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Overview of mortgage debt

Introduction

If you’re behind in your mortgage payments, you may be worried about losing your home.

Talk to your lender. If you can’t - talk to MABS.

MABS now has a dedicated confidential, free, and independent mortgage arrears service.

MABS is a one-stop-shop for mortgage debt advice and referral.

No matter what your situation is, MABS will help you work out the next steps.

Take control of what happens next.

Call MABS today on 0761 07 2000 for independent information, advice and referral.



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 making your payments – repossession is the last resort.

Lending institutions such as banks are bound by codes of conduct in relation to people who are in mortgage arrears or pre-arrears. Local authorities operate under similar guidelines (pdf).

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.

Read more on keepingyourhome.ie.

Other loans and debts

Even if 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 that debt as a 'judgment mortgage' against your home and seek to recover their money in that way (see our document on repossession).

Read more information on dealing with problem debt in general.

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.

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.

In recent times, MABS has taken on a greater role in offering information, advice and assistance to borrowers in arrears. This role includes a Dedicated Mortgage Arrears service and a Court Mentor service for debtors faced with court proceedings.

In addition, MABS is centrally involved in the Abhaile scheme for people who are in serious mortgage arrears and at risk of losing their home. This scheme provides a range of services to help you to deal with your situation, including financial advice, legal advice and insolvency advice. Read more on mabs.ie.

Find your nearest MABS office, ring the helpline at 0761 07 2000 (9am - 8pm, Monday - Friday) or email: helpline@mabs.ie.

Other sources of information and advice

Several other organisations provide information and advice to people facing mortgage arrears and other problem debt.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s website has a set of FAQs on dealing with mortgage arrears and a step-by-step action plan for dealing with debt in general.

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. As part of the Abhaile scheme mentioned above, the Legal Aid Board operates a panel of solicitors to provide legal aid and advice to people who are at risk of losing their home and are referred by MABS. It also operates a “duty solicitor” service to provide court support for insolvent borrowers in repossession proceedings. These services are provided for free, under a voucher system.

Other organisations that provide advice and assistance include the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO), New Beginning, Phoenix Project Ireland and StepChange Debt Charity 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.

Page edited: 13 April 2017

Language

Gaeilge

Useful Resources

  • You can contact the MABS dedicated mortgage arrears service on 0761 07 2000

Related Documents

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.