How to deal with mortgage arrears

Work out priority and non priority debts

Your mortgage is your most important payment each month.

Prioritise your mortgage and arrears repayments over your other household costs and debts.

Priority debts 

Priority debts are the most important. Lenders and other creditors have stronger legal powers to collect money for priority debts.

Examples of priority debts include:

  • mortgage repayments 
  • loans secured on your home
  • gas and electricity debts
  • council tax
  • TV licence

There are more serious consequences to not paying priority debts. For example, you can lose your home if you don't pay your mortgage. 

Non priority debts 

Non priority debts include debts such as: 

  • credit card debts
  • payday loans
  • catalogues
  • water bills
  • unsecured bank loans

There are less serious consequences if you can't pay these debts. They still affect your credit rating and you could still face legal action if you don't deal with them. 

A non priority debt can become a priority if the company you owe money to gets a county court judgement and you don't pay. They might apply for a charging order which could put your home at risk.

Get help with debt problems

A debt adviser can help you sort your priority and non priority debts. 

They can also help you negotiate affordable repayment terms with your creditors.

Last updated 31 October 2019 | © Shelter

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