Missed mortgage payments: a guide

Let’s take a look at your options if you’ve missed mortgage payments – or you’re worried about doing so in the future. 

Let’s take a look at your options if you’ve missed mortgage payments – or you’re worried about doing so in the future. 

Daniel Evans
Head of Mortgages
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Posted 2 JANUARY 2020

What happens if I miss a mortgage payment?

If you miss a mortgage payment, then your mortgage is considered to be ‘in arrears’. If this happens, it’s important to talk to your lender as soon as possible. See if they’ll offer you a payment holiday, so you can delay your repayments for an agreed period while you get your finances back on track.

Your mortgage is secured on your home and, if you fail to repay that loan, the lender has the right to take your home through a legal process called repossession. Most lenders would prefer you to repay your mortgage each month. Taking you to court and repossessing your home would be a last resort.

Can I get help from the government to pay my mortgage?

Some homeowners can get support from the government through its Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) programme. The government offers loans – paid directly to the lender – to help you pay the interest on your mortgage. To be eligible, you’ll need to be getting one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit.

There are a number of different conditions and exclusions, so check on the government’s website. Be aware that you’ll need to repay this loan, with interest, when you come to sell your home.

In Scotland, and some Welsh councils, you may be able to find extra help through the Mortgage Rescue Scheme. Check with the relevant government website – in Scotland or Wales – for more details.

Where else can I get help with my finances?

If you have mortgage protection insurance, you could meet the cost of your mortgage each month if you lose your job or fall ill and can no longer earn a living. Many policies pay out for a maximum of one year only. If you don’t have this type of cover, check with your lender to see what other support they provide.

Some charities offer free help with debt issues, including the National Debtline and StepChange Debt Charity. Citizens Advice offer help in-person or over the phone; call 03444 111 444 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).

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