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Can I sell my house with mortgage arrears & what is it?

People organising Mortgage arrears

Can I sell my house with mortgage arrears & what is it?

Wondering if you ‘can sell your house with mortgage arrears’? Well you’re in the right place!

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

If you are wondering if you ‘can sell my house with mortgage arrears’, well the short answer is yes. Selling your house with mortgage arrears can be a complicated process, particularly when considering factors such as support for mortgage interest, the remaining mortgage term, and the need for debt advice.

In such a situation, it’s vital that you seek guidance from a reliable mortgage or debt advice service. In 2023, various support schemes exist to help homeowners reduce their monthly payments and manage missed payments effectively.

Exploring options to reduce financial strain and seeking debt advice can be instrumental in devising a feasible plan to pay back any arrears before proceeding with the sale.

What is mortgage arrears?

Mortgage arrears refers to the situation where a borrower falls behind on their scheduled mortgage payments. This could be due to various hardships such as job loss, reduced income or unforeseen expenses. 


When a borrower falls into mortgage arrears, the mortgage lender might apply additional charges to cover the costs associated with managing the account during this period. If the arrears are not repaid within a specific timeframe, the homeowner is at risk of having their property repossessed by the lender.

How easy is it to fall into mortgage arrears?

Annually, there are a staggering number of approximately 80,000 mortgage homeowners in the United Kingdom grappling with the challenging reality of falling into arrears. 


Given the severity of the consequences, it’s vital to understand the potential ease with which mortgage arrears can occur. Sudden financial setbacks or unexpected life events can make it challenging for individuals to keep up with their mortgage obligations. 


Borrowers should be aware of the legal rights of mortgage lenders, which allow them to repossess the property within 90 to 180 days of the borrower falling into arrears.

Can mortgage arrears be written off?

While some borrowers may consider seeking complete debt forgiveness, mortgage lenders are generally reluctant to write off debts entirely. They are more inclined to accept a repayment plan that involves either a lump sum or regular instalments.


Communication with the mortgage lender is key and it is advisable to seek professional advice and guidance from debt counsellors to understand the available options and create a realistic plan for repayment.

Will my property be repossessed if I miss a mortgage repayment?

If you miss a mortgage repayment, you should not have to worry about repossessed property. Repossession should always be the last resort that your lender takes when it comes to dealing with mortgage arrears. 


The majority of lenders will not start the repossession process until you have missed at least 3 repayments. Even then, many will delay if you agree to a mortgage repayment plan.

How does the house repossession process occur?

You may be wondering how the process of repossessing property works. Below we take a quick look at a breakdown of the process and what you can expect if you are going through the house repossession process: 


  1. You will first go into arrears with your lender. This means you have missed a mortgage payment and are now behind on your loan. 
  2. If you continue to fall behind on your mortgage repayments, you will continue to be in arrears. At this point, your lender may take court action to try and resolve the matter. 
  3. A court hearing will take place where a judge will hear the reasons why your house should or should not be repossessed. 
  4. If you fail to show up for this hearing, then the judge will more than likely rule for outright repossession. If you attend the hearing, then the judge will hear your case and a decision will be reached. 
  5. Once the court has deliberated your case, they will potentially issue a possession order. It may be a suspended order, which means that an agreement will be made to make up these mortgage arrears. 
  6. If you breach this suspended order, then bailiffs will be sent to your home. 
  7. Once this has occurred, repossession will happen, and your lender will sell your property. 

What do you do if you are in mortgage arrears?

In the event of mortgage arrears, proactive measures should be taken to help resolve the situation as soon as possible. This could include:

Communicating promptly with the mortgage lender, as they may be willing to negotiate payment terms or alter the payment schedule. Most mortgage lenders will give you a grace period of 5 to fifteen days after your last mortgage payment was due if you are struggling.  


Even if you cannot meet the payment deadlines, you may be able to pay it late but still be charged a late fee. The late charging fee is usually between 5% and 10% of your monthly mortgage payment amount, which stacks up over time if you continue to miss payments.

Exploring insurance coverage, such as a mortgage payment protection insurance, can also provide relief in cases of unexpected income loss due to illness, injury or redundancy.

Reassessing your expenditure and adopting cost-cutting measures can help alleviate financial strain. This could involve evaluating and potentially eliminating non-essential expenses, renegotiating service contracts or seeking better deals for energy and food.

Can you reduce your monthly payments?

Yes, you can reduce your monthly mortgage payments, all you need to do is contact your current mortgage lender. They can refuse your offer for a lower interest rate, but this won’t harm your credit score. We would recommend that you seek the help of a mortgage advisor or broker who can offer more information tailored to your specific situation.

Can you sell your house if the mortgage is in arrears?

For people considering selling their homes to settle mortgage arrears, it is strongly recommended to initiate this process before the property falls into the risk of repossession. 


Taking proactive steps to sell the property before it reaches the point of repossession can help prevent potential financial shortfalls and alleviate the burden of solicitor costs. 


By proactively managing the sale, homeowners can secure a more favourable sale price, and allow them to clear their outstanding mortgage balance and any associated arrears.

What happens if you sell a house with an outstanding mortgage?

When selling a property with an outstanding mortgage, there’s several options available depending on the terms and conditions of your mortgage agreement. These options may include paying off the remaining mortgage balance, porting the mortgage to a new property, or entirely remortgaging. 


Seeking guidance from a mortgage broker can provide clarity on the most suitable course of action based on circumstances. In cases where the proceeds from the property sale are insufficient to cover the remaining mortgage, it may be necessary to negotiate a short sale with the mortgage company to settle the debt.

Is selling your home to avoid house repossession a last resort?

If you are facing house repossession, then there are steps that you can take to try and stop the process. Selling your home should not be your first port of call, however, if you are going to do so, it is best to sell as soon as you can. 


Before you decide to sell your home to stop repossessed property, you should consider some of the following steps: 


  • Speak to your lender about your situation 
  • Seek out support from external sources such as Citizens Advice, Shelter, National Debtline or your local council 
  • Pay what you can for the overdue payments 
  • Turn to family and friends for support 
  • Apply for universal credit 

Can I have my property repossessed voluntarily?

You do have the option to have your property voluntarily possessed. This means handing back the keys to your lender and moving out. Once you have handed in your keys, you will still be responsible for mortgage interest, building insurance, and maintenance costs until it is sold. 


However, it is worth bearing in mind that if you decide to go down this route, it can affect your: 


  • Benefits 
  • Credit rating 
  • Options if you need housing help from your council

How can you avoid repossession of your home?

To prevent the distressing possibility of home repossession due to missed mortgage payments and mortgage arrears, there are several proactive measures that can be taken, including exploring the option of selling your property. 


Our dedicated service offers a streamlined house selling solution that ensures a swift sale process, with the flexibility of selling in as little as 28 days. By using our service, you can rest assured that we prioritise securing the highest possible price for your home, providing you with a reliable avenue to settle your mortgage arrears and regain financial stability.


One of the key advantages of our service is the coverage of all costs associated with the sale of a property. From solicitor fees to marketing expenses, we cover everything, enabling you to navigate the process without any additional financial strain.


Whether you prefer a traditional open market sale or a discrete off-market transaction, we accommodate your timeline and objectives, ensuring a tailored approach that aligns with your preferences and needs. 


Our commitment to providing a seamless and cost-free experience aims to alleviate the pressure of potential repossession, offering you a viable and stress-free solution to protect your financial well-being.