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Coronavirus and your home

Help with your mortgage

FCA guidance

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 already have an existing payment holiday in place

You can extend your payment holiday up to 31 July 2021, but only if:

  • it doesn’t go over the six-month payment holiday limit; and
  • there is no break in the support.

The payment holiday will not be recorded on your credit file. However, some lenders may review your bank account if you apply for more credit. As a result, in some cases this could affect their lending decision.

If you have already had a six-month payment holiday or didn’t ask for one before 1 April 2021

If you are finding it difficult to afford your mortgage payments, contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Ask your lender what forbearance options are available and how they will affect your credit file. Your lender should provide support that is tailored to your circumstances. For example, this may include an agreement:

  • to make reduced payments or no payments for a set period of time; or
  • to change the term of your mortgage.

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.

Possession action in the courts

FCA guidance also said that while lenders could continue with possession action, they should not have enforced repossession of a property before 1 April 2021. This does not mean that your lender will take court action now. However, if your lender starts new possession action 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 your lender is threatening eviction or you have received a notice telling you that you will be evicted, contact:

  • Shelter on 0808 800 4444 if you live in England; or 
  • Shelter Cymru on 0800 049 5495 if you live in Wales.

Information is also available on their websites.

Help to Buy customers

England

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.

Wales

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

In March 2020, the Government introduced temporary regulations to protect tenants. The regulations have been updated several times and set out how much notice your landlord must give you before they can start court action to evict you.

In Wales, from 29 September 2020 until 30 September 2021, regulations say that in most cases a landlord must give you six months' notice.

In England, new regulations say the following notice is needed if your landlord wants to end your tenancy because you owe rent.

  • From 1 June 2021 to 31 July 2021, in most cases where there is less than four months of rent arrears, a landlord must give you four months' notice.
  • From 1 August 2021 to 30 September 2021, in most cases where there is less than four months of rent arrears, a landlord must give you two months' notice.
  • From 1 June 2021 to 30 September 2021, if you owe four months or more of rent arrears, in most cases your landlord only needs to give you four weeks’ notice.

In England, from 1 June 2021, if your landlord uses the section 21 process only, you must be given four months’ notice.

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.

Court action

From 27 March 2020 until 20 September 2020 the court service 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 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.

If you have received possession claim forms, are being threatened with court action (including eviction) or need extra support, contact:

  • Shelter on 0808 800 4444 if you live in England; or
  • Shelter Cymru on 0800 049 5495 if you live in Wales.

Information is also available on their websites.

Discretionary Housing Payment

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

Tenant Saver Loan Scheme

The Tenant Saver Loan Scheme offers loans to certain private sector tenants in Wales to cover rent arrears that have built up since 1 March 2020.

However, the Welsh Government has said that it is introducing the Tenancy Hardship Grant to replace the Tenant Saver Loan Scheme. If you have already received a loan through the Tenant Saver Loan Scheme, your loan will be converted to a grant. You should be contacted later in July 2021 when the new grant scheme starts.

For more information, see the Tenancy Hardship Grant section.

Tenancy Hardship Grant

You may be able to get help from the grant if you:

  • are living in private rented accommodation in Wales;
  • have fallen behind with your rent by more than eight weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021 because of coronavirus reasons; and
  • were not receiving housing-related benefits when you built up your rent arrears.

To apply for the grant, contact your local authority. If your application is successful, the local authority will pay the grant to your landlord on your behalf.

For more information, see GOV.Wales.