If your mortgage is not paid, the money owed
is called ‘mortgage arrears'. Mortgage arrears are 'priority
debts', which means the consequences of not dealing with them are
serious - there is a risk of losing your home.
How to get back on track
- Make a list of all your debts and identify the most
important that you need to tackle first, such
as your mortgage, gas, water and electricity charges.
- Write down all your income and expenses and work out a personal
household budget to help you decide how much you can afford to pay
to each of the people you owe money to
- Consider seeking advice from a debt advice agency such as the
- Most importantly, talk to your mortgage company – try to reach
an agreement about paying off the arrears but do not agree to pay
more than you can afford.
Basic rules when faced with arrears
- Always contact your creditors (the people you owe the money
to) and let them know that you are having difficulties. They
may agree for you to pay a reduced amount.
- Do not ignore letters and telephone calls from your creditors.
The problem will not go away - it will get worse the longer you
- Do not borrow more money to pay off your debts without first
thinking very carefully about it. Borrowing more money may only get
you further into debt and if you take out a loan from a loan or
finance company, you may be charged very high rates of interest,
storing up further trouble for the future.
- Decide which of your debts are the most important and make sure
that you tackle these priority debts first. Priority debts are
usually those which can mean losing your home, having your gas,
water or electricity disconnected, or going to prison. Once you
have made offers to repay your priority debts, if you have any
money, left over you can allocate this to repay
any other remaining debts.
- Always reply to letters from the court and try to attend all
court hearings so that you can give your version of events and make
sure that the court is fully aware of your financial