Coronavirus and your home
Help with your mortgage
The FCA has issued several pieces of guidance for requesting a payment holiday if you are affected by coronavirus and struggling to pay your mortgage. The most recent guidance includes the following support.
- If you have been affected by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday, you will be entitled to a six-month payment holiday in total. (Although your lender can only agree a three-month payment holiday at a time).
- If you’ve had a payment holiday previously or are currently on a payment holiday, you will be able to extend up to a total of six months.
You have until 31 March 2021 to ask your mortgage lender for a payment holiday. After this date, you may also be able to extend your existing payment holiday up to 31 July 2021. However, you cannot go over the six-month limit that the FCA guidance allows.
The payment holiday will not be recorded on your credit file; however potential lenders may still be able to find out that you didn’t make these payments as originally agreed in other ways, for example, by looking at your bank statements.
If you previously had a payment holiday which has ended and you can afford to make your mortgage payments again, do so. You will also need to contact your lender to discuss how you are going to catch up with the missed payments.
If you’ve already had six months of payment holidays and you are still unable to afford the payments, contact your lender as soon as possible. Discuss your situation and ask what forbearance options are available. Ask your lender how this will affect your credit file.
The FCA has also said that while lenders can continue with repossession action, a firm should not enforce repossession of a property before 1 April 2021.
This does not mean that your lender will take court action. However if your lender starts new possession action in England and Wales or asks the court to re-start a claim that was previously suspended because of coronavirus, there are extra rules that they need to follow. For more information, see our Mortgage arrears fact sheet.
If you have received possession claim forms, are being threatened with court action or need extra support, contact:
- Shelter on 0808 800 4444 if you live in England;
- Shelter Cymru on 0800 049 5495 if you live in Wales; or
Information is also available on their websites.
Help to Buy customers
You can apply until 31 March 2021 for a payment holiday if you were affected by coronavirus and struggling to pay your Help to Buy equity loan. The Help to Buy website has an online Payment Holiday Application that you can use.
- If you have already had a payment holiday, you may be able to ask for a further three months.
- However, you will not be eligible to apply for another payment holiday if you have already had two payment holidays that total six months.
Interest will continue to be added to your equity loan during a payment holiday.
When an agreed payment holiday ends, loan payments will automatically return to the normal monthly amount. You will need to contact Help to Buy on 0345 848 0236 to discuss how you are going to catch up with the missed payments.
If you are worried about making repayments you should contact Help to Buy (Wales) Ltd on 0800 0937 937 to discuss your situation.
Help with your rent
The Government has introduced new temporary laws to protect tenants. From 26 March 2020 until 30 September 2020, landlords could give at least three months' notice before they can start court action to evict you. This has now been updated.
- In Wales, new regulations update the notice period that landlords need to give to end most tenancies. From 29 August 2020 to 31 March 2021, in most cases a landlord must give you six months' notice.
- In England, new regulations update the notice period that landlords need to give to end most tenancies. From 29 August 2020 to 31 March 2021, in most cases where there is less than six months of rent arrears, a landlord must give you six months' notice.
From 27 March 2020 until 20 September 2020 the court service in England and Wales suspended (stayed) most possession action because of coronavirus. This temporary stay has now ended. This does not mean that your landlord will begin court action.
If you cannot afford to pay your rent or already have arrears, contact your landlord as soon as possible to discuss your situation.
If your landlord starts new possession action in England and Wales or asks the court to re-start a claim that was previously suspended because of coronavirus, there are extra rules that they need to follow. For more information, see our Rent arrears fact sheet.
In England, the government has introduced temporary laws that mean, in most cases evictions will not be carried out by bailiffs until 31 March 2021 at the earliest. However, there are some exceptions, such as where the court has made an order because:
- there was anti-social behaviour; or
- there were rent arrears which added up to at least six months’ worth of rent.
If your landlord has used the section 21 process only, you can't be evicted by court bailiffs until after 31 March 2021.
The section 21 process can only be used for assured shorthold tenancies. Your landlord does not need to give a reason, such as rent arrears, for asking for the property back. However, your landlord must follow certain rules. Also, they will need a court order and to use court bailiffs to evict you. Check your paperwork. It will tell you the reason that the landlord has used to ask for the property back.
In Wales, the Government has also introduced a temporary law that means in most cases evictions will not be carried out by bailiffs until 31 March 2021. There are some exceptions, such as where the court has made an order because of trespass, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour and nuisance.
If you are contacted by a bailiff who is threatening eviction, contact Shelter for help.
If you claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with help towards housing costs, you may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment. A Discretionary Housing Payment can give you extra money to pay towards your rent. You should be able to claim online, check with your local council.
In Wales, the Tenant Saver Loan Scheme is now open. This scheme offers loans to certain private sector tenants in Wales to cover rent arrears that have built up since 1 March 2020. To check whether you are eligible, see Credit Unions Wales.
Information is also available on their websites.
If you cannot afford to pay your rent or already have arrears, contact your landlord as soon as possible to discuss your situation. If your landlord is unhelpful, contact:
- Shelter on 0808 800 4444 if you live in England; or
- Shelter Cymru on 0800 049 5495 if you live in Wales