Being in mortgage arrears means that you have missed some or all of your mortgage repayments. Missing a repayment can have a negative effect on your credit history so if you can’t meet a repayment or think you may miss a repayment, you should contact your lender as soon as possible, preferably in writing.
If your lender contacts you by letter or phone, don’t ignore this. It is important that you co-operate with your lender and you should read every letter that they send and ask for an explanation of anything you don’t understand.
Dealing with mortgage arrears
- Prioritise your debts and make a budget: your mortgage is a priority debt and should be paid before any other debts. Start by following our debt action plan and find out where you can go to get debt advice and find the best solution for you.
- Check your insurance: if you have a mortgage payment protection policy, check if it covers mortgage repayments for a certain amount of time.
- Contact your lender: once you have a clear picture of your debts, financial situation and insurance cover you should contact your lender to discuss your options. Your lender will have a specially trained staff member to assist you and any meetings must be conducted in private. Under the Central Bank’s Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears all lenders must have a Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) in place to be used when dealing with arrears and pre-arrears customers. This Code applies to the mortgage on your primary residence. It sets out how your lender must communicate with you, assess your mortgage arrears situation, come to a resolution and manage any appeals. All cases must be handled sympathetically and positively by the lender with the objective at all times of helping consumers meet their mortgage obligations. Your lender must give you a copy of the MARP booklet or refer you to online information.
- MABS and Abhaile: the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) provides free, independent and confidential debt advice and money management services. Abhaile is a dedicated MABS service that helps people to find a resolution to mortgage arrears and provides vouchers for free financial and legal advice and help from experts.
- Specified financial advice: as part of the MARP your lender may propose a long-term resolution. Participating lenders will pay €250 towards specified financial advice from a panel of independent accountants. More information and a list of accountants can be found on KeepingYourHome.ie.
- Repossession: if your lender has informed you that they are going to start proceedings to repossess your home through the courts you should get professional legal advice immediately. The Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC) offer basic, free legal services.