After you apply for a hardship variation - Mortgage stress

Mortgage stress logoAfter you give your hardship notice, the lender has 21 days to make a decision, or ask you to provide for more information. (For example, to send in copies of payslips, medical certificates or a current statement of your financial position)

You should provide any information the lender asks for within 21 days of their request. Once it has received your additional information, the lender has 21 days to make a decision about your application.

When the lender makes a decision, it must send you a written response that:

  • states whether or not the lender agrees to your hardship variation, 
  • if your application was refused, explains why it was refused, and
  • explains how to lodge a dispute with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), the free external dispute resolution scheme that deals with disputes between lenders and consumers. 

Hardship variation flowchart

What if my hardship application is approved?

If the lender agrees to the suggested change, the lender must set out the details of the new repayment arrangements in writing within 30 days after they approve the hardship variation. You should start repaying your loan in accordance with your new arrangements.

What if I can’t stick to my new arrangement to repay my loan?

Tell your lender straight away. Keep paying as much as you can afford. You may need to make another hardship variation if your circumstances change.

What if my hardship application is refused or the lender fails to respond in time?

If your lender refuses your hardship variation, they must give reasons. If you are not happy with their response, you can ask to speak to their internal dispute resolution section. 

If the lender does not agree to the change you want, or does not respond within the set times, the best step you can take is to lodge a complaint with AFCA for a review of that decision.

Can I apply for another hardship variation?

There are no restrictions on making another hardship variation. But repeatedly asking for hardship variations may indicate that you are facing financial problems that you are not going to be able to sort out. You may need to think about your other options.

Can I go to court?

If your lender rejects your application for a hardship variation, you can apply to the court under section 74 of the National Credit Code to change your credit contract. Get legal advice before doing this.

Important information about enforcement proceedings

After you submit a hardship notice, the lender generally cannot start mortgage enforcement proceedings until after it has sent its written response about whether or not the hardship variation has been approved. The lender can take some steps, but only the minimum required to protect its legal rights.

This rule does not apply if you have previously applied for the same hardship variation in the previous 4 months. 


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The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.