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Mortgage repossession

How to stop repossession of your home

Prioritise paying your mortgage

Always pay your mortgage before non-priority debts. Non-priority debts are things like credit cards, store cards and overdrafts.

If you cannot pay the full amount, pay as much as you can. This shows your lender you’re trying to put things right. It could delay or stop them trying to repossess your home.

Get money and debt advice

If you’re worried about repossession, get money and debt advice as soon as possible.

A money and debt adviser can negotiate on your behalf with your mortgage lender. They can help you budget and improve your household income.

Get legal advice

If you get any letters about potential legal action or a court date, get legal advice from a solicitor as soon as you can. They’ll explain your rights and help you keep your home.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland. You could get legal help for free or at a lower cost.

Improve your finances

To check how you could reduce household costs, use a budgeting calculator on Money Helper.

Check if you’re eligible for any benefits or tax credits. Use a benefits checker on Turn2Us.

Use a comparison site to see if you can reduce your household bills and insurance costs.

Talk to your lender

Your lender should only repossess your home as a last resort. Speak to them as soon as you can, and discuss how to deal with the arrears. Tell them:

  • why you've missed payments

  • what you're doing to deal with the arrears

  • when you can start repaying the arrears

Use our letter template to contact your lender about arrears.

Agree a repayment plan

Your lender must take reasonable steps to agree to a repayment plan that you propose. They must give you time to stick to it.

Make sure you can afford the repayment plan. If you cannot work one out yourself, a money and debt adviser can help you.

In your repayment proposal, you should include:

  • why you're in arrears

  • how you'll pay back the arrears

  • what you've done to improve your finances, such as budgeting

  • details of any money and debt advice you're getting

  • how long you think it'll take to repay the arrears

Ask your lender for extra time to pay if you need it. You can ask to reduce the amount you pay temporarily or take a payment holiday until you’re able to pay again.

Get any agreements you make in writing.

Check your insurance policies

If you have life or illness insurance, check your policies for mortgage payment protection insurance. This can cover your mortgage payments if you cannot work because of:

  • illness

  • disability

  • accident

  • redundancy

It might not cover you immediately and might only pay your costs for 1 or 2 years.

Get help through the Home Owners’ Support Fund

Using these schemes you can either sell your home and remain there as a tenant, or sell a share of your home. You must use the money you get to pay off your arrears.

You’ll need a money and debt adviser to help you apply.

Check your eligibility for the Home Owners’ Support Fund on

If you decide to sell your home

If you sell your home yourself, you're likely to make more money than if you allow your lender to sell it.

You'll have to pay the costs of selling your home, including a valuation and solicitor fees.

If selling your home does not cover all your arrears, you might need your lender’s permission to sell. A money and debt adviser can help negotiate with your lender if they refuse.

Giving up your home so your lender can sell it

If you move out and give up your keys to allow your lender to sell your home, it's called voluntary surrender.

You should only consider this as a last resort before repossession. It is risky to hand in your keys as it can affect your benefits and your credit rating.

You must continue to pay your mortgage and insurance until your home is sold. Your lender may not get the best offer for your home, and you could still end up owing them money.

Get money and debt advice before you decide to sell your home or hand in your keys. There could be other options.

If your partner's home is being repossessed

You may be able to prevent or delay repossession action by the lender if you live in your partner’s home. You can do this if you are:

  • married

  • in a civil partnership

  • living as a couple

You may be able to take responsibility for mortgage payments and keep the home.

To make your case to stay in the home, get legal advice from a family law solicitor. Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland.

You could get legal help for free or at a lower cost.

Last updated: 18 March 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England