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HOPE

Home Ownership Protection Enterprise

'Experts through Experience'

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Family Breakfast
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What is HOPE
Home Ownership
Protection Enterprise?

HOPE is a unique ‘experts through experience’ mediation and dispute resolution service that aims to provide an end-to-end open communication channel between mortgage providers and homeowners resolving borrower difficulties which would inevitably prevent homelessness caused through repossession. 

Discover how HOPE
will work with you

Our aim is to offer you dedicated support and guidance throughout the mediation process.

We understand that facing mortgage difficulties can be overwhelming, we’ve been there; having personally faced the prospect of repossession and acutely understand the emotional, financial, social, and physical impact this can have, which is why we are here to assist you. Let us help you get back on track to mortgage stability, and relief from the fear of losing your family home.

Get Started

We invite you to take the first step towards finding a solution to end your mortgage difficulties, and prevent possible repossession.

By filling out our online form, the HOPE team will be committed to guiding you through the process and providing support along the way.

What is HOPE?

HOPE is a unique ‘experts through experience’ mediation and dispute resolution service that aims to provide an

end-to-end open communication channel between mortgage providers and homeowners, resolving borrower difficulties which would inevitably prevent homelessness caused through repossession. 

HOPE, is the brainchild of the UK Mortgage Prisoner campaign work. We are working for HOPE to be a recognised support service available to all homeowners experiencing financial difficulties and faced with repossession.  We see these vulnerable customers being signposted to our mediation service by mortgage providers, brokers and advisers, local authorities, charities, and the courts. We aim to guide the financial industry on how to treat people fairly, and how to deal with people who are mentally ill, which is often attributed to the pressure of their financial situation. We want their vulnerability departments to work with our service and homeowners rather than pursuing repossessions of homes. 

Currently help is available for renters via local authorities and charities such as Shelter, Crisis and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. However, over the years, similar support for homeowners has been stripped away. Citizens Advice Bureau, Christians Against Poverty, Step Change, Money and Pension Services and the many other organisations who offer debt advice,  will be instrumental in identifying and referring consumers to our specialist service. 

As a non-judgemental independent specialist, applying our unique knowledge and experience. HOPE provides a safe environment that allows all sides to work through difficulties together to reach a mutually acceptable outcome, whilst ensuring vulnerability is identified at an early stage so that appropriate policies are complied with, preventing further distress for the homeowner, and removing the risk of total communication breakdown between parties. We’ve been there; having personally faced the prospect of repossession and acutely understand the emotional, financial, social, and physical impact this can have. Mortgage providers, and administrators we’ve worked with are engaging and are seeing the value in the service we are providing.  

Many historic interest only mortgages are coming to an end now and over the next decade. Due to circumstances which pre existed regulatory changes after the 2008 Global Financial Crash, a large number of these mortgage borrowers do not have any or sufficient plan for repayment of capital outstanding. An increasing number of these borrowers are facing end of term repossession proceedings even where no arrears exist. HOPE seeks to assist in either directing the customer to independent financial advice sources providing alternate mortgage products which may be suitable or in the worst case to negotiate time for sale rather than repossession and assist the Borrower in finding alternative accommodation where possible.

Our work achieves, 

  • negotiating a fair mortgage product and/ or lower interest rate giving the customer additional financial freedom. 

  • Families are able to stay in their homes which provides stability e.g. children remain in their schools, family able to remain in the home adapted for a disability

  • Remove the major source of distress, impacting on mental and physical health of the entire family. 

  • By avoiding repossessions there is less pressure on local authority and Government resources to offer housing and services to the homeless families. 

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Help is out there, but what happens when the pre action protocol is not adhered to?

Mortgage providers have a protocol to follow during repossession cases but often points are missed or not followed correctly.  Sometimes the homeowner is suffering from an illness or poor mental health which can result in problems keeping and staying in contact.  Regardless of the homeowners situation, the overwhelming worry and stress can cause further deterioration in the homeowners mental health, leading them to “put their head in the sand" and ignore the situation altogether.  They will leave letters unopened, not answer telephone calls and they won't call you back.  All this avoidance does is move the repossession process further on and the homeowner misses out on vital help and support they could have used to turn the situation around.

Most repossessions and evictions can be worked out long before it gets to that stage.  It often needs a non-judgemental independent person to create a safe environment so all sides can come together, work through the issues and come to a satisfactory resolution for everyone.

How will HOPE work for me?

The relationship between a borrower and a lender is a crucial one, and it's important that the lender treats the borrower fairly. If you're struggling with payments or arrears, your lender should consider any suggestions you make to resolve the situation. Repossession of your home should only be considered as a last resort, after all reasonable attempts to resolve the issue have failed.

HOPE should be contacted as soon as payment problems arise so that the mediation service can begin.  HOPE will facilitate open conversations between the lender and customer to ascertain the issues and offer advice about payment options and solutions and work towards resolution.

Each mortgage lender will provide HOPE with a clear pre-action protocol detailing steps attempted and the outcome at each stage.

If your lender doesn't follow these rules

Make a formal written complaint to your lender if they don't follow the MCOB rules.

