You can contact the Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline on 0761 07 4050
The mortgage on your house, flat or apartment is probably the biggest and most important financial commitment that you have. When you take out a mortgage, the mortgage lender gets a claim on your property. If you fall into arrears, your lender may eventually seek to repossess your home.
If you are having difficulties paying your mortgage, even if you are not actually in arrears, but are in pre-arrears, you should contact your lender’s Arrears Support Unit immediately. Delaying and allowing mortgage arrears to build up will make the problems worse. Your lender does not want to repossess your home. It wants you to continue your payments – repossession is the last resort.
In line with these codes, your lender must take certain steps to deal with any problems you have in paying your mortgage. Under the Central Bank’s Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) (pdf), lenders must operate a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) when dealing with customers in mortgage arrears and pre-arrears.
Other loans and debts
Even if you are not in mortgage arrears, or have no mortgage at all, your home could be in danger of repossession if you have other debts. If you build up other debts and are unable to repay them, then the people to whom you owe money may register such debt as a 'judgment mortgage' against your home and seek to recover their money in that way (see our document on repossession).
Assistance from MABS
As soon as you realise that you have a problem with mortgage arrears or other debt, you can start taking action to deal with it. The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) can help you to do this, either face-to-face or via the MABS helpline. MABS has also published a series of guides and leaflets on dealing with mortgage debt.
As part of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process, your mortgage lender will ask you to document your financial situation on a Standard Financial Statement (pdf). MABS can help you to fill out this statement.
New measures to support people in mortgage arrears include a greater role for MABS in offering information, advice and assistance to borrowers in arrears.
Other sources of information and advice
Several other organisations provide information and advice to people facing mortgage arrears and other problem debt.
The Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) have published a guide to the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears 2013 (pdf).
You may wish to get legal advice on your options and on what happens if the mortgage lender takes steps to repossess your home. FLAC provides free legal advice from a nationwide network of voluntary advice centres, some of which are based in Citizens Information Centres.
The Legal Aid Board also provides legal advice, but there is a means test for this. Waiting times may vary from one Law Centre to another.
Other organisations that provide advice and assistance include the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) and Phoenix Project Ireland. IMHO has arrangements with 2 banking organisations – AIB Group and KBC Bank, whereby customers can contact IMHO for direct assistance (free of charge) in dealing with these banks about their mortgage arrears.
New Beginning is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to represent people in this situation.
For more information, call the Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline 0761 07 4050.