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Paying for your home

If someone in your household dies and you find out that you do have a right to keep staying in the property, it's really important to make sure that you can afford to pay for it yourself. This page looks at what you can do about the mortgage.

What if there's a mortgage?

If the person who died had a mortgage over the house in their own name, you need to find out how much of it still has to be paid off. If you need more information on what a mortgage is, check out our general section on paying for a home.

You can try asking the bank or building society for a 'redemption statement' which will give you details of this. If they won't tell you because the mortgage is not in your name, ask your solicitor to find out on your behalf.

If there is a mortgage on the house and you are worried about paying it yourself, don't panic. Most people take out mortgage protection insurance to cover the mortgage debt and the bank or building society will be able to tell you if such insurance is in place.

Can I afford to pay the mortgage on my own?

If you find out there is still a mortgage over the house and the person's insurance won't pay it off, you will then have to decide if you can afford to pay the mortgage yourself.

If you can, you will have to ask the bank or building society if it's okay for you to take over the mortgage on your own. They will probably ask you for details of your income (for example, your pay or any benefits you get) and any other debts you have.

Will I be able to transfer the mortgage to my name?

This really depends on what the bank or building society says and also what kind of mortgage you have. It's likely that you'll either have to pay off the existing mortgage and get a new one in your own name, or transfer the existing mortgage to your name alone.

You can get more advice on what to do about this from a money advice centre.

What if there's no mortgage?

If you find out that you can keep living in the house and there's no mortgage on it (or if the mortgage has been paid off), that's one less thing to worry about! If you're not sure whether or not there is a mortgage, it's best to make sure to avoid any problems. A solicitor can check this for you and it will only take a day or so.

Can I take in a lodger?

In order to increase your income, you may decide to take in a lodger. Before you seriously think about doing this, you need to make sure that you are allowed to do so.

If you have a mortgage, you must ask your lenders permission before letting out a room in your home to a lodger. There might be some restrictions in your mortgage papers about what you can and can't do so you should find this out before you organise anything.

You can find loads more information in our section called letting if you are a home owner.


Remember that a death in the household may also affect any benefits that are being claimed. Contact your local advice agency or benefits office for futher information.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

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