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Lenders vow no repossessions over festive season

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Banks and building societies have agreed to impose a repossession moratorium over Christmas

Mortgage lender members of UK Finance and the Building Societies Association will impose a temporary ban on repossessions over the Christmas period.

The moratorium will be in place from 13 December to 4 January. During that period they will not seek or enforce a warrant for possession for residential and buy-to-let properties.

The move will provide support to those in financial difficulty during the pandemic and is in conjunction with other forbearance measures.

Lenders including Barclays, The Co-operative, Coventry Building Society, Halifax, HSBC, Leeds Building Society, Legal & General Home Finance, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide, Skipton Building Society and Yorkshire Building Society have all agreed to temporary ban.

A repossession moratorium was previously held between March 2020 and September this year to support homeowners financially affected by the pandemic. Notice periods were also extended.

According to UK Finance’s latest figures, there were 410 homeowner mortgaged properties and 320 buy-to-let mortgaged properties taken into possession in the third quarter of this year.

There were 290 more possessions cases compared to the second quarter this year. The number of possessions is expected to gradually increase as the courts work through the backlog of cases accumulated during the moratorium period.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “Lenders have come together to agree a voluntary pause on possessions over Christmas and the new year, providing customers peace of mind that they will stay in their homes over the festive period.

“For anyone who is struggling with their finances, there are a range of options available, and lenders stand ready to help. Customers should contact their lender as soon as possible if they need support.”

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the Building Societies Association, said: “Repossessing someone’s home is an absolute last resort and lenders do all that they can to provide people suffering financial difficulties with the tailored support that they need.

“The aim is to help people get back on their feet, but this Christmas and New Year moratorium will give some respite to those who have reached the end of the road. For anyone who is facing financial difficulty the message is to get in touch with your lender early, as this gives the best chance of success.”