Mainstream banks and building societies remain fully committed to working constructively with their customers who are experiencing genuine difficulty with their mortgage repayments. The importance of early engagement is reflected in the four key action steps as follows that a borrower is advised to take:
- Contact your mortgage lender as soon as possible if you’re having trouble with your mortgage repayments or you are concerned that this might be likely to happen
- Look at your financial situation to make sure that you’re maximising your income and draw up a budget based on your most important spending commitments
- Respond to letters or phone calls from your mortgage lender or their legal representative
- If you are genuinely unable to make your mortgage repayments, ask your mortgage lender to explore with you one or more of the options available under the statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears
- If you are experiencing difficulties meeting your mortgage or other debt repayments you should contact your mortgage lender and seek free and independent advice. There are a number of organisations that provide independent advice free-of-charge.
StepChange Debt Charity
StepChange Debt Charity Ireland offers free and independent debt advice tailored to your situation. They can help you to prepare a Standard Financial Statement and recommend the best way forward for you to deal with your debts or mortgage arrears. Their free helpline is available Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm, or visit their website www.stepchangedebtcharity.ie
StepChange Freephone number: 1800 937 435.
If you need advice and assistance to deal with mortgage arrears or other debt, you can contact the State’s Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS). The MABS service is a free, independent, confidential and nonjudgemental service which is provided by skilled and experienced advisors for people who are in debt or at risk of getting into debt.
The MABS Helpline, 0761 07 2000, is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm. The MABS face-to-face service is available in over 60 locations nationwide – see www.mabs.ie to find your nearest MABS office.
Insolvency Service of Ireland
The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is an independent, Government organisation set up to help sort out your personal debt problems and to get you back on track. If you owe money and cannot afford to repay it, one of the following options may be open to you:
Debt Relief Notice
You may apply for this through MABs or another approved body. If you have unsecured debts below €35,000, a low income and few assets – this gives you freedom from your debts normally after three years.
Debt Settlement Arrangement
You may apply for this through a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) – your outstanding unsecured debts are written off over a period of time, normally up to 5 years.
Personal Insolvency Arrangement
You may apply for this through a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP). This allows you to settle and/ or restructure your secured and unsecured debts over a period of time, normally up to 6 years. (A mortgage is a typical example of a secured debt.)
You may apply to the High Court to be declared bankrupt.
Visit www.backontrack.ie for further information.
Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5pm.
Phone: 0761 07 4050
The Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline offers independent, confidential and high-quality information to borrowers in mortgage arrears or at pre-arrears stage.
Click here for more information on the Mortgage Arrears Information Helpline
The Helpline is provided for callers with mortgages on residential property only. It is targeted at people who have to date not taken any action to address their difficulties, for example, by approaching their lender. The Helpline can provide information to mortgage holders on:
- Existing mortgage solutions/alternative repayment arrangements
- The availability of relevant State supports and the relevant documentation required
- Dedicated arrears contact points of mortgage lenders
- A lender’s appeal process, or it can direct caller to where this information can be located
- The right to appeal a lender’s decision to the Financial Services Ombudsman.
Citizens Information Service
The Citizens Information Board is the statutory body which supports the provision of information, advice and advocacy on a broad range of public and social services. You can get information and advice face-to-face at your local Citizens Information Centre by phone through the Citizens Information Phone Service on 1890 777 121, or by clicking here to access the Citizens Information website.
The Citizens Information Board and MABS recently launched the keepingyourhome.ie website, which aims to provide comprehensive information to anyone who faces losing their home because of mortgage repayment or rent payment difficulties.
Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC) is an independent charity that campaigns on legal issues. It provides an information and referral line (1890 350 250) and organises evening Legal Advice Centres throughout Ireland in conjunction with the Citizens Information Board. Click here to access the FLAC website.
Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s personal finance information website provides information and advice on a range of financial issues including managing your money, tackling debt and repossession and making a complaint. Access the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.