How to deal with mortgage arrears

Reduce your outgoings

You may be able to pay less each month towards your mortgage or other bills.

Mortgage payment breaks

Mortgage payment breaks are also called payment holidays or payment deferrals.

You make no payments or reduced payments for an agreed period.

The missed payments are then added to the amount you owe for your mortgage. This usually means your payments go up after the payment break.

Mortgage payment breaks from 1 April 2021 may show on your credit report. They won't always be your best option.

Mortgage payment breaks that were offered under the FCA's coronavirus payment deferral guidance between March 2020 and March 2021 should not affect your credit rating.

Your lender should contact you before the end of the payment deferral period to check on your financial situation and discuss what happens next.

Other options to reduce mortgage costs

Check if you have insurance that will cover your mortgage payments. For example, mortgage payment protection insurance or through your current account.

Ask your lender about other ways they could help. For example, they could:

  • change your mortgage so you only pay the interest

  • extend your mortgage term so you pay less per month

Lower payments to other creditors

You may be able to get a payment holiday or other support for the following types of loan:

  • bank loans and credit cards

  • payday loans

  • insurance products

  • car finance and hire purchase

  • store cards and catalogues

Money Saving Expert has more information on what is offered by different lenders.

Payment breaks or changing how you repay a loan can cost more in the longer term.

Get debt advice to check it's your best option.

Speak to your energy supplier

Ofgem has advice on steps to take if your energy supplier goes out of business.

You can ask your supplier for support if you're struggling with your gas and electricity bills. They can:

  • delay your bill

  • remove late payment charges

  • allow you to pay over a longer period

No disconnections should take place during the outbreak. Ofgem has updates.

Switching supplier might also save you money. Use the energy comparison tool from Citizens Advice to search for cheaper deals on gas and electricity.

You might not be able to change suppliers if you owe money to your current supplier.

Consider a water meter

With a meter you pay for the water you use rather then paying water rates which are based on the size of your property.

Not everyone is better off with a meter. 

It could be cheaper if you have a larger home with spare bedrooms. It might cost more if you have a large family or live in a smaller home.     

You can usually try a water meter for up to 1 year. You have the option to change back within this time if it's more expensive.

Pay less council tax

There are 2 ways that you might be able to reduce your council tax bill:

  • a discount - based on your situation

  • council tax support - if your income is low enough


You can get a 25% discount on your bill if you're the only adult living in your home. 

You might qualify for a reduced council tax bill if a disabled person lives there. Your home must have extra rooms to meet the needs of that person or be adapted for wheelchair use.

Apply for a council tax discount on GOV.UK

Council tax support

This is sometimes called council tax reduction. The scheme is run by your local council. Rules vary but you can usually get a reduction on your bill if you're on a low income.  

Apply for council tax support on GOV.UK

Shop around for TV, phone and internet

Check price comparison sites for cheaper deals.

If you find one, contact your current provider before you switch. They might offer an even better deal to keep you as a customer.

Find out how to switch provider from Citizens Advice

Last updated: 1 October 2021

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help