If you have mortgage arrears or are facing repossession, check if you can get help with mortgage interest payments and access to legal advice.
Help with mortgage interest payments
You may be able to claim support for mortgage interest to help pay the interest on your mortgage or on loans taken out to pay for repairs or improvements.
Eligible homeowners can get help to pay the interest on the first £200,000 of their loan.
To qualify, you must be eligible for one of these benefits:
- income support
- income related jobseeker's allowance
- employment and support allowance
- pension credit
Support for mortgage interest payments starts 13 weeks after you make your claim for benefits.
Help from lenders to prevent repossession
If you fall into mortgage arrears, your mortgage lender must follow the steps set out in the pre-action protocol for mortgage arrears. Your lender should only repossess your home as a last resort.
Your lender must:
- provide you with information about the total amount of mortgage arrears, the outstanding balance and details of any interest or charges
- take steps to discuss the reason you're in arrears, whether the situation is temporary or long term and what your financial situation is
- recommend that you to contact your local council for advice
- consider reasonable requests to change the regular date of payment or method of payment
Your lender should discuss any proposals you make about dealing with arrears and give you reasons in writing within 10 days if your proposals are not accepted.
Your lender should allow you reasonable time to consider any proposal it makes to you.
If you don't keep to any agreement you make, your lender should give you 15 working days' notice in writing that it intends to issue a claim for possession.
At a court hearing for repossession, the court must consider whether the lender has taken these steps.
Legal aid if you are facing repossession
If you have a low income, you may qualify for legal aid to help with the costs of a lawyer to advise you and represent you in court. This is available for people facing repossession.
Even if you don't qualify for legal aid, you may be able to get free legal advice from a specialist advice centre or law centre.
Legal help through the Court Desk scheme
Court desk schemes or duty advice desks provide homeowners facing repossession with free legal advice and representation at court before a hearing.
There are duty advice schemes operating in over 200 county courts in England and Wales.
Use the Gov.uk Court Finder to find details of the county court where your case is being heard, and ask the court if the scheme is available there.
Government mortgage rescue scheme closure
The Mortgage Rescue Scheme closed to new applicants in England in March 2014.