What you need to know about mortgage payment holidays - before it's too late

The current mortgage payment deferral scheme will come to an end on July 31.

The current mortgage payment deferral scheme will come to an end on July 31, and final applications should be made by March 31. - Credit: Alamy/PA

Mortgage payment holidays have provided some welcome breathing space for homeowners who’ve struggled with their bills due to the pandemic.

For those who continue to be impacted financially by COVID-19, the deadline for applying for a mortgage payment deferral is March 31, 2021.

Mortgage payment holidays can last up to a maximum of six months.

So even if a homeowner has already had a mortgage payment holiday but it has lasted for less than six months, they may be able to get a further deferral – up to the six-month maximum total.

Halifax recommend looking at your lender’s website to help understand the different options available.

Halifax recommend looking at your lender’s website to help understand the different options available. - Credit: Alamy/PA

It’s also important to bear in mind that all mortgage payment holidays will end on July 31, 2021.

If you’ve already had a full six months of payment holidays, but you are still struggling to meet your mortgage payments, your lender should offer you continued support that is tailored to your needs.

Finance industry trade association, UK Finance, has more details about mortgage payment holidays and how they work on their website (www.ukfinance.org.uk/covid-19/customer-support/support-mortgage-customers-during-covid-19).

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UK Finance says 2.75 million deferrals were granted up until the end of 2020, with a peak of 1.8 million in place in June 2020.

By the end of February 2021, just over 100,000 mortgage payment deferrals were still in place.

Charles Roe, director of mortgages at UK Finance.

Charles Roe, director of mortgages at UK Finance. - Credit: UK Finance/PA

Charles Roe, director of mortgages at UK Finance, says: “The current mortgage payment deferral scheme will come to an end on July 31, and final applications should be made by March 31.

“It will always be in the long-term interest of borrowers to resume making payments if they are able to do so, but for anyone who is still struggling financially, ongoing support will be available.

“Customers who have already benefited from a full six-month payment deferral, but are continuing to experience financial difficulty, should contact their lender early to discuss available ongoing support options.”

Mortgage payment holidays can be confusing. 

Mortgage payment holidays can be confusing. - Credit: Alamy/PA

Halifax suggests a good starting point is to look at your lender’s website, to help understand the different options available.

It also suggests that in the longer term, some people may also want to consider making overpayments, to get their outstanding balance back on track. Or, if they’re struggling with their outgoings, they could extend their mortgage term to reduce the size of their monthly payments.

Emma Lawrence, mortgage payments director at Halifax.

Emma Lawrence, mortgage payments director at Halifax. - Credit: Halifax/PA

Emma Lawrence, mortgage payments director at Halifax, says: “Since not everyone’s situation is the same, there are a number of options to help ease the pressure until things get back to normal. We created online support tools on our website to help customers decide which options may help them get back on track.”

Don’t simply cancel your payments without agreeing it with your lender first, as this would count as a missed payment, not a holiday.

Remember, you will still owe the money when a payment holiday has been granted, and interest will normally still accrue.

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