Coronavirus and housing costs

Written on 04/23/2020
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Something that is going to be hard to cover if you’ve got a sudden drop in income and don’t have access to savings is your mortgage or rent payments.

If you have a mortgage

You had until 31 March 2021 to apply for a coronavirus mortgage payment holiday.

If your payment holiday is now coming to an end, it’s important you understand what happens next and what your options are.

See our guide on What to do when your coronavirus mortgage payment holiday has come to an end

If you’re still struggling to make your mortgage payments, there are some things you should do.

Find out more in our guide What to do if you’re in mortgage arrears or have problems paying your mortgage

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If you’re renting

If you’re renting in England, evictions were suspended until 23 August 2021. Your landlord must give you six months’ notice of eviction, other than in the most serious cases.

Find more about coronavirus housing advice at Shelter if renting in England

In Scotland, the eviction ban has ended, but until 31 March 2022, you must be given a notice period of up to six months.

Find more about coronavirus housing advice at Shelter if renting in Scotland

In Wales, evictions were suspended until 30 September 2021 and your landlord must give you six months’ notice of an eviction.

Find more about conronavirus housing advice at Shelter if renting in Wales

If you’re a private renter in Wales and are already in arrears, or might struggle to pay your rent because of coronavirus, you might also be eligible for a Tenancy Saver Loan.

This loan will have to be repaid over a period of up to five years and you will be charged interest of 1%.

You will not be eligible for a loan if you’re currently getting Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit.

Find out more on eligibility for the Tenancy Saver Loan and how to apply at gov.wales

In Northern Ireland, until 30 September 2021, you must be given 12 weeks’ notice of an eviction.

Find more about coronavirus housing advice at NI Direct  if renting in Northern ireland

If you’re living in a buy-to-let property, your landlord will be able to apply for the three-month mortgage payment holiday if you are experiencing financial difficulty so they shouldn’t put any pressure on you to meet rent payments during this time.

If you’re still unable to meet rent payments after three months, your landlord should take every step to ensure that you continue to stay in your home. They will be expected to take into account your financial circumstances and try and work an affordable repayment plan with you before they start any proceedings.

If you’re a social housing tenant, talk to your tenancy support officer or housing officer who will be able to support you and work out an affordable repayment plan.

If you’re on Universal Credit and usually pay the rent yourself, talk to your work coach about what they can do to support you to keep rent payments on track.

Our guide Rent arrears and problems paying your rent can help you think about what to say to your landlord

If you’re worried about paying your Council Tax

Council Tax payments are a priority debt and missing payments can quickly become a serious problem. It’s a bill that you should always make sure you pay on time if you can.

If you think you won’t be able to pay your Council Tax, make sure you tell your local council before you miss a payment. They will be able to help you if they know, particularly if it is because of coronavirus. It’s also important you keep talking to them, especially if they decide to start chasing non-payments again.

To find out what support is available in your area, contact your local council or visit their website.

Council Tax Reduction

If you’re claiming Universal Credit or you’re now on a very low income, you might be able to get some help towards paying your Council Tax.

Each local council has its own Local Council Tax Reduction scheme, so you will need to apply to them directly.

Most councils won’t backdate payments. So if you’re claiming Universal Credit for the first time, don’t waste any time. Make sure you apply for a reduction as soon as you’ve made your claim.

You can apply to your local council for Local Council Tax Reduction on GOV.UK

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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