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Behind on your mortgage

The need for speed

When you get behind on your mortgage repayments it is time to get serious. Give yourself the best chance of keeping your home or selling it on your own terms, by contacting your bank or seeking legal advice.

The bank must take a number of steps before it can take formal legal action including repossession of your home. The sooner you act in the process, the more likely it is that you can make a repayment arrangement with the lender and hopefully save your home.

Here are the steps the bank could take:

Steps the bank could take What you can do
Step 1 – Send Letter

Send you a letter or contact you when you miss a repayment

See guidance on our other blog article titled “Missed a mortgage repayment“.
Step 2 – Default Notice

Send you a default notice. This default notice will give you at least 30 days to catch up on your missed repayments.

You can pay the amount that is owed and your usual repayment. Then the bank cannot start legal action. Or you can ask the bank to temporarily reduce your repayments or delay your repayments. This is called a hardship variation. If you are not happy with your bank’s response you can ask to speak to their internal complaints section. If you are still not satisfied with the outcome you can lodge a dispute with Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – 1800 367 287 or Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) – 1800 138 422. You could also consider selling your home so you can sell it on your own terms.
Step 3 – Statement of Claim

Serve you with a Statement of Claim or Summons for the debt or for the repossession of your home.

You have a fixed number of days from the date the Statement of Claim/Summons is served to file a defence. If you haven’t done so already you can lodge a dispute with Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – 1800 367 287 or Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) – 1800 138 422. Whatever you decide to do, get some free legal advice urgently.

If you do nothing, or file a defence and lose, the bank gets a court judgement.

Step 4 – Apply for Writ

Apply for a writ (an order) to take possession of your home.

Get free legal advice urgently.
Step 5 – Sheriff letter

Send you a letter telling you when a Sheriff will come to change your locks. This is also known as a Notice to Vacate.

Get free legal advice urgently.
Step 6 – Eviction

Send a Sheriff to your home to evict you and change the locks.

Get free legal advice urgently.

Please read the Mortgage stress handbook for more details on the steps banks can take and what you can do to stop the process.

Taking action immediately is so important if you are behind on your mortgage. Your first priority should be talking to your bank and getting legal advice if the lender is taking legal action.

If you haven’t already, click here to download our FREE E-Book on “Refinancing” or email us instead and we’ll send it to you within 24 hours.

About the author

Matt Carra

Matt Carra

Matt Carra is the Owner of Blue Key Finance, a Finance Broker since 2004, an SMSF Lending Specialist, a Property Investment Educator, and a Mentor to new Finance Brokers entering the finance industry. Matt is passionate about providing valuable guidance and honest advice, educating Australians on how to buy their first homes and invest successfully while protecting them with knowledge. Matt has strong long-term relationships with his panel of lenders and extensive knowledge on their credit policies, and utilises that skillset to give you peace of mind by recommending you to the right lender the first time, to negotiate a better deal, and to fight for your cause – that’s Matt’s commitment to you. Contact Matt today to start the conversation on 03 9700 7033 or email matt.carra@bluekeyfinance.com.au


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