Arrears on second mortgages and secured loans

Coronavirus update

Evictions by bailiffs started again from 1 June 2021. Get legal help if you're facing mortgage repossession.

What is a second mortgage or secured loan?

A secured loan can be a second mortgage or any loan secured against the value of your home.

A secured loan is often called a second charge. The lender who gave you the mortgage to buy your home usually holds the first charge on the property. 

Secured loans are often taken out to pay for home improvements and sometimes to consolidate other debts.

The interest rate may be lower than an unsecured loan such as a personal loan.

A second charge lender can take steps to repossess your home if you miss repayments on a secured loan

What to do if you have arrears

You need to:

  • look at your income and outgoings

  • prioritise your debts

  • draw up a financial statement

  • agree a repayment plan with your lender 

What your lender must do before court action 

Repossession of your home should always be a last resort.

Your lender must contact you and explore alternatives to repossession if you fall into arrears on your secured loan. 

What happens if your lender takes court action

It's very important to attend the repossession hearing. 

The court can help you stay in your home if it's affordable and you have a realistic plan to repay any arrears over time.

Find out what you should do if your lender starts court action

What if your home is repossessed

You could be evicted by bailiffs if the court makes:

  • an outright possession order and the date for possession has passed

  • a suspended possession order and you break the terms of the order

If you're unable to prevent the eviction, the bailiffs will give the keys to your lender.  

The lender will then take steps to sell the property, usually through an estate agent.

Your first mortgage lender takes priority when the home is sold. The second lender is paid from what is left once the first charge mortgage is paid off.

If there's not enough equity in the property to pay off all the mortgages and secured loan, it's called a mortgage shortfall.  


Last updated: 29 March 2021

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