Sorting by


‘After my mortgage payments doubled to I’ve been having 45p chocolate bars for dinner’

Sylvie Marsh* sometimes has a 45 pence chocolate bar for dinner as her mortgage payments, which have over doubled in the past year, leaves her with “basically nothing”.

The school worker bought her home in 2006 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire alongside her husband. Following 14 successive rate rises by the Bank of England since the end of 2021, Mrs Marsh has seen her monthly bills increase from £340 to £760.

She’s also in £700 arrears which has left her with a “rubbish credit rating” and made it difficult for her to sleep at night.

Mrs Marsh’s income, which is currently £16,500, barely covers their bills and the thought of another rate rise is worrying. She said seeing the news “fills me with dread” and she’d rather “not know sometimes”.

She said: “Life’s hard enough without interest rate rising. Why did they have to raise it? There’s no savings to offset it.”

Her husband, 60, retired in 2015 and lives off a private pension which is around £9,500 per annum.

The couple have lived in their home for 30 years as they rented it before buying. They were advised by Northern Rock to take out an interest-only mortgage. “They advised us for that short time to go interest only which we did. From then we’ve never been in a position to claw our way back out. I was on maternity leave and then I cared for my parents until 2016. In 2015 my partner retired due to ill health,” she told i.

In 2006 Mrs Marsh believed she was “sorted for life” but now she believes it’s “the worst advice I’ve had in my life”.

After the 2008 financial crash when Northern Rock went bust, they were transferred to NRAM and now Landmark who she has lodged a complaint against. “Landmark are saying that they’re charging the same interest rate as Northern Rock would have but I’ve looked back and the highest interest rate I ever paid was 7.6.”

Now, even with a 0.25 per cent discount, the couple’s percentage rate is 9.14. The average two-year fixed rate is 6.83 per cent.

Mrs Marsh is a “mortgage prisoner” – one of around 195,000 people who took out unfavourable high-interest or interest-only mortgages with lenders before the 2008 crisis or shortly afterwards before lending restrictions were tightened. Many of those lenders no longer offer mortgages or have since folded entirely, leaving mortgage prisoners stuck.

They are effectively being held hostage by the mortgages they are on and unable to get a new mortgage deal because they do not meet current lender criteria, due to factors such as their age, income, or credit score.

To get by, Mrs Marsh often borrows money or uses vouchers. “I’m always borrowing. Three of my brothers have helped me out, a couple of my friends. I’ve always paid them back. Luckily one of my friends manages her money well. I owed her £200 but she said ‘pay it back when you’re sorted’. That’s a big relief.

“I use quite a lot of vouchers but sometimes it’s bizarre because you can use a voucher from Argos for Sainsbury’s at £15 but sometimes I’ve only got £10. It’s finding the extra £5 from somewhere to make £15 worth of shopping. Some days I’m just sick of it. I can’t continue.”

Due to her allergies, Mrs Marsh is unable to go to food banks as her diet is so limited. She said: “Sometimes I have a 45p bar of chocolate for my dinner if things are that bad. It’s cheap and cheerful, it’s cheaper than fruit. I don’t have a choice.”

Her life feels on hold as she struggles to do anything other than survive. “On a lovely day we could go to the seaside but we’re just scraping enough to get everything in for tea. The other night we bought chicken from Asda and it was horrible. We lost three nights of tea.

“It’s hard. I’m 48 I should be able to at least afford to go out at least once every few years with friends but I can’t.”

Now, although she “really doesn’t want to” Mrs Marsh is looking at giving up her home and moving into a rented place.

She is part of the UK Mortgage Prisoners campaign group. When talking about them she said: “We didn’t ask to be put in this position. We didn’t ask to get sold on and sold on and ripped off.”

*name has been changed

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button