When home prices are climbing, it might seem like a good idea to get a HELOC and borrow against the equity you have built up in your home. However, this could come with a host of problems should home values decline. This is because a HELOC is tied to the value of your house and is a form of debt, meaning that if your home’s value drops, you could end up owing more than your home is worth. This is what happened during the Great Recession, when many homeowners were left with negative equity and no way to sell their homes.

One thing to keep in mind is that your lender can freeze or reduce the amount you can borrow from a HELOC if they have reason to believe that your financial situation has changed significantly. This can happen if you haven’t used your credit line in a while and have no plans to do so, or if your credit score has declined for any reason, including an unexpected job loss or divorce.

You can try to appeal the decision to have your HELOC reopened, but lenders will likely require that you prove that you’re financially stable and are capable of repaying what you borrow. One good way to do this is by paying down high-interest debt and working on your credit score, which can help you reduce your DTI ratio and increase your chances of getting your HELOC unfrozen or reopened.