Having a home is good for you and provides stability. Sadly, one wrong thing happens and it causes a lot of stress.
Problems paying rent or mortgage should always start with talking to your lender or landlord (or agent). See what help they can provide. If that is not available or does not work for you then check out what is below for helpful hints on what to do or call us for a chat.
Mandy and Steven have three children and live in a house out on country. The house is secured under mortgage with a bank. Mandy makes the payments to the bank every month and Steven pays Mandy. One day, Steven breaks his leg at his construction job and cannot work. Steven is applying for workers comp but Mandy is having a hard time keeping up with the mortgage.
Mandy has missed a few payments then gets a letter from the bank with the words ‘Default Notice’. Mandy is scared and wants to ignore it, but knows it won’t go away.
Sometimes we miss paying for the rent because of hard times, like losing our job or having an accident. Missed rent payments are called ‘arrears’. If these arrears are not fixed then it could mean eventually you are evicted.
If you have arrears, there are some things you can do:
1. Talk to your landlord – Everyone can do this and negotiate an agreement with the landlord for something like financial hardship until you get better. Just make sure it’s in writing.
2. Talk to a tenancy advocate or financial counsellor – they can look at your budget and help negotiate with the land lord to cut you some slack while you get better.
3. Talk to Centrelink for ‘tenancy assistance’ – if you have Centrelink, you can apply for rent assistance through through local Centrelink office.
The laws on rent arrears can be a bit different for each state and territory so please check the Tenants Union website.
Interest rates, job loss, illness and so much more can sometimes make paying the mortgage really hard and even get us to fall behind. If you get a default notice, then you have 30 days to pay off the arrears or else the bank could start repossessing your home.
If you are falling behind or about to fall behind, your first call is to call the bank and ask about hardship arrangements. A Financial Counsellor can help you as well with money management and with talking to the banks. Some possible arrangements might include a moratorium (when the bank agrees you stop payments or reduce payments for a short time); capitalising the arrears (when your missed payments are added to the end of your loan) or time to sell your home (a last resort if there is no way to get back to regular payments).
For more information, check our factsheet on Mortgage Stress.
Sometimes you could also be paying strata and council rates where you live. These are payable under state and territory laws as contributions to maintain the area. If you are having troubles paying for this then don’t ignore it. Call Mob Strong for advice and help.
There are different types of home insurance:
There are three fundamental rights if you have an insurance policy:
Read our home insurance fact sheets to learn more: