Can I File a Consumer Proposal and Keep My House?
You’ve likely heard the radio ads or seen the commercials on television citing the benefits of consumer proposals. If you’re an individual and your total debts do not exceed $250,000 (not including debts such as a mortgage secured by your principal residence), a consumer proposal might just be the best solution.
Consumer proposals have been around for a long time, but it has been over the last decade or so that they’ve become popular as a viable solution for dealing with debt. Filing a consumer proposal is a legally binding process which involves a financial settlement to your creditors based on an accepted amount, your income and ability to repay. This often involves reducing your debt.
Some assume, incorrectly, that a consumer proposal and bankruptcy are one and the same. While both are ultimately administered by a trustee, and both are valuable tools when you’re in over your head financially, they are actually quite different. In bankruptcy, you make monthly payments to a trustee. While undischarged, you must participate in credit counselling, report income, etc., to the trustee. You are insolvent and all of your relevant assets and income are vested in the trustee until you are discharged. The trustee in bankruptcy remains in your life until you are discharged.
In a consumer proposal, an amount of money is proposed to your creditors with a 4-5 year repayment schedule. Once your creditors accept your proposal it is binding and can be paid in full at any time thereafter. Unlike bankruptcy, you are not “undischarged” and you do not have any obligations to the trustee other than making your monthly payments.
One of the most common questions we receive when individuals come to us looking for debt help is if they can keep their house if they file a consumer proposal. The answer is yes. As long as you are able to continue making your monthly mortgage payments, your mortgage lender cannot foreclose or change the terms of your mortgage just because you’ve filed a consumer proposal.
As mentioned, a consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement administered by a trustee. However, in order to reach the best settlement possible – one that benefits your creditors and one which you can realistically meet – you are best served by going to a debt specialist rather than going directly to a trustee. A trustee is required to find the best deal for both parties – which means they represent both you and your creditors. The trustee is the one with the power to determine what you can afford to pay, so entering the ring with a debt specialist who can represent your interests before any others will ensure you are protected.
If you are considering a consumer proposal to help get rid of your debt, call DebtCare first. We represent you and only you. 1 (888) 890-0888.