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Can’t afford rising mortgage costs due to interest rates

Sharon McDougall - Updated - 14th May 2024 - 2 minutes to read

The recent increase in mortgage interest rates has left many householders in Scotland struggling to meet their monthly repayments. Mortgage payments are priority outgoings that, if not paid, can lead to legal action by lenders and the situation can become serious very quickly.

So what can you do if you can’t afford your mortgage repayments because of the interest rate rises? A variety of options are available, including informal negotiations with your lender and official debt procedures.

Talk to your lender

You should speak to your lender as soon as you experience problems in paying your mortgage. They could offer various types of help, including reducing your repayments for a few months or making interest-only payments.

There are also specific schemes in place in Scotland to help people deal with mortgage payments.

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Mortgage schemes in Scotland

These are just a few of the support schemes available:

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

If you receive certain means-tested benefits, you may be eligible for help to pay all or some of your mortgage interest through the SMI scheme.

The Home Owners’ Support Fund

Mortgage to Rent

Under this scheme your home is sold to a social landlord and you pay them rent. You’re allowed to continue living in the property, however.

Mortgage to Shared Equity

The Scottish Government purchases a portion of the equity in your home, the benefit being that you pay a reduced mortgage to relieve some of the financial pressure you’re under.

Personal debt help in Scotland

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

The Debt Arrangement Scheme may be suitable if your overall debts are £5,000 or more. You can include mortgage arrears in this scheme, along with unsecured debts such as credit cards and loans. You’ll have to carry on making your regular mortgage payments, but this may be more achievable if your other debt payments are reduced within DAS.

Scottish Trust Deed

Trust deeds provide an alternative to full bankruptcy in Scotland if you can’t afford to repay your debts in full. Although your mortgage cannot be directly included, a trust deed can help you free up cash that could cover your monthly mortgage expenses. Your essential living costs, including the mortgage, are assessed, and any residual monies used towards the trust deed debts.

Sequestration

Sequestration is the Scottish term for bankruptcy, and is only suitable for people with little likelihood of repaying their debts in the future. Sequestration is an extremely serious step to take and involves you handing over your assets to a Trustee. This, however, does allow you a fresh financial start, and you can become debt-free within six months depending on your circumstances.

You have to obtain professional advice from an accredited money advisor in Scotland before proceeding with any of these personal debt programmes. This ensures that you take the correct route according to your situation.

Scotland Debt Solutions has been helping people in Scotland to overcome debt since 1989, and can provide confidential independent advice on your best options. Please get in touch with our expert team to arrange a free, same-day meeting - we operate a network of offices throughout Scotland.

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Sharon McDougall

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