Make paying your mortgage the most important thing this Christmas as not doing so could lead to you losing your home, warns South Kesteven District Council.
If you’re struggling with your mortgage repayments and can’t get back on track – or are worried about losing your home, the temptation may be to ignore the problem especially during the winter holidays.
Here is what you can do and where you can find help.
Step 1 – Contact your lender
Step 2 – Check if you have insurance cover
Step 3 – Take action to cut your costs
Step 4 – Speak to a free debt counselling service
Step 5 – Check if you can get help with your mortgage payments
Worried about being repossessed?
If you’re worried that you may lose your home as a result of lapsed repayments, charities can provide support and advice, and there is plenty of help elsewhere too. SKDC can also offer support and advice by calling the Housing Solutions Team on 01476 40 60 80.
Selling your home as a last resort?
If you know that your situation won’t change in the long term, think about selling your home yourself and renting or moving to a cheaper property.
If considering this option, ask your lender if you can stay in your property until you sell it and check if it offers help through an Assisted Voluntary Sale scheme. But make sure you have a place to live before you move out. If you keep your lender up to date and do everything you can to sell it, they should give you good time to sell.
Here are key things to avoid if you’re struggling to pay your mortgage:
○ Taking out an additional loan to pay your debts. These loans can be very expensive and are often secured on your home, so putting it at greater risk. Mortgage offers that promise to help you avoid repossession may also put you at greater risk.
○ Handing back the keys. You’ll still be responsible for the mortgage repayments before your home is sold, and possibly the outstanding balance if the money raised by selling your home isn’t enough to pay off what you owe.
○ Selling your home without having a place to live. Your local council may not help you find a place to live if they think you’ve made yourself intentionally homeless.
○ Sale-and-rent-back schemes. This is where you sell your home to a company and rent it back from them. The Financial Conduct Authority has stopped several of these schemes from operation because they treated customers unfairly. Avoid these schemes if at all possible, or, if tempted, talk to a debt counselling service first.
If you are having problems paying your rent or mortgage and need help or advice, contact the Housing Solutions Team on 01476 40 60 80 or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Advice is also available online at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/homes-and-mortgages