You might think it will never happen to you, but it’s easy to get into mortgage arrears. Your situation might change suddenly or the unexpected happens.
If you experience a temporary setback or a long-term change in your circumstances, it doesn’t have to mean that you’re going to lose your home. There are supports available to offer advice and practical support – even if you’re facing the threat of repossession. The following steps should be followed if you are in mortgage arrears.
Don’t bury your head
It is crucial that you don’t panic and ignore the problem of your mortgage arrears. When letters from creditors or solicitors begin to arrive in the door, it’s a very natural response to bury your head in the sand in the hope that the problem will go away.
By engaging with your lender, you are showing that you are willing to find a solution to your mortgage arrears. If you don’t engage with your lender, they don’t know what your situation is and further down the road, they have no option left but to start proceedings to repossess the house.
Mortgage arrears can feel like isolating and lonely, but help is available. Get in contact with Abhaile, the State-funded mortgage arrears resolution service. Abhaile works to help homeowners find the best solutions to their home mortgage arrears and, where possible, to keep them in their own homes. The financial and legal services provided by Abhaile are free of charge to access. To qualify, you must meet all four of these conditions:
- Be in mortgage arrears on your home-this means you are behind on your mortgage payments or haven’t made the full contractual payments.
- Be insolvent. – this means that you are unable to pay your debts in full as they fall due.
- Be at risk of losing your home because of your home mortgage arrears.– this could be a letter from your lender to say you are deemed to be not co-operating, your mortgage is unsustainable, or your lender is beginning legal proceedings to repossess your home
- Be reasonably accommodated i.e. the costs of continuing to live in your home are not disproportionately expensive.
Don’t Ignore the Problem
If you receive a court summons from your lender, it is vital you attend, as this is evidence that you are actively engaging in the process. When you arrive at the court, make sure to look out for the Abhaile court-based services. These are the MABS Court Mentor and Duty Solicitor. They are present at all possession hearings to aid borrowers. They can explain what’s happening in the courtroom and advise on what to say to the County Registrar when called.
To date, Abhaile has offered support to over 20,000 households. The key message for those in arrears is that “it is never too late to seek advice”. No matter how bad the situation appears, a positive outcome is possible.
If you are in mortgage arrears and fear you are at risk of losing your home, you can contact your local office here, call the MABS Helpline on 0818 07 2000, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, or message us on WhatsApp 086 035 3141.
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