Debt can often seem overwhelming. It’s vital you take action as soon as you know you are struggling to maintain your payments.
- Speak to everyone involved in paying the mortgage and any mortgage guarantors; it’s important that everyone understands what is happening
- Write down the household income and spending, splitting all outgoing costs into essential and non-essential items; can you make any quick changes that could save you money?
- Get free independent financial advice; don’t struggle alone when you can speak to someone who wants to help you. Advice is available online, over the phone or face to face
- Check whether you’re eligible for any benefits and claim what you’re entitled to
- Call any insurance providers to understand what help is covered by your policy
- And most importantly; talk to us, we want to help you
Think about your finances as a whole; do you have several debts you are trying to manage, does it feel unmanageable? It’s important you prioritise your debts in order of the consequences of non-payment.
Priority debts are those that have the most serious consequences if you continuously miss payment; they aren’t always the largest debts or those with the highest interest rate, but could lead to imprisonment, the loss of essential services for living or your home. These could include, in no particular order:
- Mortgage payments and any loans secured against your home
- Rent and council tax
- Child support and maintenance payments
- Gas and electricity bills
- TV licence payments
- Certain payments ordered by the courts
Non-priority debts are those where the outcome of failing to pay is often less serious. For example you cannot be imprisoned and you won’t lose your home, but your creditor may eventually take you to court. These could include, in no particular order:
- Personal loans
- Credit cards, store cards or payday loans
- Any unsecured loans
- Money borrowed from family or friends
If trying to make sense of your financial situation feels overwhelming or you need more support, speak to someone. You are not alone; a debt adviser at an organisation that offers free independent financial advice speaks to people in similar situations every day.
Don’t ignore your situation; it’s never too late to seek advice and try and to get your finances back on track. If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage and your payment arrears feel out of control, it’s important you talk to us.
We always consider repossession to be the last resort and will work with you to understand your circumstances and try to come to a mutually agreeable payment arrangement. However, if you are in serious mortgage arrears we may need to apply to the court for a possession order. This means we would be able to sell your property to recover the debt secured against the property.
A possession claim explained…
- After a claim has been issued, the county court will write to you with a hearing date; check if you can get legal aid to help with any legal costs
- The court will provide a court pack which will included why we are taking you to court and a defence form for you to complete; it is important that you complete the defence form and return it to the court
- Get independent advice as soon as possible; an advisor may be able to help you prepare for the hearing and even attend with you
- The hearing will take place at the county court; it is in your best interest to attend. Many Courts will have a solicitor on duty or a Citizens Advice representative who may be available to give advice
- At the hearing, the Judge reads and hears the evidence from you and us before making a decision; this gives you the change to explain your personal circumstances and any proposals you have to make payments towards reducing your arrears.
- The Judge may grant a Suspended Possession Order if they believe any proposals you make at the hearing are reasonable
- If no payment arrangement has been agreed, we will likely request a Possession Order
- Once a Possession Order is granted the judge sets a date for you to leave the property. This is usually in 28 days but the judge could allow you up to 56 days. Once this date passes we must apply to the Court for a bailiff’s appointment.
- The bailiff will write to tell you when the eviction is going to take place; you should make sure that you have removed all of your personal possessions from the property before this date.