Money Wellness

What you should do if you fall behind with your mortgage payments

This guide covers what is likely to happen if you fall behind with your mortgage payments, including the steps your lender must take and what you should do.

illustration of house and calculator

What happens if I fall behind with my mortgage payments?

As the cost of living and interest rates continue to rise, it’s likely that more and more people will fall behind with their mortgage payments.

Once you are two or more months behind with your payments, you are officially in arrears. If you ever find yourself in this position, there are certain things your lender needs to do and certain things you should do too.

illustration of house and car

What your lender must do

If you fall into arrears, your lender must make reasonable attempts to reach an agreement with you. This includes looking at changing the way you make payments and when you make them.

They can’t try and repossess your property until they’ve tried all other reasonable ways to sort out the situation. They also need to give you reasonable notice before starting the process of repossessing your property.

Within 15 working days of falling into arrears, your lender must tell you:

  • how much you’re behind with your payments
  • all the payments you’ve missed or only paid in part
  • the exact amount you owe on your mortgage
  • how much you owe in missed-payment charges
  • what charges you’ll have to pay if you don’t catch up with your payments
woman on phone

Mortgage worries? Get free debt advice today

Or learn how Money Wellness can help with free debt advice.

All our debt advice is free. Some solutions are free. For others, there’s a fee.

Get started

What you should do

If you fall behind with your mortgage payments, it’s vital that you don’t ignore the problem. There is help available and the sooner you act, the better.

These are the steps you should take if you fall into arrears:

  1. Speak to your lender

The first thing to do is to get in touch with your lender. Before speaking to them, think about:

  • What you can afford to pay at the moment – part payments are better than no payments at all.
  • When you’ll be able to start making full payments again.
  • When you’ll be able to start paying back your arrears.

Your lender may have other ideas about how they can help e.g. extending the term of your mortgage.

  1. Check your insurance

If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments because of redundancy, sickness or an accident, you should check if you have mortgage payment protection insurance. You might find you took it out when you got your mortgage. If you do, this might help with your mortgage payments – so check your paperwork.

    1. Cut your costs

    See if you can cut costs anywhere. Using a budget planner can help. Seeing in black and white how much you have coming in and what you’re spending that money on can make it easier to spot where you can cut back.

    You may be able to ditch some things altogether e.g. a gym membership you’re hardly using or buying a takeaway coffee every morning before work. Or you may be able to reduce spending on things like the weekly grocery shop by opting for a cheaper supermarket or buying shop own brands.

    1. Check if you can get financial help

    Use a benefits calculator to see if you can get any financial help. You may find you can claim for certain benefits and/or for government help paying your mortgage interest.

    1. Get advice

    Speak to one of our friendly money advisers. You can call us on 0161 518 8285 or book a call back at a time that suits you. Or you may prefer to get started online. Just answer a few simple questions and we’ll give you an idea of how we may be able to help you get your finances back on track.

    We can help with everything from budgeting advice to agreeing reduced monthly payments with the people you owe money to.

    Money Wellness blogs

    Illustration of upset woman sitting on credit card holding long bill

    21 Jun 2024

    Unsecured household debt set to rise by £1,600 this year

    The TUC has predicted a steep rise in unsecured household debt.

    Image of the tour de france. Bradley Wiggins faces bankruptcy - find out why and what it means

    17 Jun 2024

    Sir Bradley Wiggins is declared bankrupt. Find out about bankruptcy and what it means for your money

    Sir Bradley Wiggins, the eight-time Olympic medal winner, has been declared bankrupt after falling into financial difficulty.

    Illustration of a fine notice

    24 May 2024

    HSBC fined millions for poor treatment of customers in financial difficulty

    HSBC has been fined more than £6m for failing to help struggling customers. Find out how lenders are supposed to help if you're experiencing financial difficulties.

    Illustration of a smiling young woman

    20 May 2024

    DRO numbers reach record high after fee scrapped

    New figures show scrapping the DRO fee has resulted in more people getting crucial debt help. We're now asking the government to go a step further to help domestic abuse survivors in debt.

    Illustration of a shark attacking a woman with a large coin

    16 May 2024

    Over 3 million people turned to loan sharks in the last year

    Millions of people turned to a loan shark in the last year. Find out what to do if you think you’re dealing with one and what’s driving the rise in illegal lending.

    Illustration of a woman with the hand of a man covering her mouth

    16 May 2024

    Call for more help for survivors of economic abuse

    More needs to be done to help victims of economic abuse regain financial independence, according to a new report from UK Finance. Find out what changes they’re calling for and the additional measure we think is vital to help survivors of financial abuse.