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Treating Customers Fairly

The FCA states that ‘Treating Customers Fairly is central to the delivery of its retail regulatory agenda, which aims to ensure an efficient and effective market and thereby help consumers to achieve a ‘fair deal’.

At Acenden, Treating Customers Fairly (“TCF”) is central to all that we do. We have embedded TCF within our culture and aim to ensure that we treat customers consistently and fairly in the services we provide.

Dealing fairly with customers in arrears

If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, Acenden, acting for and on behalf of your Lender, will try to help you where it can. This section explains how you will be treated, and what steps you should take to help yourself.

We Will

  • Contact you as soon as possible to discuss your payment difficulties
  • Liaise with independent money-advice agencies / providers (for example, Citizens Advice), if you want us to and where you have given authority for us to do so
  • Consider proposals as to how you will repay your arrears
  • Only start proceedings to repossess your home if we cannot solve the payment difficulties with you

We might be able to

  • Arrange a new payment plan with you to clear your arrears over an appropriate period of time, taking both your and your Lender’s interests into account.
  • Change the method by which you make your payments, or the date you make your payments. (Where your Lender agrees to change your payment date, you may be required to pay your mortgage by a method other than direct debit.)
  • Allow you to pay back your mortgage over a longer period of time (which would reduce your monthly payments).
  • Offer an alternative option to help you manage your arrears. As this may result in your Lender varying the terms of your mortgage a fee may be payable for this. Please visit our contact details section to get in touch with us and discuss your options.

If we can make one of these arrangements with you, we will explain how it would work and give you time to consider it. Where no feasible payment plan can be made or it is not in your interest, and you decide to sell the property your Lender may allow you to remain in the property for a reasonable period to enable you to sell the property yourself. If, however, we cannot offer you any of these options, we will tell you why.

What you can do

  • Tell us as soon as possible if you are having trouble repaying your mortgage or think that you might experience payment difficulties shortly.
  • Seek free independent debt advice if you would like help with managing your finances.
  • Contact us quickly. We will have people available to take your calls during our usual business hours.
  • Make sure you keep any other parties to the mortgage up to date with what is happening.
  • Keep to any 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 maintain the agreed payments and all other options available to us have failed, your Lender may go to court to recover any money you owe, or to repossess your property.
  • Check whether you are entitled to 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 address.
  • For serious payment difficulties, check whether you will qualify for any government backed mortgage rescue scheme.

You may want to talk to a professional advisor, such as a debt counsellor or a lawyer, before you change your mortgage arrangements. We would strongly suggest that you seek free independent debt advice. You can find a list of useful contacts within the Money Advice Service guide 'Problems paying your mortgage'.

Costs and charges

If you are in arrears, you may incur fees and legal costs in accordance with the Lender’s Tariff of Charges and Sundry Fees Guide current at the time.

If we cannot agree on a solution

  • We may send a Field Agent to see you to discuss your financial circumstances. We may also send a Field Agent if we are unable to contact you in order to set a payment arrangement. In these instances your Lender will charge a fee. Please refer to your Tariff of Charges and Sundry Fees Guide for more details.
  • Your Lender may go to court to start proceedings to repossess your home. If proceedings take place, we strongly suggest that you attend the court hearing and that you seek independent debt advice.
  • Starting court proceedings does not necessarily mean that your Lender will repossess your home. Your Lender will keep trying to resolve the problem with you. Possession is a last resort.
  • In the event that your Lender repossesses your home, we would suggest that you contact your local authority before repossession to establish whether you are eligible for local authority housing.

If your Lender repossesses your home

  • Your property will be marketed for sale as soon as possible. On behalf of the Lender we will arrange to sell it for the best price that can reasonably be obtained, having particular regard to market conditions as well as the continuing increase in the amount owed by you.
  • You will be given up to 14 days to take your possessions from your home following the date of possession.
  • The money raised from selling your home will go towards repayment of your mortgage, any related fees and any other secured loans or charges.
  • If there is any money left over, we will pay it to you. However in order for us to easily process the payment, please ensure you provide us with a forwarding address.

If selling your home does not raise enough money to pay off the mortgage

  • If there is not enough money from the sale to repay the whole mortgage and any fees relating to the sale, you will still have to pay the amount that is left (the shortfall). You will be notified as soon as possible after the sale of any shortfall.
  • Where a shortfall exists, your Lender can start actions to recover the shortfall at any time up to six years after the sale (five years in Scotland).
  • If you bought your home with other customers, each of you is responsible for all the money borrowed. This is true even if you normally only pay part of the mortgage.
  • Account will be taken of your income and outgoings when a payment plan is arranged for repayment of any shortfall. If a suitable plan cannot be arranged, your Lender may go to court to get their money back. In such circumstances, you might have to pay additional court costs.
  • You should be aware that other creditors may contact you with regards to any shortfalls they might have.
  • If a shortfall debt is not paid, it could affect whether you are able to get credit in the future.

Complaints

We undertake the complaint handling responsibilities for and on behalf of the Lenders and Owners for whom we act as the appointed servicer of your mortgage.

In addition, you may also make a complaint about Acenden’s activities for which we have sole responsibility.

Whether or not we are acting for and on behalf of your Lender or Owner, or in our own right in the complaint handling process, we will deal with your complaint promptly and fairly.

Please visit our complaints page for further information.

Other things to think about

Some companies may offer you new loans or even invite you to sell your property to them and then rent 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 suggest you seek independent advice before entering into any arrangement of this type. Since 1st July 2009 sale and rent back schemes have been regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so please ensure you deal with a FCA authorised firm. You can check whether a firm is FCA authorised on the FCA website.

You may be thinking about handing your keys over to your Lender. If you do this, you will still be responsible for paying your mortgage until the property is sold. If your house sells for less than you owe, your mortgage will not be fully repaid and you will have to pay the shortfall. Before taking such action we would suggest you discuss this option with us first.


Act now:

  • Contact us and discuss your individual circumstances
  • Get some independent advice from a Financial Conduct Authority authorised adviser

Please note that Acenden Limited is not responsible for the content of external websites. The inclusion of these external links does not constitute an endorsement of the services they provide.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

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