Facing financial difficulty
Please don't ignore the problem.
If you're having trouble paying your mortgage, there are a variety of options available that may ease your situation and ultimately help to resolve the issue. This section explains the things that you should consider and the actions that we'll take to help you.
First and foremost - don’t ignore the problem. Call us on 0800 028 4347 as soon as possible if you are having problems paying your mortgage or think that you may experience difficulty doing so in the near future.
Steps you should take to help:
- If you're struggling with your financial commitments, you should pay all your essential bills first, such as your mortgage, utility bills (electricity, gas, water), insurances, council tax and housekeeping. You should ensure that you pay these essential bills before making any payments towards credit cards or loans.
- Check whether you can get any state benefits or tax credits which could help to increase your income.
- If you've an insurance policy, such as income protection insurance, check whether this could help with your payments.
- Seek debt advice, such as from Citizens Advice if you would like help with managing your finances.
- Make sure you keep all joint mortgage holders, and anyone acting as a guarantor on the mortgage, up to date with what is happening.
- Get back to us quickly if we try to contact you to discuss your mortgage.
If you have fallen behind with your payments - we will do the following.
- Attempt to contact you as soon as possible to discuss your circumstances.
- Give you a reasonable period of time to pay back the debt.
- Talk to an agency which gives debt advice, for example Citizens Advice, if you'd like us to.
- Offer to send an external field agent to see you to discuss your financial circumstances.
- Attempt to arrange a new payment plan with you, taking both your interests and our responsibilities as the lender into account. If a plan is agreed, it is important that you keep to it – or you tell us if there is a change in your circumstances that may affect the arrangement.
- Offer to change the method by which you make your payments or the date on which you make them.
- See whether we can allow you to pay back your mortgage over a longer period of time to reduce your monthly payments.
- See if a change to the type of mortgage you have is available to you and whether this will reduce your monthly repayments.
If we can't offer you any of the options above, we'll tell you why. If we're able to offer one or more of them, we'll explain how each option would work and give you time to consider it.
You may wish to talk to a professional adviser, such as an external field agent or a lawyer, before you change your mortgage arrangements. We'd strongly advise that you seek independent, free, debt advice.
Costs and charges
If your mortgage goes into arrears, we may charge you for reasonable administration and, more importantly, legal costs. We'll tell you the amount you'll have to pay.
If we can't agree on a solution with you to clear your arrears, we may go to court to start proceedings to repossess your home. If proceedings take place, it's strongly recommended that you attend the court and that you seek independent debt advice.
The commencement of court proceedings doesn't necessarily mean that we'll repossess your home. We'll keep trying to solve the problem with you. Repossession is a last resort.
If your home is repossessed, we'll give you advice about getting in touch with your local authority to see if they can find you somewhere else to live.
If your home is repossessed
- We'll sell it for the best price we can reasonably achieve.
- We'll try to sell it as soon as possible.
- We'll give you reasonable time to take your possessions from your home.
- We'll use the money raised from selling your home to pay all loans and charges secured by your mortgage.
- If there's any money left over, we'll pay it to you.
- If there's not enough money from the sale to pay off the entire mortgage, you'll still owe us the amount that is left over (a shortfall debt). We'll tell you what this is as soon as possible.
- If you bought your home with other borrowers, each of you will be responsible for all the money borrowed. This is true even if you normally only pay part of the mortgage.
- We'll take account of your income and outgoings when trying to arrange a suitable payment plan for this shortfall debt with you.
- If we can't arrange a plan, we may go to court to recover the money, and you might have to pay additional court costs.
- If a shortfall debt is not paid, it could affect whether you're able to get credit in future.
If you think that we've not treated you fairly in dealing with any arrears on your mortgage, first please talk to us and let us know what the problem is. The chances are that your complaint can be quickly resolved by the manager of the area you are dealing with - so please contact them first.
If, after going through the complaints process, you’re still unhappy, you can then refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (The Financial Ombudsman Service is only available once you've received the final letter of response from us, or if you've not received a final response after 8 weeks). The Financial Ombudsman Service provides a free and independent service for consumers, and can be contacted at:
The Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
Phone: 0845 080 1800
Some companies may offer you new loans or even invite you to sell your property to them and then lease it back as a way of resolving your short-term financial difficulty. Please be careful, as such actions may not be in your long-term best interests. We advise you to seek independent advice before entering into any arrangement of this type.
You may be thinking about handing your keys over to us. If you do this, you'll still owe Intelligent Finance any outstanding debt, and we advise you to discuss this option with us first before taking such action.
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