COVID-19 wellbeing hub. Rent and mortgages

In these uncertain times for hospitality workers you may be worried about how they'll manage to keep up with rent and mortgage payments

If you're renting your home.

More than a fifth of households in the UK rent from private landlords and most renters are on what are known as assured shorthold tenancy agreements. A landlord can serve a tenant with what’s known as a section 8 eviction notice as soon as they are eight weeks behind with rent. Normally, you will then have 14 days’ notice, according to Citizens’ Advice. A different kind of notice called a section 21 can be served without giving a reason. The tenant usually has two months to leave the property but the notice period can be longer.

Landlords may be willing to make arrangements with tenants to delay rent payments but they are under no obligation to do so. Citizens Advice advise talking to your landlord or letting agent straight away if you are struggling to pay your rent.

Try to explain the situation and you could ask for more time to pay or ask to catch up missed payment by instalments. You will still have to pay everything back to your landlord but paying back what you owe in instalments can be easier than paying the full amount in one go.

Don’t offer more than you can realistically afford to pay though as you could make the problem worse if you can’t keep up with your instalments.

Paying off rent arrears should be a top priority before any other non-urgent debts If you are unable to come to an agreement with your landlord Citizens Advice further recommend that it’s a good idea to pay what you can afford; keep a written record of what you offered and get advice quickly if you can’t reach an agreement as you could be at risk of eviction.

It is worth noting that It is not known yet how a court would deal with eviction cases and possession orders where renters have fallen behind because of coronavirus. Further information and advice can be found at shelter.org.uk and citizensadvice.org.uk

If you have a mortgage.

Some banks have said they will defer mortgage and loan payments if you are affected by the coronavirus. You may be permitted to take a mortgage payment holiday.

These allow you to take a break from paying part or all of your monthly payment. But they do increase the total amount you owe so it’s not free money. If you are having trouble meeting all or part of your mortgage payment contact your lender immediately.

As missing or being late with payments on money you’ve borrowed can have serious implications for your credit rating, it’s vital you check with your lender before you stop any payments.