With possession hearings due to restart on 23 August, Dorset Council is urging people struggling to pay their mortgage or rent to seek help as soon as possible.
When lockdown started, some people were unable to earn a full salary. Many were furloughed on 80% of their wages, with not enough money to cover rent or mortgage payments. Some have had to claim Universal Credit.
With the relaxation of the lockdown, earnings may still be insecure whilst some people are facing redundancy.
If you are worried about your rent payments you should talk to your landlord as soon as possible.
Payment breaks are not ‘rent free’ periods. Your rent will still need to be paid but your landlord will work with you to agree a plan to catch up on missed or reduced payments.
If you are struggling to repay your mortgage as a result of circumstances related to COVID-19, you should talk to your lender about what you can pay and how you can catch up.
Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Dorset Council told KeeP 106: “The Coronavirus pandemic has affected people in many different ways. We’ve already seen an increase in people becoming homeless during the crisis, and we’re working with them to help them find more settled accommodation now lockdown restrictions have eased. Other people are at risk of losing their home and, although possession hearings and evictions were suspended due to the pandemic, these will restart on 23 August. It’s a worrying time for lots of people, especially trying to manage finances if your income is reduced. We want to make sure everyone can afford to pay their rent or mortgage so they don’t get into arrears and ultimately lose their home.”
Councillor Carr-Jones continued: “If you are worried you are going to lose your home, please don’t delay. There are organisations out there who can provide advice and help you to put in place arrangements now to secure your home.”
The following organisations can provide advice:
– Citizens Advice and Shelter – independent free advice and can act on your behalf.
– The Money Advice Service – free and impartial money advice.
– First Point Dorset – housing related support and guidance to people over 16 years of age facing eviction, rent arrears, court action and budgeting issues.
See the latest updates from Dorset Council on Covid-19 (Coronavirus), including council tax, employment and financial support, at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/coronavirus