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Have Your Say: Mortgage arrears

A past due stamp
Increasing numbers of people are falling behind with their payments

More than 260,000 people were at least three months behind with their mortgage payments in May, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

There is concern that some lenders might see such people as a useful source of profit, charging them while they struggle with their debt.

Consumer organisation Which? wants the regulator to make public the names of the worst offenders.

We asked for your comments, a selection of which are below.


How can you catch up? If you agree to pay back £100 towards your arrears and you are then being charged £50 a month for being in arrears then it is never going to get better or come down. I was ordered by a court to pay back £50 per month off my arrears but was being charged £50 a month for being in arrears, therefore my arrears will never disappear. You tell me how that is fair.
Natasha, Cardiff

We have just received a written offer on our property so I contacted my mortgage company for a redemption figure to be advised that they had sent the file to litigation. I rang the solicitors to tell them of the offer and said I would be happy to pay £1,000 (half the arrears) then the sale is due to complete in four weeks time. They declined and have issued repossession proceedings. My solicitor has rung them to ask for the deeds so he can progress the sale quickly and complete before the repossession hearing and they have refused to release the deeds to him. I have tried everything to negotiate with them but they will accept nothing less than all the arrears being paid back in one go. This seems complete madness given that their repossession hearing will now be in court during the same week as my sale completes. They have told us that they will get possession for my house but won't enforce the order to give me a chance to complete but I will have had to defend a court action and pay their costs by this point.
Melanie, Inverness

Where does Mr Smith get his information from? Debt is a crushing experience usually brought about by major life events such as divorce, unemployment, illness, etc.
Iain Buchanan, Cumbernauld

Regarding Paul's comment, Job losses can happen to anyone, companies close down and the recession has not helped. Obviously that person would not have been given a mortgage to start with if they had money problems at the time, but the responsibility does not just lie with the customer, it's the lenders as well. I certainly don't think anyone would want to put themselves in debt for the sake of it.
Dai E, Gwent

About three years ago I paid my monthly top up mortgage online from two different accounts, one payment for £19 did not go through probably due to a drop in the internet connection. My mortgage provider did not tell me I had not met the full payment, nor did they tell me they were adding charges to my account, they added £40 a month for 10 months - yes £400. I only found out when I received the annual statement, they refused to tell me how much I had not paid - I worked it out by back tracking payments, when I asked why they had not informed me they said there was nowhere in the agreement which compelled them to do so.
Gerald, London

The charges are so big they are unlawful. The banks are breaking the law, because they are making profits from unlawful charges. That's an excellent reason why they shouldn't do it!
Robert, London

My lender charges £35 for missed payments. I was three months behind and they took possession proceedings, even though I'd told them I would be able to pay them off. They even added a "litigation fee" and solicitors' costs to the mortgage without waiting for the court's ruling. In fact, the court dismissed the possession claim on 2 June and refused them their costs because they had breached the mortgage pre-action protocol. But they still didn't refund the costs, even though they were in contempt of court, until I issued a claim for them. I am also claiming for a refund of the late payment and litigation charges, so maybe these'll be tested in court - or maybe not.
Robert, London

Why shouldn't the banks make profits from those in arrears? Many of these people have only themselves to blame by greedily buying properties they couldn't afford and buying other goods and services ahead of their mortgages.
Paul Smith, Burnley

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

Occasionally Money Box or Inside Money may wish to contact Have Your Say contributors about future programmes. If you find this acceptable we ask you to include your e-mail address.

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