• FCA enhances support available to mortgage borrowers, with updated guidance
  • Mortgage deferral applications for payment breaks until 31st March 2021
  • After 31st March 2021, customers can extend existing deferrals to 31st July 2021 (subject to maximum of six months)
  • Separate FCA guidance for interest-only or part-and-part mortgage borrowers affected by the crisis.
  • FCA confirms no one should have their home repossessed without their agreement until after 31st January 2021.

Flexible and accessible help for mortgage customers effected by the pandemic.

The FCA published new guidance for mortgage customers that allows those affected by the pandemic to apply for a new payment holiday until 31st March 2021.

Sheldon Mills, interim Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA said in a recent press release. ‘It ensures that the support offered through payment deferrals is as flexible and accessible as possible. This means borrowers will again be able to access payment deferrals up to a maximum of six months. However, if you are able to keep paying it will be in your best long-term interest to do so. Payment deferrals should only be taken when absolutely necessary.’

The FCA reiterates that consumers should keep up with payments on their mortgage if they can afford to do so. It has also provided details during the course, on which groups of consumers will and won’t be able to access payment holidays. That said, the FCA has been clear in September & October’s announcements, that all consumers will get tailored support from their lenders if financially affected due to the pandemic.

The Rules: What does the new guidance mean for borrowers?

  • If you have not yet had a payment deferral you will be eligible for payment deferrals of six months in total.
  • If you currently have a payment deferral you will be able to top up to six months in total.
  • If you have previously had a payment holiday of less than six months you will be able to top up, if the total payment holiday doesn’t exceed six months. You’re also eligible if receiving tailored support or behind on payments.
  • If you have already had a 6-month payment holiday you will not be eligible for another one. However, firms will provide tailored support appropriate to your circumstances.

What option is there for mortgage borrowers that have already had a 6-month payment holiday?

If you are experiencing difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic and have already taken a payment holiday you can speak with your lenders to get support.

The FCA guidance in September/October 2020 recognised the challenges borrowers are facing and confirmed measures whereby firms will offer flexible and tailored support for users outside of payment holidays, such as:

  • A full range of shorter and longer options to support customers and minimise stress.
  • Give time and opportunity to repay.
  • Put in place a suitable and affordable repayment arrangement by suspending, reducing, waiving or cancelling interest or fees necessary to prevent customers’ balances from escalating.