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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Homeowner

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Getting into difficulties with your mortgage payments is often easier than you think, so the sooner you tackle your financial problems, the better the result may be for you.

You need to understand your debts in order to deal with them properly. You need to prioritise your debts, figure out what you owe and to whom and work out how much you can afford to pay towards these debts. This means you'll need a good understanding of your financial situation and setting yourself a household budget.

When your home is repossessed it is usually sold to pay off your debts. This will also happen if you hand over the keys to your home voluntarily. The money you get may not be enough to cover everything you owe.

If the Chancery Master grants your lender possession, the lender has to apply to the Enforcement of Judgments Office to enforce the court's decision. Even at this late stage, you may be able to avoid having to leave your home if you can come up with a realistic proposal of repaying the money owed.

If you’re struggling to meet your mortgage payments, you may also be tempted to consider selling your home and renting it back through a mortgage rescue scheme.

Taking action to repossess a property involves a number of stages, which can take a few weeks or months. You may be able to stop the process at any stage, so get advice immediately and keep negotiating with your lender.

If you already have a mortgage, you may want to switch to a different mortgage or a different lender to get a better deal. This may save you money, and it may be possible to arrange temporary or long term changes. You should check your mortgage agreement to see whether you would have to pay redemption fees.

You will normally only be able to stop the repossession if you can pay the arrears off in a lump sum or in acceptable instalments. However, there are a few legal defences that could help your case.

You should only give back the keys to your property if you're absolutely sure that there's no way you can keep your home. Make sure you speak to an adviser at our Mortgage Debt Advice Service before you take this drastic step.

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