MONEY CLINIC | Will I be under debt review until my home loan is paid off?

Due to the economic impact of the pandemic and related lockdown, many tenants are now in rent arrears.
Due to the economic impact of the pandemic and related lockdown, many tenants are now in rent arrears.

A Fin24 reader looking for clarity on the debt reviewing process writes to an expert for advice.

She writes:

I need some clarity when it comes to your bond when you under debt review. I am currently under debt review and just wish to know if I have paid off all my other debts besides the bond, will I still be under debt review until the bond is paid off? 

Sebastien Alexanderson, CEO of debt counselling firm National Debt Advisors responds:

The simple answer is no, you (and your bond) will not remain under debt review if all your unsecured debt is paid up.

Though many people are under the impression that excluding their home loans from debt review will help save their homes from repossession, this is not the case. Debt counsellors and the NCR agree that your home is safer under debt review, than not (if all your other debt is under debt review). The National Credit Act (NCA) also requires that all your credit agreements (debts) including your home loan -  are included in your debt review process. 

Our purpose as debt counsellors is not only to reduce your monthly instalments, but also to give you peace of mind. Understandably, a large part of that peace of mind for many of our customers is knowing that their home is safe from legal action. 

The term of your home loan is obviously much longer than that of your unsecured debt (credit cards, personal loan, store cards, vehicle finance etc) so it is obvious that your unsecured debt will be paid up way before your home loan. 

When this happens, your debt counsellor will issue you with a clearance certificate for your unsecured debt. These accounts will all be marked as "paid up" at the credit bureaus.

Your home loan will then be taken off debt review. Your status at the credit bureau will then reflect as F1. This, in conjunction with your clearance certificate for your unsecured debt will mean that you are eligible to once again obtain credit. (Your affordability and other lending criteria of banks and creditors will still play a role here.) 

Once you receive your debt review clearance certificate you start your credit journey almost with a clean slate. It is important to not fall back into the trap of borrowing more than you can pay back and living beyond your means. Use the tools of budgeting that you used whilst under debt review to maintain a balanced financial lifestyle.

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