If you're unhappy with the response or you don't hear from the lender within 8 weeks of your complaint.

The FOS can look at the way the lender has dealt with your case. Sometimes the FOS will tell the lender to stop court action and come to a reasonable repayment arrangement out of court.

Although complaining to the FOS is the correct approach at this stage, this is no longer a feasible option on its own.  There are huge backlogs at the FOS and mortgage complaints have a wait time of 18 months at present.  This is too long to allow a situation to escalate out of control.

FOS react too slowly to mortgage complaints and through our lived experience we feel this is where HOPE can step in and assist all parties, customer, mortgage provider, local authority and the courts, to reach a mutually acceptable outcome for all and at a fraction of the cost of rehousing a family after repossession.

The court has rules about what a lender should do before starting court action. The lender will have to show the court that they've followed the protocol if there's a repossession hearing.

They should also give you an information sheet about mortgage arrears from the Money Advice Service or Shelter.  

Your lender must consider any repayment plan you suggest. If they don't accept your proposal, they must write to you within 10 working days to explain why.

Keep to any agreement you do make. The lender must give you 15 working days' notice if they intend to go to court because you've broken the agreement.

At this point HOPE would request all charges are halted as this only serves to exacerbate the situation and prevents any payments made from paying down the arrears.

Although information from these organisations are helpful to have, this does not help in stopping a repossession taking place.  

HOPE will play a key role here in establishing what is “reasonable behaviour” and will support the customer in making their decision.  This can be a very overwhelming situation for the customer so HOPE will be there by their side to help make sense of any offers and work out what they can or cannot afford.  HOPE will be a completely independent service that lenders, local authorities and customers can all turn to for help in preventing repossessions.

Your lender may delay court action if you've applied for and are likely to qualify for any of the following benefits,

  • universal credit

  • homelessness from the council

  • support for mortgage interest loan (SMI)

  • Mortgage Protection Payments, from an insurance policy.

It's important to show that you are seeking debt advice and can meet any payments not covered by benefits or insurance, or that you expect your finances to improve in the foreseeable future. Failure to do so may result in the court proceeding with legal action.

Applying for benefits and receiving a decision can take up to 16 weeks; that is potentially 4 mortgage payments that are missed.  Lenders should be developing a mutually agreed plan and providing support for the consumer while they await the benefit decision.  This is another area where HOPE will be able to help, by liaising with local authority and assisting with benefits applications. To identify available housing options should the customer become homeless as a result of repossession, and see if the local authorities could offer any additional assistance

Your lender must consider delaying court action if you're taking steps to sell your home.  

HOPE should be involved once the decision to sell is made.  We will facilitate discussions between all parties to create a pathway to prevent homelessness.  We will seek assurance from the local authority that housing support is available if the customer has not been able to secure alternative housing.  This will prevent the need for emergency housing which only creates further issues for the family.  HOPE will be instrumental in identifying the specific needs of the family at this critical point.

Your mortgage provider must write to you 5 working days before they start court action and explain why they are applying to court.  

This timeline is too short and HOPE will be asking lenders to review this urgently.  Notice of court action should be a minimum 14 days to allow people, often under extreme mental stress and worry, enough time to seek help from a multitude of agencies and charities.  If not already involved, we expect HOPE to be contacted at this point along with the local authority by the lender and the court.

Some of Our Success Stories

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Faced with unaffordable mortgage repayments, Mr B approached his lender to renegotiate to a lower rate, to ease the financial pressure of the high monthly payments. This was refused on a number of occasions.

With the increasing stress Mr B suffered a mental breakdown and arrears began to build up. Attempting to resolve the issue, Mr B began to pay his contractual payment plus repayment towards the arrears. Unfortunately Mr B’s mental health spiralled due to the fear of losing his family’s home. This mounting pressure resulted in a suicide attempt which required assistance from the Transport Police and inpatient treatment at his NHS Mental Health department.

Despite continued treatment, Mr B still tried to make arrangements with his lender but with no resolution agreed to. It was at this point Mr B reached out to us for support. Our team were immediately able to identify the issues and made contact with the lender to ascertain if all pre-action protocol was being carried out with repossession imminent. The mediation process began and a plan going forward agreed by both Mr B and the lender,

  • Agreed plan through our intervention. Capitalise arrears, followed by 3*mth stable payments

  • Transfer onto new rate. Monthly payment £790 Monthly Saving £2,116 Yearly Saving £25,392

  • Intervention means Mr B can.. • send his daughter to Uni • develop his business • return to good mental health • maintain a secure future • less risk of need of LA services • enjoy an improved quality of family life

Mr H, Bristol

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Please fill in the online form below with as much detail as possible about your mortgage difficulties. This will help us understand your situation better and provide you with the best possible assistance.

Upload File
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Please complete the Letter of Authority giving HOPE @ UK Mortgage Prisoners permission to communicate with your mortgage provider on your behalf.

UK Mortgage Prisoners Ltd

50 Princes Street Ipswich IP1 1RJ

Registered Company Number 12879403

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