How to deal with mortgage arrears

Reduce your outgoings

You may be able to pay less each month towards your mortgage and household 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.

Your payments usually go up after the payment break ends. This is because any money you did not pay during the break is added to the amount you owe.

You should speak to your lender and seek independent financial advice to check if you can get a payment break.

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

Mortgage payment breaks may show on your credit report.

StepChange has more on payment holidays.

Other options to reduce mortgage costs

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

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

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

Lower payments to other creditors

Get advice to deal with other debts. For example:

  • bank loans and credit cards

  • payday loans

  • insurance products

  • car finance and hire purchase

  • store cards and catalogues

The breathing space scheme could pause eviction, repossession or debt recovery while you get free debt advice.

Speak to your energy supplier

Ask for support if you're struggling with your gas and electricity bills. Your supplier can:

  • delay your bill

  • remove late payment charges

  • allow you to pay over a longer period

Find out about grants and schemes that help with energy bills.

Switching energy supplier is unlikely to save you money because of high energy prices. You can check if there are better deals using the energy comparison tool from Citizens Advice.

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

Get help with water bills or switch to a meter

You can get help if you struggle to pay your water bills.

You could also save money with a water meter if you have a larger home with spare bedrooms. But it might cost more if you have a large family or live in a smaller home. 

You can usually try a water meter with the option of changing back within the first year if it's more expensive.

Pay less council tax

You council tax bill could go down because of a:

  • reduction if you're on benefits or a low income

  • discount based on your situation, for example if you live alone

A council tax reduction is often called council tax support.

Find out if you can pay less council tax.

Shop around for internet, phone and TV deals

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 broadband, phone and TV provider from Citizens Advice.

You could get cheaper broadband and phone tariffs if you get benefits like universal credit or pension credit. These deals do not always appear on comparison websites.

Other money help

You could get emergency grants, loans and money help for things like food and other essentials if your situation is urgent.

Last updated: 28 April 2022

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