Preventing court action

If you are in arrears with your mortgage, your lender can take action in the county court to evict you from your property. But, if you act quickly, it may be possible to avoid going to court.

If you are threatened with eviction, get help as soon as you can. You might be able to get some breathing space to help you sort out your money problems with an adviser whilst court action is put on hold.

I have missed a mortgage payment – what can I do?

Most lenders will only repossess your home as a last resort. They usually prefer to sort out your payment problems in other ways. The sooner you contact your lender about any problems the better your chances of keeping your home.

If you have missed a payment on your mortgage try and write a letter or send an email to your lender as soon as possible.

Your letter or email should:

  • explain why you’re in arrears
  • say that you’re making every effort to clear the arrears
  • say that you’ll write to them again soon with a proposal for dealing with the arrears.

This will give you time to speak to an adviser and get help.

New mortgage charter to help if you are struggling to pay your mortgage

A number of lenders have signed a new mortgage charter to help homeowners struggling with their loan repayments.

The charter allows the option to lower monthly bills by switching to interest-only payments for six months, or extending a mortgage term.

If you are up-to-date with your mortgage payments but will struggle to meet future payments, you can take respite by:

  • Switching to interest-only payments for six months, or
  • Extending the mortgage term to reduce your monthly payments, with the option to switch back within six months.

New affordability checks will not be required before you can make a switch, and credit ratings will be not impacted. However, if you continue to take the relief after the six-month period, your credit file could then be impacted.

Remortgaging support

From 10 July, if you are coming to the end of your fixed-rate deal, you will be able to book a new rate with your existing lender.

This can be agreed six months in advance of your existing deal expiring.

Once booked in, you will be able to request a better deal from the lender up to two weeks before the new term starts.

Repossession rules eased

If you fall into arrears you will not have your home repossessed without consent, (unless in exceptional circumstances) for at least 12 months from the date of your first missed payment.

Lenders usually tend to start the repossession process after three months, but those which have signed the charter have agreed to push this back to a year.

How will my future repayments be impacted?

Making changes, even temporary ones, will very likely result in higher monthly payments in the future or paying back more overall.

For example, switching to interest-only for six months will mean your mortgage will take longer to pay off, as you wont be increasing the equity you own during this time and only paying off the interest. The capital amount you owe will not budge.

You can find out if your mortgage lender has signed the charter here

If your lender has not signed the charter and you are struggling to meet your mortgage payments. contact your lender as soon as possible to check what other support that they have to offer.

Help to Stay scheme

If you are having or facing difficulty making mortgage payments, the Help to Stay scheme might be able to provide financial assistance to help you keep your home. Support is provided in the form of an equity loan over a 15 year term, and you won’t need to pay anything towards the loan for the first 5 years.

To find out more about the scheme and how to apply, click here.

Breathing Space scheme
If you are in mortgage arrears you may eligible for the Breathing Space scheme. This gives you time to get some specialist debt advice without the pressure of formal action being taken against you.

To find out more about the scheme and how to apply, click here.

A specialist debt adviser may be able to help you consider your options and come up with a proposal to give to your lender.

Try to make payments towards your mortgage in the meantime. It’s better to pay something rather than nothing, even if you can’t pay the full instalment.

For lots more information, see our page on how to deal with mortgage arrears.

I’ve received a letter from my lender

If your lender or it’s solicitor contacts you about your arrears, don’t ignore their letters or phone calls. If you don’t respond, your lender is much more likely to take you to court.

Your lender will normally ask you to:

  • confirm how you intend to catch up on the missed payments, or
  • contact them to discuss your financial situation.

If your lender isn’t satisfied with your proposals, or your arrears increase, they will probably write to you again. The second letter will usually tell you that solicitors will get involved unless you can clear your arrears or contact your lender to discuss your situation within seven days.

Breathing Space scheme
Even if you have received a letter from your lender or their solicitor you may still be eligible for the Breathing Space scheme. This gives you time to get some specialist debt advice without the pressure of formal action being taken against you.

To find out more about the scheme and how to apply, click here.

What if the case goes to court?

If you have not been able to stop your lender from starting court action, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose your home. It’s always worth trying to negotiate or reach a solution before the hearing. If this isn’t possible, it’s important you go to the court hearing so that you can explain your situation to the court.  At the hearing, the court will listen to both sides and decide what should happen to your home.

Always try to get help as early as you can. Take a look at our pages on Going to court for lots more advice about what to expect at court and what you can do to avoid losing your home.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: November 30, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.