Being a bit behind on your mortgage repayments is one thing, but it can all turn blue pretty quick if you lose your job.
It’s something the characters in Love is Strange, the new film by Ira Sach, know all too well.
Love is Strange follows the story of Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), two lovers who have built a life together for over 30 years.
Ben and George are a couple living in New York City who appear to have it all. They’re loved up and newly wed thanks to recent marriage laws. But when they return from their honeymoon, George loses his job as the choir director of a Catholic co-ed school on account of his newly publicised vows. With no savings to count upon, things unravel fast.
In one flash second, they lose it all – their beautiful Chelsea apartment and the home they built there. The couple become separated; Ben moves in with his nephew and their family in Brooklyn, and George bunkers down with the gay cops next door.
The loss of their home puts their love to the test. But this is also a story of neighbourhood solidarity – of how a tight-knit community bands together to help their friends and family.
Critics have already the dubbed the production “a film of great gentleness and subtlety” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian) that is “laden with dignity and restraint” (Ben Rawson-Jones, Digital Spy).
If Ben and George’s story is hitting a little close to home, here are some tips for holding onto yours.
Create a budget
Interest rates are currently at all time lows. So it’s the perfect time to pay a little bit extra on the mortgage. But we must be careful not to overstretch ourselves spending-wise. Make a budget – factoring in your monthly mortgage repayments – and stick to it. Getting a clear picture of where your money is going will help you manage your debts.
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Contact your lender
In most cases if you miss a mortgage repayment you will get a send letter from your financial institution. If this happens, it can be a good time to contact your mortgage lender for additional insights. Don’t worry if you’re nervous about the conversation, your lender is a professional and deals with this situations regularly.
Often, failing to contact your lender could result in you being sent default notice. In most common cases if you’re able to pay the amount owed, plus your usual payment, you lender cannot start legal action.
If you’re struggling to put the funds together you can get in touch with your lender to apply for hardship variation. This means negotiating your repayments to something you can afford. You may need to explain why you’re having difficulties making repayments and provide a rough timeline for when you’ll be able to get back on track. Speak to your lender about your specific situation.
Explained: Understanding your mortgage
Seek legal advice
If you feel your lender’s advice isn’t hitting the mark, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service or Credit and Investments Ombudsman to lodge a dispute.
Another alternative could be to seek legal advice.
That doesn’t mean you need a fancy lawyer. You can access free legal aid from any of the following starting points:
ACT – Legal Aid ACT
NSW – Legal Aid New South Wales
Northern Territory – Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission
Queensland – Legal Aid Queensland
South Australia – Legal Services Commission of South Australia
Tasmania – Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania
Victoria – Victoria Legal Aid
Western Australia – Legal Aid Western Australia
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