Mortgage holders to get 12-month grace period before repossessions amid interest rate hike

Business

Mortgage lenders and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have agreed that people should be given a 12-month break before repossession proceedings start amid soaring interest rates.

After the rise of the base rate to 5%, Mr Hunt met with leaders of financial institutions including Lloyds, NatWest, Barclays and Virgin Money.

They agreed that the repossession break should be introduced.

Politics latest: Chancellor meets with mortgage lenders after interest rate hike

Mr Hunt spoke after the Downing Street summit about an option for people to go to their banks or lenders and speak about their options, if they are struggling with repayments, without it having an impact on their credit rating – although this had been mentioned as early as March this year by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Mr Hunt said that people who change the length of their repayment term or go on to interest-only plans can reverse their decision within six months without it impacting their credit rating.

But there was no announcement of support for people who rent, who are facing landlords hiking prices or selling properties from under them due to rising mortgage costs.

More on Interest Rates

The chancellor said: “There are two groups of people that we’re particularly worried about.

“The first are people who are at real risk of losing their homes because they fall behind in their mortgage payments.

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“And the second are people who are having to change their mortgage because their fixed rate comes to an end, and they’re worried about the impact on their family finances have higher mortgage rates.”

Similar repossession holidays were introduced during the pandemic.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said the public were looking for “actions, not words”, when it came to their mortgages.

He said there are “many mortgage holders, many families, across the country who are now even more worried about paying their mortgage”.

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Labour: ‘People want action not words’

He said: “They know that the government’s been about for 13 years, they know the government crashed the economy last year.

“What they want, I think, is a much stronger sense that the government is gripping this; action, not words.”

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