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Advice for homeowners

If you are under threat of losing your home because of mortgage problems, the Housing Options team offers advice and support to work with your lender to agree a practical way out of the problem and, if possible, keep you in your home.

Help for Homeowners

It is important that when people are facing financial difficulties that they contact their lender/landlord early, and/or seek help from our Housing Options Service. 

If you maintain good communication and are committed to paying what you can, we are able to use the following resources to prevent homelessness:

What Help We can Offer

  • Advice on the hardship tools you can ask your lender to consider,
  • Assess your financial circumstances and look at reducing debts and increasing your income,  
  • Put together a payment plan for clearing your arrears,
  • Consider what financial help we can offer by way of a loan to clear low level arrears,
  • Give advice on other housing options that may be available if you cannot afford to stay in your home.
  • Check your eligibility for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) and help you to apply,

NOTE: The SMI waiting period is 39 weeks and with effect from 2018, SMI will move from a state benefit to a state-backed repayable loan.

 

Financial Help

We can do a full financial assessment and offer budgeting and debt advice to see if you can afford your property in the long term, and help you make an offer to your lender.

We also have a loan scheme, EARLS, that offers interest free loans to clear low level arrears of up to £5,000.  Any loan is subject to a full financial assessment and you being able to continue to make your regular mortgage payments.

 

Mortgage Lender Hardship Tools

When your lender takes action to repossess a property, they must show the court that they have followed the Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims, and done all that is reasonably expected of them to prevent eviction and repossession (ie. repossession is the last resort), and that they have considered Mortgage Lender Hardship Tools such as:

  • interest only payments
  • lengthening the mortgage term
  • adding arrears to the outstanding debt
  • changing the method and date of payment

 

Help at Court

If you do get a date for a possession hearing, we always recommend that you attend court as this means you stand a better chance of being allowed to stay in your property.

Court Desk services are provided at the County Courts, and offer a duty solicitor or housing advisor who will represent you at the hearing and negotiate on your behalf. This is a free service.

Even if you cannot afford to stay in your property, you can ask the court to grant an extended period of time before you have to leave the property and hand it back to your lender.  This gives us longer to work with you to find alternative accommodation and avoid becoming homeless.  

 


Always Get Advice

Whatever you do - don't hand your keys back to your lender or sell it before getting some specialist advice.

Although these might seem like an easy solution, this will only be in the short term and you might actually be making your situation worse.  

There is no such thing as handing the keys back and walking away without any financial obligations.  You may also find yourself without somewhere to live and there is no guarantee that the Council will provide you with accommodation. 

For further information about mortgages and the help that is available please see the following :

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