for borrowers

Running into difficulties while repaying your mortgage

When things change

There are many reasons why you might not be able to pay your mortgage, but regardless of the causes it is always going to be a difficult time.

At The Cambridge we understand how distressing it can be worrying about how you are going to pay your mortgage, either now or in the future. So, our team will work to help you as much as possible and to treat you fairly and with respect.

Contact us and we can discuss the options available to you. Read on below for information about how we may be able to help ease your situation.


How The Cambridge can help

We will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your problem. As a general rule, the earlier difficulties are addressed, the more likely they are to be resolved in your favour. We will only contact you by phone and at a reasonable time, between 8am and 9pm.

If it is required, we will also liaise with your solicitor and can speak to a nominated third party, if this would be helpful for you, however they will not be able to make decisions on your behalf. We will seek to establish your financial position by reviewing your current income and household expenditure. This can help clarify matters for us and for you.

We will also give you reasonable time to pay back the debt and will only start proceedings to repossess your home if we cannot solve the problem with you.


Possible remedies

In order to help you resolve the situation, we might be able to do the following:

  • Arrange a new payment plan with you, taking your and our interests into account

  • Change the way you make your payments, or the date you make them

  • Allow you to pay back your mortgage over a longer period of time (which would reduce your monthly payments)

  • Change the type of mortgage

If we can make one of these arrangements with you, we will explain how it would work and give you time to consider it. If we cannot offer any of these options we will tell you why, we might agree to you remaining in the property to sell the property yourself depending on your circumstances.


How you can help us

It is essential that you tell us as soon as possible if you are having problems repaying your mortgage or think that you might experience problems in the future. If you find yourself in difficulty or worrying that you soon might be, you should seek debt advice to help you better understand how to manage your finances.

In addition, the following may help:

  • Make sure you keep any other people paying the mortgage, and anyone guaranteeing the mortgage, up to date with what is happening

  • Keep to the payment plan we agree with you, or tell us if there is a change in your circumstances which may affect the arrangement. If you do not make the agreed payments, we might have to go to court to get back any money you owe us, or to repossess your property

  • Check whether you can get any state benefits or tax credits which could help to increase your income

  • If you have an insurance policy, check whether it would help with your payments

  • Tell us if you move to a new address

You may want to talk to a professional adviser, such as a debt counsellor or a solicitor, before you change your mortgage arrangements. We would strongly advise that you seek independent, free, debt advice.


There is help available

Further help can be found on The Money and Pensions Service website here. The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is an arm’s-length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, established at the beginning of 2019. They offer free and impartial money and debt advice on their Money Helper page, which can be found here.

The Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Debtline have also produced a booklet giving straightforward advice on what to do if you can’t pay your mortgage. The online leaflet contains useful contact information if you would prefer to speak to someone over the phone.

Don’t worry if you would prefer to speak to us first, as we can refer you directly to The Money and Pensions Service for free confidential help and guidance.


Costs and charges

We aim to be clear regarding potential costs and charges. If you are in arrears, we may charge you for reasonable administrative and legal costs. If you do not maintain contact with us we may use the services of a field agent to ensure that you have received our correspondence and that your property is secure; any costs incurred doing this will be passed to you. We will always tell you the amount you will have to pay.


When a solution cannot be reached

If a solution cannot be reached we may go to court and start proceedings to repossess your home. If proceedings take place, we strongly recommend that you attend the court and that you seek independent debt advice.

Starting court proceedings does not necessarily mean that we will repossess your home as we will keep trying to solve the problem with you – repossession is a last resort.

Before we repossess your home, we will give you advice about contacting your local authority to see if they can find you somewhere else to live.

If we repossess your home we are committed to all of the following:

  • Selling it for the best price we can reasonably get

  • Selling it as soon as possible

  • Giving you reasonable time to take your possessions from your home

  • Using the money raised from selling your home to pay your mortgage and any other loans or charges

  • Paying you any remaining money


When the sale of your home does not pay off the balance of your mortgage

If there is not enough money from the sale to pay the whole mortgage, you will still owe us the amount that is left (a shortfall debt). We will tell you what this is as soon as possible.

If there is indemnity insurance and The Cambridge makes a claim to cover any shortfall, the insurer has the right to recover from you any monies paid to us. We may seek to recover on the insurer's behalf the money you owe at the same time as recovering the balance of our loss which was not covered by indemnity insurance.

If you bought your home with other borrowers, each of you is responsible for all the money borrowed. This is true even if you normally only pay part of the mortgage. We will contact you within six years of selling your property (five years in Scotland) to arrange for you to pay back what you still owe.

In the event of a shortfall debt it is also important to be aware of the following:

  • We will take account of your income and outgoings when we arrange a payment plan for this shortfall debt with you

  • If we cannot arrange a suitable plan, we may go to court to get our money back. You might have to pay additional court costs

  • If a shortfall debt is not paid, it could affect whether you are able to get credit in the future


Additional information

We must advise you that if you fail to make your mortgage payments and we are unable to reach an agreement with you to repay the debt, we will record the default with a credit reference agency. The default will remain on record with the credit reference agency for six years.


There is help available

The Building Societies Association (BSA) and the Money Advice Trust (MAT) have produced a booklet giving straightforward advice on what to do if you can’t pay your mortgage. The Money Advice Trust also have a website and a free debt advice helpline number 0808 808 4000.

Further help can be found on The Money Advice Service website. They offer free and impartial money advice.


Treating you fairly

If you do not think we have treated you fairly, you can complain to: 

Victoria Stubbs

Chief Risk Officer

Cambridge Building Society

51 Newmarket Road




You may wish to read our full complaints procedure

If your complaint is not dealt with to your satisfaction, you may then take it to the Financial Ombudsman. The Financial Ombudsman Service provides a free and independent service for consumers and can be contacted at:

Financial Ombudsman Service

Exchange Tower


E14 9SR


Phone: 0800 023 4567, free for people phoning from a 'fixed line' phone (for example, a landline at home) or 0300 123 9123, free for mobile phone users who pay a monthly charge for calls to numbers starting 01 or 02.




Further loans and legal advice

Some companies may offer you new loans or even invite you to sell your property to them and then lease it back as a way of resolving your short term financial difficulty. Please be careful, as such actions may not be in your long term best interests. We would always advise you to seek independent advice before entering into any arrangement of this type.

If you are thinking about handing your keys over to us, you will still owe us any outstanding debt. We would advise you to discuss this option with us before taking such action.





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