How to apply for a hardship variation - Mortgage stress

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The best way to apply for a hardship variation is to put your request in writing. This way you and the lender have a clear record of what you are seeking. A sample letter is included at the end of this page.

Written applications can be sent by post, email or fax. You should make a copy of everything you send to the lender.

You can call your lender and ask for a hardship variation over the phone. Make notes of all phone conversations and what was said.

Remember: You should keep making regular repayments (or as much as you can afford) while you wait for a response to your hardship notice.

When you need to act immediately

If you have received court documents, or a default notice that is about to expire: 

  • You should immediately lodge a dispute with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), and
  • Contact your lender to make a hardship variation application.

Where do I send my hardship notice letter?

Send the letter to the internal dispute resolution contact for your lender. 

You should get legal advice if your lender does not appear to be a member of AFCA.Y

Applying for a hardship variation by phone

If you are telephoning your lender to ask for a hardship variation, you must: 

  1. Make a note of the date and time of the phone call, as well as everything said. 
  2. Ask to be transferred to the financial hardship team (if there is one) or to customer service. 
  3. Give your loan details (account name,  number,  amount you pay each week/fortnight/month). 
  4. Explain you are in financial hardship and why. For example, because you lost your job or have a serious illness. Estimate how long you think your financial problems will go on for.
  5. Say:
         a)    You want to change your loan repayments in accordance with section 72 of the National Credit Code because you are experiencing financial hardship.       
         b)    What changes you want to make to your repayments, and for how long.
         c)    How you plan to return to normal repayments.
  6. Ask how much your new repayments will be at the end of the variation. If you won’t be able to afford these new repayments, insist on extending the term or length of the loan instead. 
  7. Request that all legal action, default fees and default interest stop while your request is being considered. 
  8. Ask for your lender’s postal address and/or email address so that you can confirm the agreement in writing. 
  9. Write to your lender and confirm the agreement in writing.

Checklist before applying for a hardship variation

  • Have you kept a copy of the letter you sent to your lender?
  • Have you made notes of your phone conversations with your lender (who you spoke to, why you said you needed the variation, what changes you asked for, what your lender said)?
  • Have you dated your letter or notes of your phone application?
  • Have you asked for a change to your loan contract that you can afford and be able to keep to?
  • Are you keeping up your repayments while you wait for a response?

Useful documents


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.