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How Many Months Mortgage Arrears Before Repossession in the UK

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How long can you not pay your mortgage before repossession in the UK?

This article is about how many months mortgage arrears before repossession in the UK. Having any personal property repossessed is degrading and stressful. But having your home repossessed has got to be the worst thing that could happen to anyone. Having bailiffs turn up at your house is both scary and intimidating. Being thrown out of your own home is humiliating and something that has to be the worst thing that could happen to any person. So avoiding repossession has got to be a top priority for anyone who is in arrears on their mortgage.

How Many Months Mortgage Arrears Before Repossession? There’s an agreement with all major UK lenders that they won’t begin repossession until at least three months of arrears have occurred. The repossession of your home can only be used as a last resort by lenders. Also, as a part of the repossession process your lender must refer you to seek independent debt advice.

If you’re struggling with your mortgage payments. If you’re in arrears on your mortgage, then this article is aimed at you.

So how many months mortgage arrears before repossession?

When you take out a mortgage, there’s the well-known phrase which says “Your home is at risk if you do not keep up  repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it.” 

There is another phrase on recommended FCA documents, which reads “YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.”

At the outset, when the mortgage is taken out, no one intends to go into arrears. Circumstances happen…redundancy, divorce, sickness like cancer, and many other reasons which give rise to a lack of money.

This lack of money at the end of the month may mean that the mortgage or other loan secured on your home may not get paid.

Warning: “Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.”

Where a loan or mortgage is not paid on time each month, then you end up going into arrears. Having arrears does mean that your home could be repossessed by the bank or other lender. But how many missed mortgage payments before repossession in the UK?

Well firstly, repossession doesn’t happen over night. The repossession process can take several months before a court order is made. During this time, you do have time to be proactive and stop the repossession.

More Reading: If my house is repossessed can I get another mortgage

The first missed mortgage payment

But the repossession process effectively begins after the first missed mortgage payment. On the assumption that you can’t afford this first missed payment, you are unlikely to be able to afford subsequent mortgage payments.

More Reading: How long does a missed mortgage payment stay on your credit in the UK

You will continue to go further and further into arrears as you miss more mortgage payments. But effectively it was the first missed payment that triggered the whole repossession process.

So unless you make good this first missed mortgage payment. Or unless you agree with your lender to either add the amount to your mortgage or pay it off over time, your lender will continue with the repossession process.

This means that the number of months mortgage arrears will commence after just one missed payment. But in reality, during the course of a repossession claim, there are many missed payments.

More Reading: How can I get a late payment removed from my mortgage? (It’s possible)

The fear of repossession after going into arrears…

Bowfin UK property solutions - How Many Months Mortgage Arrears Before Repossession fear
Bowfin UK property solutions – How Many Months Mortgage Arrears Before Repossession ‘Fear’

Most home owners will have a mortgage outstanding on their home. This means that the bank effectively own a part of your property, until such time as it is repaid in full. So arguably, it is the mortgage that keeps the roof over our heads…and it’s about keeping the bank happy by keeping up with your repayments, therefore avoiding repossession.

The biggest problem for most is the fear of repossession and in many cases the lack of action to prevent it. For many people when they go into arrears, they become like a rabbit in the headlights. Many often stick their head in the sand and ignore the repossession letters. But do this at your peril, as this is the surest way to get repossessed.

At this stage where you are already in arrears your credit report will be affected. This will affect your credit file adversely and it will cause you problems in the future if you are looking to borrow. But don’t ignore the letters from your bank. Speak to them and work out a plan. Also, engage help from Step Change, Citizen’s Advice or Shelter, as they will help you with what to do.

More Reading: How long does a house repossession stay on your credit report UK

Banks don’t want to repossess your home…

However, most banks don’t want to repossess, they’d prefer you to repay. The regulators, like the FCA expect the banks to work with you to try and make that happen.

However, if in the end you can’t afford to pay your mortgage, on top of which you don’t communicate with your lender, they will take your home away quite quickly.

Banks don’t like to repossess…repossession is a last resort for lenders.

It will depend on the bank and on your circumstances on how many months mortgage arrears before repossession. Try to at least pay something, as this will help to keep the mortgage company happy.

