Please note that Coronavirus Payment Breaks have since been discontinued since the date this article was written, generally replaced by Tailored Support. You should contact your mortgage provider immediately if you are in danger of defaulting on your mortgage commitments.
Coronavirus Scotland – Rent And Mortgage Concerns
If you’ve been impacted by Coronavirus, whether it’s because your household bills have increased, you’ve lost 20% of your income due to being furloughed or all of your income due to being made redundant or your company going into administration; it’s important to know what you can do to help relieve the pressure caused by your debt and money worries.
Having concerns over rent and mortgage debt and the threat of repossession and eviction during the Coronavirus pandemic are understandable – Trust Deed Scotland® are here for you and whilst the office may be closed, our expert advisors are continuing to work from home.
Council Tax Arrears And Coronavirus
If you think you will miss a council tax payment during Covid-19 crisis, you should let the council know as soon as possible. You can use the Government’s council tax contacts locator tool to find their contact details.
You may also be eligible for a reduction in council tax payment if your income has been affected. Trust Deed Scotland® suggests using Citizens Advice Scotland’s online calculator to check if you can save money on your council tax bill.
How Do I Apply For A Mortgage Payment Break?
Trust Deed Scotland® understands that Mortgage lenders have announced support for those who need to take time off work because of coronavirus, including a mortgage break.
You will need to speak with your mortgage lender directly to find out if they will be able to offer you a mortgage payment break, or any other form of financial support, based on your personal circumstances.
In normal circumstances, lenders would take an extensive look at your personal circumstances to provide you with the best option. This is now being relaxed to allow for an easier process to be put in place.
Therefore, it’s important that you contact your mortgage lender as soon as possible if you have been, or think you will be impacted by Coronavirus. By doing this, you can come to a mutual decision whether the break is the right solution for you.
Royal Bank of Scotland and its subsidiary Natwest, are offering three-month payment breaks to their mortgage customers, waiving early closure charges on fixed savings accounts and refunds on any cash advance fees. First Direct has introduced a mortgage extension programme, which allows people to extend the remaining term of their mortgage or switch their rate.
Barclays Bank have removed all penalty charges for accessing fixed savings accounts early. Santander is offering support tailored to individual situations such as deferring or reducing repayments that are due in the coming months
The majority of UK banks are offering increases on withdrawal limits on debit cards or credit cards. However, if you are considering extending your credit limit, think about what you can do to avoid this scenario, treat it as a final option as you will need to repay this at a later date.
Some banks are waiving any fees for missed payments.
Does A Mortgage Payment Break Affect My Credit Rating?
Before Coronavirus, deferring your mortgage payments would have been reported to the credit reference agencies by your lender.
The landscape has changed and it now means that it won’t necessarily affect your credit score. As this has been agreed in advance, you should not technically fall into arrears. But, before assuming that your lender will automatically apply these new rules, check with them directly. Most major banks have also confirmed that taking a payment break would not affect customers’ credit files.
Will My Home Be Repossessed In Scotland During The Coronavirus Outbreak?
Those worried about repossession should not be at risk of losing their homes during this period but do speak with your lender. If you have a mortgage with an unregulated or inactive lender and would not normally fall under the scope of these new Coronavirus changes, it is understood your mortgage lender will adopt this guidance on a voluntary basis.
Contact Trust Deed Scotland® for more information.
Buying And Selling Property During Coronavirus
The Scottish Government has issued guidance for people who are in the process of buying or selling their home.
The government has further recommended whilst the lockdown is in operation you should, if possible, delay the move and in all situations, you should speak to your solicitor first.
Rent Worries During Coronavirus In Scotland
If you are worried about paying your rent and you’re looking for a rent payment break – talk to your landlord as soon as you possibly can, even if you haven’t missed a payment yet but are worried you might.
Let your landlord or housing association know how you’re affected by the Coronavirus and explore your options in regards to getting a rent payment break.
The Scottish Government is working to pull together support and guidance that protects both tenants and landlords, providing assurance that no one will be evicted because of Coronavirus for at least a six-month period.
The Scottish Government has announced that it will bring in legislation to stop evictions in the private and social sectors for up to 6 months.
Private Rented Tenancies
The Housing and Property Chamber announced that all hearings and case management discussions will be postponed from 19 March 2020, this means that there will be no new eviction orders granted for private rented tenancies until 28 May 2020 at the earliest.
It isn’t clear whether evictions will still go ahead if your landlord has already applied for and obtained an eviction order, we will update this page as and when this is clarified.
Social Housing Association Tenancies
The SFHA has announced that there will be no evictions or housing association’s tenants due to financial hardship brought on by Coronavirus.
Trust Deed Scotland recommends following your housing association’s social media profiles and bookmarking their websites. Glasgow Housing Association have a dedicated Covid-19 section, likewise most, if not all of the
Illegal Eviction During Coronavirus
Illegal eviction in Scotland is a criminal offence – the coronavirus outbreak doesn’t change this.
Illegal eviction is when you are forced to leave your home by someone who does not have the legal right to do this.
You might be illegally evicted if:
- Your landlord changes the locks
- Your landlord stops you from getting into your home
- Your landlord makes life so uncomfortable for you that you are forced to leave your home, for example by cutting off your electricity or gas supplies
- Your landlord turns up at unsociable hours
- You are physically removed from the property by a person who is not a sheriff officer.
If you live with your landlord then they won’t need to get a court order before they can evict you.
However, your landlord will still need to give you proper and reasonable notice that they want you to leave, they can not just kick you out.
Where To Get Debt Advice During Coronavirus?
If you are worried about how Covid-19 could affect your finances and your ability to commit to your debt repayments, get in touch. We offer expert debt advice and debt solutions.
Trust Deed Scotland® are continuing to provide people across Scotland with expert debt advice during this difficult time.
Our debt advisors are working from home and are available Monday to Thursday 9am – 8pm and Friday 9am – 4pm.