Coronavirus mortgage holiday: Can I take a mortgage holiday? Can I put payments on hold?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the series of economic measures in a speech at Downing Street on Tuesday alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Government has pledged £330billion – 15 percent of the UK’s GDP – to help companies and individuals.
Can you take a mortgage holiday? Can you put mortgage payments on hold?
Mortgage lenders have agreed to help people having difficulties with their finances as a result of COVID-19, including through payment holidays of up to three months.
The Government said the measure will give people “time to recover and ensure they do not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage in the interim”.
Mr Sunak said: “Following discussions with industry today, I can announce that for those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer at least a three month mortgage holiday – so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage while they get back on their feet.”
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At the moment there has been no clarification on how mortgage holiday eligibility will be decided.
Banks including NatWest and Lloyds had already offered the initiate to their homeowners unable to make the monthly payments.
Banks which had already offered payment holidays allowed those who have the virus as well as those who are healthy but have suffered a loss in income to claim for the mortgage break.
However, renters could continue to struggle because mortgage holidays have yet to be extended to landlords, meaning they are not able to help tenants financially because they still need to make the monthly payments.
Jeremy Corbyn has called on the Government to suspend home rental fees during the coronavirus crisis.
Opposition MPs urged the Government to support renters after Mr Sunak announced the three-month mortgage holiday.
Responding to the Chancellor’s briefing, Mr Corbyn tweeted: “The Government has announced a mortgage holiday for homeowners but it must suspend rents too.
“Millions of people rent in the UK. Suspend rents. Ban evictions. Now.”
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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell raised the issue in the Commons on Tuesday afternoon and Mr Sunak said measures would be announced in the “coming days” to help protect renters.
The Chancellor said: “The biggest fixed costs that many families face will be their rent payment and it is right that we have regard to that.
“What I can tell him [Mr McDonnell] is that the Housing Secretary will in the comings days be making a statement with further measures to protect renters through these difficult times.”
Tenants Union UK, which provides help to people who rent properties, called the lack of support for renters “disappointing”.
A spokesperson said: “Obviously the Government has said this is the start and that they will announce more [support] in the coming days, but I don’t understand why they couldn’t announce it all in one go and give that sense of security to those who are really worrying.”
Labour leadership contender Keir Starmer said Mr Sunak’s measures “do not go far enough”.
He tweeted: “There is no support for millions of renters, no new money for social care or the elderly, there is no clarity on employment support and no new money for already stretched public services.”
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