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Financial Difficulty

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YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.

Taking out a mortgage is likely to be the biggest financial commitment of your life and you might find that you need some help and guidance along the way.  You may experience changes in your circumstances such as long-term sickness, a relationship breakdown or unemployment which may affect your ability to pay your mortgage or make payments into an investment designed to repay your loan.

If your circumstances do mean that you are experiencing difficulties with your mortgage or you think you may do in the future - it is essential that you get in touch with us as soon as possible.  The sooner we are aware of the situation, the sooner we can work together to reach a solution. Our aim is to take a practical and sympathetic approach to mortgage arrears and to take into account each individual’s circumstances when finding the right solution.  

We are available Monday – Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm and on Saturdays 9.00am – 12.00pm.

Below are the steps which will help you with your financial difficulties.

We will:

  • Try to contact you as soon as possible to discuss your problem.
  • Talk to an agency which gives debt advice (for example, Citizens' Advice), if you want us to.
  • Give you reasonable time to pay back the debt and give you time to consider any changes we discuss.
  • Only start proceedings to repossess your home if we cannot solve the problem with you.
  • Arrange a new payment plan with you, taking into account your personal circumstances.
  • Change the way you make your payments, or the date you make them.
  • Allow you to pay back your mortgage over a longer period of time (which would reduce your monthly payments).
  • Change the type of mortgage e.g. from repayment to interest only.

We might be able to:

If we cannot offer you any of these options, we will tell you why. If we can make one of these arrangements with you, we will explain how it would work and give you time to consider it. If we cannot offer any of these options, we might agree to you remaining in the property to sell the property yourself depending on your circumstances.

What you can do to help us

  • Tell us as soon as possible if you are having problems paying your mortgage or think that you might experience problems in the near future.
  • Read the Money Advice Service Guide online www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk  - we can send you a printed copy of this guide.
  • Seek debt advice if you would like help with managing your finances.
  • Contact us quickly, if we try to contact you.
  • Make sure you keep any other people paying the mortgage, and anyone guaranteeing the mortgage, up to date with what is happening.
  • Keep to the payment plan we agree with you, or tell us if there is a change in your circumstances which may affect the arrangement. If you do not make the agreed payments, we might have to go to court to get back any money you owe us, or to repossess your property.
  • Check whether you can get any state benefits or tax credits which could help to increase your income.
  • If you have a mortgage payment insurance policy, check whether it would help with your payments.
  • Keep us up to date with any changes in your circumstances for example if you move to a new address.

You may want to talk to a professional adviser, such as a debt counsellor or a lawyer, before you change your mortgage arrangements. We would strongly advise that you seek independent, free, debt advice. Details of relevant agencies can be found below.

If you are in arrears, we may charge you for reasonable administrative and legal costs. We will tell you the amount you will have to pay.

If we cannot agree on a solution.

  • We may with your agreement make an appointment with a debt counsellor to see you to discuss your financial circumstances, and the cost of the visit may be charged to your mortgage account.
  • We may go to court to start proceedings to repossess your home. If proceedings take place, we strongly recommend that you attend the court and that you seek independent debt advice.
  • Starting court proceedings does not necessarily mean that we will repossess your home. We will keep trying to solve the problem with you. Possession is a last resort.
  • Before we repossess your home, we will give you advice about getting in touch with your local authority to see if they can find you somewhere else to live.
  • We will sell it for the best price we can reasonably get. We will try to sell it as soon as possible.
  • We will give you reasonable time to take your possessions from your home.
  • We will use the money raised from selling your home to pay your mortgage and any other loans or charges.
  • If there is any money left over, we will pay it to you.

If we repossess your home

If selling your home does not raise enough money to pay off the mortgage

  • If there is not enough money from the sale to pay the whole mortgage, you will still owe us the amount that is left (a shortfall debt). We will tell you what this is as soon as possible.
  • If you bought your home with other borrowers, each of you is responsible for all the money borrowed. This is true even if you normally only pay part of the mortgage.
  • We will contact you within six years of selling your property to arrange for you to pay back what you still owe.
  • We will take account of your income and outgoings when we arrange a payment plan for this shortfall debt with you. But if we cannot arrange a suitable plan, we may go to court to get our money back. You might have to pay additional court costs.
  • If a shortfall debt is not paid, it could affect whether you are able to get credit in future.

Complaints

If you do not think we have treated you fairly, you can complain to the Complaints Officer by following our complaints procedure.
If your complaint is not dealt with to your satisfaction, you may then take it to the Financial Ombudsman. The Financial Ombudsman Service provides a free and independent service for consumers, and can be contacted at: 

The Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
London E14 9SR
Phone: 0800 023 4 567

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/

Other issues to consider

Some companies may offer you new loans or even invite you to sell your property to them and then lease it back as a way of resolving your short term financial difficulty. Please be careful, as such actions may not be in your long term best interests. We would advise you to seek independent advice before entering into any arrangement of this type.

What happens if you hand your keys back to us 

If you do hand your keys back to us you will still be responsible for paying the mortgage until the property is sold, and we would advise you to discuss this option with us before taking such action.

You may also find some of these websites helpful:

Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)  http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Money Advice Service (MAS)  https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en

National Homelessness Advice Service         (NHAS) http://www.nhas.org.uk/

Credit Bureaux http://www.experian.co.uk/  and http://www.equifax.co.uk/

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) https://www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest/

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.