Dealing with Mortgage Arrears: Practical Steps to Get Back on Track


Facing mortgage arrears can be overwhelming and stressful, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many homeowners encounter financial difficulties at some point, and there are steps you can take to regain control of your situation and get back on track with your mortgage payments. In this guide, we’ll explore practical strategies to help you navigate through mortgage arrears and work towards a positive resolution.

Understanding Mortgage Arrears:

Mortgage arrears occur when you fall behind on your mortgage payments. This can happen for various reasons, such as job loss, unexpected medical expenses, or changes in your financial situation. It’s crucial to address arrears promptly to prevent them from escalating further and potentially leading to foreclosure.

Communicate with Your Lender:

The first step in dealing with mortgage arrears is to communicate openly and honestly with your lender. Contact them as soon as you realize you may have difficulty making your payments. Lenders are often willing to work with borrowers facing financial hardships and may offer alternative repayment plans or temporary forbearance options.

Assess Your Financial Situation:

Take a close look at your finances to understand your current situation fully. Create a budget to track your income and expenses and identify areas where you can cut back to free up funds for your mortgage payments. Consider seeking advice from a financial counselor or advisor who can offer personalized guidance based on your circumstances.

Explore Repayment Options:

Depending on your lender and your specific situation, you may have several repayment options available to you. These could include:

  1. Forbearance: Your lender may allow you to temporarily pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a specified period, giving you time to address your financial difficulties.
  2. Loan Modification: You may be eligible for a loan modification, which involves renegotiating the terms of your mortgage to make your payments more manageable. This could involve extending the loan term, reducing the interest rate, or even principal forbearance.
  3. Repayment Plan: Your lender may agree to a repayment plan where you make additional payments alongside your regular mortgage payments to gradually catch up on the arrears.
  4. Refinancing: If you have sufficient equity in your home and your credit is still in good standing, refinancing your mortgage could lower your monthly payments and help you get back on track.

Consider Government Assistance Programs:

There are also various government assistance programs available to homeowners facing mortgage arrears. These programs vary by location and eligibility requirements but may include options such as:

  1. Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP): A federal program designed to help homeowners modify their mortgages to make them more affordable.
  2. State Housing Finance Agencies: Many states offer programs to assist homeowners with mortgage arrears, such as loan modification assistance or emergency mortgage assistance.
  3. HUD Counseling: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers free counseling services to homeowners facing foreclosure, providing guidance on navigating the mortgage process and exploring available options.

Take Action to Avoid Foreclosure:

Foreclosure is a serious consequence of mortgage arrears, but it can often be avoided with proactive steps. Stay in regular communication with your lender, provide any requested documentation promptly, and follow through on any agreements or repayment plans. If you’re unable to reach a resolution with your lender, consider seeking legal advice to explore additional options for avoiding foreclosure.

Seek Additional Support:

Dealing with mortgage arrears can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being, so it’s essential to seek support from friends, family, or professional counselors if needed. Remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, and there are resources available to assist you through this challenging time.


Facing mortgage arrears can be a daunting experience, but with proactive steps and perseverance, it’s possible to overcome financial difficulties and regain control of your situation. By communicating openly with your lender, exploring repayment options, and seeking support from government programs and financial advisors, you can work towards a positive resolution and secure your financial future. Remember, you’re not alone, and there are resources available to help you every step of the way.

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