You may find this factsheet useful if you are struggling to make your mortgage repayments (“repayments”) and you have not received a default notice from your bank yet.
If you have already received a default notice, you should read our factsheet about how to respond to default notices.
This fact sheet covers:
The first thing you should do is speak to a financial counsellor. A financial counsellor will be able to help you to:
If you are hoping to negotiate with the bank to change your repayments, a financial counsellor will be able to help you decide what change is best for you.
You can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free financial counselling. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.
You should act quickly by contacting your bank immediately if you want to negotiate a change to your repayments.
You should contact the bank immediately if:
It becomes harder to negotiate with your bank once you have missed a few repayments.
You should first try to work out a solution with the bank by contacting your bank’s financial hardship team and asking for a change to your repayments.
It’s best to do this in writing so you have a record.
You should include details such as:
If you would prefer to speak to the bank, make sure to make notes of the conversation. Contact telephone numbers for the major bank lenders’ hardship teams are:
Tip: Speaking to the bank
The bank is unlikely to agree to a change to your repayments unless you can show that you will be able to stick to the changed arrangement. A financial counsellor will be able to recommend the best arrangement for you
What if I simply can’t afford to make any repayments and my circumstances are unlikely to change?
You should speak to a financial counsellor as soon as possible to discuss your options. You need to find a solution that’s best for your own personal and financial circumstances. Negotiating a change to your repayments is not the right choice if you won’t be able make any repayments even after the change. You must make sure that you do not commit to any arrangements you cannot afford.
If you’re not happy with the bank’s decision you can make a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). You should read our factsheet on resolving problems with your bank at AFCA before making your complaint.
You should get legal advice before taking this step.
What if my bank has given me a mortgage holiday because of COVID-19?
The bank should contact you before the mortgage holiday ends. However, if you can’t afford to start making repayments again, you should contact the bank as soon as possible to try to negotiate an arrangement.
For example, you could ask the bank to extend the mortgage holiday for a few more months or ask if you can start with interest repayments only. The sooner you start to negotiate with the bank, the better your chances of finding a solution.