.
- Keep to any payment plan we may agree with you or tell us as soon as possible if there is a change in your circumstances which may affect the arrangements. If you don't make the agreed repayments, we might have to go to court to get any money you owe us or to repossess your property.
- Keep us up to date with any changes to your circumstances, including if you move to a new address.
- Check whether you can get any state benefits or tax credits which could help to increase your income.
- If you have a mortgage payment insurance policy, check if it can help with your payments.
- If it is unlikely that your situation will improve in the future you may need to think about selling your home.
You may want to talk to a professional adviser, such as a field agent or a solicitor, before you change your mortgage arrangements. We would strongly advise that you seek independent debt advice.
Cost and charges
If you are in arrears, we may charge you for any administration or legal costs which we incur. You will be informed about all charges which we may make. These will be charged to your mortgage account. Details of these charges are found on our Tariff of mortgage charges (120 KB)
What happens if we can't agree a solution?
- We may send a field agent to see you and discuss your financial circumstances. The cost of the visits will 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 legal 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 very much a last resort.
What happens if we repossess your home?
- If we do have to 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.
- We will sell it for the best price we can reasonably get. We will try and sell it as quickly as possible.
- We will give you reasonable time to take your possessions from your home.
- We will use the money raised from selling your home to pay your mortgage and any other loans or charges.
- If there is any money left over, we will pay it to you.
What happens if selling your home does not raise enough money to pay off your mortgage?
- If there is still not enough money from the sale to repay the whole of your mortgage, you will 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.
- Everyone named on the mortgage is responsible for all the money borrowed. This is true even if you normally only pay part of the mortgage.
- We will contact you to arrange for you to pay back what you still owe. We have 6 years to do this (5 years in Scotland).
- 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. 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.
What happens if you hand your keys over to us?
Even if you decide to hand your keys back to us, 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 discuss this option with us before taking such action.
Other issues & complaints
Some companies may offer you new loans or even invite you to sell your property to them and then lease it back as a way of resolving your short-term financial difficulty. Please be careful, as such actions may not be in your best interests in the long term. We would advise that you seek independent advice before entering into any arrangement of this type.
Making a complaint
If you have concerns about how we have dealt with your case please use our complaints procedure to make us aware of any problems. We'll do our best to address things quickly and fairly.
Our complaints procedure meets the requirements of both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).