I'm falling behind with mortgage payments - can I get any help?

18 January 2013

Q

I have had a NatWest mortgage for the past four and a half years. For the first time, I have fallen behind with my repayments and cannot afford to pay this month.Will NatWest offer me a payment holiday?What other options might I have?
From
JC, Oakham

A

The first thing you need to do is to get in touch with NatWest to discuss the problems you are facing. Failing to open up a dialogue with your lender is likely to be counterproductive, while the lender's approach to your situation should be to try to help.

It is in NatWest's interests, as well as yours, to work out a plan of action to help you get back on track with the mortgage.

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Depending on your circumstances, NatWest may consider allowing a short payment holiday should it be appropriate, although it is more likely to look at how you might be able to manage your payments more easily.

It might, for example, consider offering a period where the mortgage is switched from repayment to interest-only.

Overall, NatWest should approach your position in an understanding fashion, and statistics show that many lenders are being considerate of their borrowers' situations - lender forbearance has been credited with assisting in the low levels of repossession throughout the recent economic turmoil.

What your mortgage lender must do before your home can be repossessed

  • Tell you how much is owed
  • Consider a request from you to change the way you pay your mortgage
  • Respond to any offer of payment you make
  • Give you reasons for turning down your offer of payment within 10 days
  • Give you a reasonable amount of time to consider any proposal it makes
  • Give you 15 days' written warning if it decides to start court action
  • Inform you of the date and time of a repossession hearing
  • Let your council know within five days of getting notification of the date of the court hearing, in case you need to apply to the council as homeless.