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Mortgage help

If you’re worried about making your mortgage payments each month or have already fallen behind, it’s important to get advice straight away. A mortgage is seen as a priority debt, so there can be serious consequences if you can’t pay it. You could even lose your home.

There are ways you can get help with your mortgage – this page explains your main options as a single parent.

Talk to your lender

If you’re worried about falling behind with your payments, the first thing to do is to contact your mortgage lender. They’ll want to help you stay on top of your payments. 

They might:

  • Let you take a break from your monthly payments or accept reduced payments for a short time
  • Let you change to an interest-only mortgage, either temporarily or permanently – this is where you only pay off the interest on your loan
  • Make the term of your mortgage longer so that you have to pay less each month – for example, change from 20 to 25 years

Check whether you have insurance

Check to see if you have mortgage payment protection insurance – you might have taken this out when you got your mortgage. If you’ve lost your job or can’t work because of an illness or accident, this could cover your mortgage payments.  You’ll need to check the policy carefully, as there will be lots of circumstances it won’t cover. 

Use free money advice

If you haven’t already, look carefully at your spending to see if you can cut costs elsewhere and check whether you can claim any benefits to boost your income. Organisations like MoneyHelper, Citizens Advice and StepChange can help you to look at your budget, work out your options and negotiate with your mortgage lender. Our page on dealing with debt also has advice, including how to apply for 60 days of ‘breathing space’ where your creditors can’t take action against you.

Get help with your mortgage interest

If you’re claiming certain benefits, including Universal Credit, you may be able to get a loan from the government to help pay your mortgage interest. Find out more about Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) from gov.uk. 

This video explains how Support for Mortgage Interest works, who can get it and how to apply.

Think about selling your home

No one wants to lose their home. But if you can’t afford to pay your mortgage and are worried that your home might be repossessed, your lender might be able to help you sell your home through what’s called an assisted voluntary sales scheme. 

This will allow you to sell your home yourself instead of it being repossessed. So it’s usually less disruptive to you and your children, and you might also get a better price for the sale. It can also help you avoid court action.

Shelter has more guidance on selling your home to avoid it being repossessed. And the National Homelessness Advice Service has a guide on assisted voluntary sales schemes.

Useful links

What to do if you’re struggling to pay the mortgage (MoneyHelper)

Advice if you fall behind with your mortgage payments (Shelter)

How to sort out your mortgage problems (Citizens Advice)

Date last updated: 18 May 2023

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