5 steps to take if you find yourself falling behind on your home mortgage
Brought to you by Abhaile.
Nobody expects to find themselves in this position.
There’s nothing like the sense of elation you feel when you pick up the keys to your new house for the first time. However, things can quickly change in a few short years.
It’s easy to fall behind on your mortgage payments if you're unfortunate enough to lose your job or suffer health problems. And it can happen to anyone.
Almost 74,000 home mortgages were in arrears after the first six months of 2017, with over 32,000 of those in arrears for over 720 days. That’s a lot of people who found themselves in a position that they never expected to be in.
If you find yourself falling behind on your mortgage payments, here are some simple tips that can help you get back in control of what's happening.
1. Don’t ignore the issue
It can be tempting to stick your head in the sand, but this never helps. The key is to address the problem head-on but what if you don't know how to do that? Abhaile is a free mortgage arrears support service that will work with you to find a solution that allows you to stay in your own home, where this is feasible.
Knowing your options can help you to decide what to do next. Abhaile can advise you on your rights, what to expect from your lender and the best course of action to take.
2. Don’t assume it’s too late
This whole process can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel like you’re going under when legal letters start arriving. However, you have more time than you imagine.
Many of the people who contact the Abhaile service have already had a repossession order granted by the court. Even at that point, there’s still the possibility of finding a solution and working it through with a lender. It’s never too late to engage.
3. Talk to your lender
Don't assume that your lender is determined to repossess your house. It’s worth remembering that this can be a long and expensive process for them. If you can offer them a viable alternative, losing your home is not a foregone conclusion.
That’s where the Abhaile service can be invaluable. They understand how different lenders work and can provide you with the information you need to come to an arrangement that suits both parties.
4. Don’t panic if it gets to the court stage
It’s easy to think that everything is lost once you get a court summons. It’s normal to feel out of your depth when things get to the legal stage but don’t hit the panic button. If you can demonstrate that you’re engaged with the process and trying to find a resolution, it’s possible to get an adjournment.
Obviously, money is tight if you’re having problems paying your mortgage. That can make it difficult to get the legal support you need. However, Abhaile can also provide legal help and support from a duty solicitor, a consultation solicitor or a court mentor. That can be an invaluable aid for people in trouble who are unfamiliar with the legal system.
5. Consider the debt relief options that are available
Ideally, it’s great if you can come to an arrangement with your lender. Alternatively, a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) could be the best option if you can’t afford to pay your debts. This type of solution is designed for people who are insolvent but who can afford to make some repayments after they’ve covered their household expenses.
This is a court-approved formal agreement between you and your creditors that will write off some of your unsecured debt and restructure any remaining secured debt. Court repossession proceedings could even be postponed for up to two months, under the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013, to let you work with a PIP and look into getting a PIA. The aim of a PIA is to keep you in your home where this is possible.
If you are in mortgage arrears or fear that you could lose your home, you may be eligible for free face-to-face financial or legal advice from Abhaile. For more information, click here or call the MABS dedicated helpline on 0761 07 2000.
Brought to you by Abhaile.