You can speak with a number of organisations, which includes Step Change Charity for help and advice on your mortgage if your are in arrears on your mortgage.

There are rules that banks have to follow before repossession takes place.

More Reading: Can you sell your home if you are behind in mortgage payments?

Repossession rules mortgage lenders must follow

How many missed mortgage payments before repossession UK
Bowfin property solutions – How many missed mortgage payments before repossession UK & walking the tightrope towards repossession

Before taking you to court to repossess your home, your mortgage lender must follow pre-action protocol rules.

In order to repossess your home, your lender must take you to court where a judge will decide whether or not your home should be repossessed. Plus how long it will be before repossession can take place.  Also, banks in the UK have an agreement in place whereby repossession proceedings won’t take place until after three months of arrears have occurred. The bank must also refer you to take independent debt advice too.

The pre-action protocol rules means that your lender can only take you to court as a last resort. This is after all other options haven’t worked.

At the very least, your lender must treat you fairly. But above all your lender must consider any proposals you make for repaying mortgage arrears.

Any communication from your lender should be easy to understand. But you must make sure you respond within a reasonable time-frame. Don’t stick your head in the sand. This will only shorten the time to when your home will be repossessed.

You may wish to look into Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). A lender cannot commence court proceedings of a repossession when you’ve applied for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

More Reading: How can I stop my house being repossessed? (12 Options To Stop it)

Help at hand if you are worried about how many missed mortgage payments before repossession if you live in the UK

The important thing to note: If you’re worried about how many missed mortgage payments before repossession of your home; Don’t ignore the problem.

By ignoring the problem it will not go away. So you need to take action, otherwise, despite the fact that lenders do not want to repossess your home, they will if they are pushed to do so. If your arrears are at a stage whereby you leave them no alternative, they will repossess you.

If you need further help we may have a solution for you. Contact us for a way out from being repossessed today. Don’t delay, as we are here to help you and prevent your home from being repossessed by the bank.

More Reading: If your house is repossessed do you get any money back (Or lose it all)

Video presentation of this article on how many months mortgage arrears before repossession in the UK

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Healthy property market in your area of the UK

Despite having a healthy property market in and around your area of the UK, repossessions can still happen. Repossessions happen for any manor of reasons.

But it is usually as a last resort for the banks to do it. It’s worth remembering that you don’t actually own your house until the mortgage is paid off. This is only normally discovered when the first mortgage payment is missed.

Despite a buoyant property market, repossessions still happen. Repossession can be as the result of losing your job or from being made redundant.

If can often also happen as a result of a significant illness like cancer or a serious injury that make it difficult to continue to earn money and pay the mortgage.

With this last one your ability to continue to pay your mortgage largely depends on the support of your employer. Or if you’re self-employed, whether you are able to keep your business running whilst you are ill or recovering from your injury.

It is therefore never too late to take control and to seek help. Unless of course the bailiffs are at your doorstep. But possibly even then you may be able to avoid repossession, but it’s unlikely.

I hope this article has helped on ‘how many months mortgage arrears before repossession in the UK

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Also, if you have any questions or you need help, please feel free to comment below too. Alternatively, if you need more help, please feel free to contact us on our contact us page here.

How Many Months Mortgage Arrears Before Repossession in the UK

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been investing in property since purchasing his first commercial property in the 1990's for his own Chartered Accountancy business. But his first property investment project was to turn an old dilapidated restaurant into a large 5-bed home, which he purchased for £117,500 and sold for £450,000 (to see an "after" photo of the house before it was sold see here: About). Russell owns a number of investment properties, which includes houses, flats and HMO's. More recently he has turned his creative side to investing in property using lease options. His largest lease option deal to date was to acquire 12 properties worth over £2 million for just £12, which means he paid just £1 to acquire each property!

2 thoughts on “How Many Months Mortgage Arrears Before Repossession in the UK

  1. I had my home repossessed and the whole experience wasn’t nice! I wish I had found you before it happened…I live in Poole now and getting my life back together. 🙂

    1. Hi Mary – thank you for your comment. I can only imagine what it must be like going through a repossession. Not a nice experience at all I suspect. I’m glad to see you are through the other side of it now and happy.

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