Help for struggling homeowners

If you have mortgage arrears or are facing repossession, you might be able to get help with mortgage interest payments and legal advice.

Help with mortgage interest payments

You may be able to get help pay the interest on your mortgage or on loans taken out to pay for repairs or improvements by claiming:

  • support for mortgage interest
  • help with housing costs under universal credit

Eligible homeowners can get help to pay the interest on the first £200,000 of their loan. If you are also claiming pension credit you can only get help to pay the interest on the first £100,000 of your loan.

No payments will be made for the first 39 weeks after you make your claim. There is no waiting period for a payment if you are also claiming pension credit.

Find out more about support for mortgage interest and help with housing costs under universal credit.

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. If your proposals are not accepted, it must give you reasons in writing within 10 days.

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 should 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.

Normally, you must call the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345 or check online to see if you can get legal aid.

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.

You can also call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444.

Legal help through the Court Desk scheme

Court desk schemes or duty advice desks can provide homeowners facing repossession with free legal advice and representation at court before a hearing.

There are duty advice schemes operating in most county courts in England and Wales.

You can ask the court if a scheme will be available on the day of your court hearing. The court’s contact details will be on the papers they sent you.

 

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