Housing options if you’re a homeowner
Date last updated: 8 August 2019
Housing information if you're a homeowner
If you’re a homeowner and struggling to pay your mortgage – or if you’re worried you could lose your home – support is available. Read on for more detailed information and a list of specialist organisations that can give you more advice.
If you’re falling behind with mortgage payments, get free money advice from one of the organisations listed in the ‘useful organisations’ section below as soon as possible. These organisations can help you to look at your budget, work out your options and negotiate with your mortgage lender. Make sure that you check whether you could be entitled to benefits, and if so whether you could claim assistance called ‘support for mortgage interest’.
For detailed information about how to deal with mortgage arrears see the National Homelessness Advisory Service (NHAS) factsheet ‘Are you worried about your mortgage?’
You may also wish to speak to your mortgage lender to see if they will accept reduced payments on a temporary basis, or allow you to change to an ‘interest only’ mortgage, either temporarily or permanently, to help you to manage your mortgage payments and stay in your home.
If you definitely cannot afford to pay your mortgage and are at risk of repossession a voluntary sales scheme may be a better option than waiting for the lender to repossess your home. Some mortgage lenders offer sales schemes for those who cannot afford mortgage payments on their home. The advantage of these schemes is they allow you to sell your home yourself; potentially achieving a better price than if it was repossessed by the mortgage company. They also help you avoid court action and allow you more control over your move.
Assisted voluntary sales schemes vary but will often:
- Allow you time to sell your home, without the mortgage company taking possession
- Agree to reduced monthly mortgage payments while your property is advertised and sold
- Reimburse any solicitor and/or estate agent fees
- Provide an asset manager to help progress the sale
- Provide a deposit or rent in advance for private rented accommodation.
- Some mortgage lenders do not have a formal scheme but may be open to individual requests for assistance if you’re committed to selling your home.
Giving up your home can be a hard decision. Get advice from one of the organisations listed in the ‘useful organisations’ section below before making a decision, and read the NHAS guide on using this type of scheme.
Help with mortgage interest
If you’re not working, or work less than 16 hours a week and are on a low income, you may be able to receive help towards your mortgage interest through income support, jobseekers allowance or employment and support allowance. This is a loan from the government called ‘support for mortgage interest’. You can find out more about this, including how to apply, on the gov.uk website, or by watching this video guide.
After making a benefit claim, there is a waiting period of 39 weeks before you can receive payments. The amount you receive may not cover all of your monthly mortgage payment so you may need to discuss with your mortgage lender how you can deal with the shortfall.
If you’re claiming universal credit you may qualify to receive similar assistance to help you pay your mortgage interest, depending on your circumstances. You cannot get this help if you’re working and receiving universal credit.
Ensure that you give full details of your mortgage costs and any service charges you pay when you make your application for universal credit.
Do remember support for mortgage interest is a loan, so you will have to pay the money back in future.
What happens if I need to sell my house and rent a home instead?
Read our detailed information about renting and getting help with rent costs as a single parent.
Who to contact
Learn about other organisations that can help you by clicking on the blocks below:
England: 03444 111 444
Wales: 03444 77 20 20
Text relay users: 03444 111 445
Information and advice on a wide range of issues including benefits and tax credits, housing and family law.
Civil Legal Advice
0845 345 4345
For checking eligibility for legal aid if you need legal help with a housing issue.
Visit the website to search for a scheme in your area that could help with a deposit for rented accommodation at www.crisis.org.uk/find-pr-scheme.php or use the website to find information about emergency accommodation.
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
To make a new claim for benefits.
Law Centres Federation
Law Centres are charities offering free legal advice on social welfare law, usually including housing. Find your local law centre on the website or see their listing in the telephone directory.
0808 808 4000
Free and confidential debt advice including help to complete a financial statement.
National Homelessness Advice Service
Free online factsheets on a wide range of housing subjects, including problems with landlords, homelessness, applying for housing, rent, benefits and money and eviction.
Own your own home
Information about help to buy schemes, mortgage guarantee and shared ownership schemes. Includes an interactive tool to help find schemes for your individual circumstances.
0845 330 4510
A network of cooperative housing groups committed to working for social change based on equality and cooperation. The website contains a list of members and housing vacancies.
0808 808 2255
Provides advice and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees. Also works to support unaccompanied refugee children. See website for details of local centres.
Step Change Debt Charity
0800 138 1111
Provides free independent debt advice and debt management plans.
0808 800 4444
Provides information and advice on a range of housing issues and a signposting service for further help and advice.
020 7359 5767
Advice and information for the lesbian, gay and bisexual community on homelessness, housing options, harassment and finding accommodation.
The Money Advice Service
0300 500 5000
Free advice and information to help you manage your money. Publications include a parent’s guide to money, finances in divorce or separation, information on financial products and services, financial guides and budgeting tools.
Further help and information
Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline
Freephone 0808 802 0925
Provides free, confidential advice for single parents.
No matter the challenge – around your finances, contact arrangements or help you could receive – our trained advisers are here with tailored advice that works for you.
One Parent Families Scotland
Lone Parent Helpline 0808 801 0323
Run by our partner organisation, One Parent Families Scotland, the Lone Parent Helpline provides free, confidential advice and information for single parents in Scotland.
Your home after separation
Deciding what to do about your family home after separation or divorce is an important process. It’s a good idea to find out your basic rights and options before you make any decisions.Separation and your home